Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Directed by Sally Phillips (I’m Alan Partridge, Green Wing) Bussman’s Holiday is the “95% true” story of Brass Eye and South Park writer Jane Bussman as she balances the double life of making a journalistic pilgrimage through Uganda ‘to go looking for romance and a good time in a dangerous war zone’ and the tribulations of reporting from Hollywood on the exploits of a renowned hotelier’s daughter-come-UN-peacekeeper (Paris Hilton) and her pie-requiring amigo (Nicole Ritchie).
In two short sentences, the reclusive Chris Morris hushes the jibes over his turn in The IT Crowd with a more characteristic summary of Bussman’s Holiday as “the polar opposite of Jeremy Clarkson sitting on an orphan and laughing” and “genuinely confusing to rapists.” And you thought he’d lost his touch, shame on you all.
Fest caught up with Jane ahead of her Fringe opening night to find out whether the one time Guardian columnist and award winning travel writer for the Mail on Sunday finally accepts validation as a successful journalist, and if she ever has cause to keep her controversial mates in line with a dry slap.
From the cutthroat hills of Hollywood to the harsh social climate of Uganda, which have you found a more pleasant environment to work in?
“Uganda by far. Lovely people, real food, funny stories and no-one was rude to you because they were bigheaded about being a publicist for a scientologist actor.”
In the aftermath of the experiences you recount in Bussman's Holiday, do you feel you've finally made your bones as an investigative journalist?
“Oh boy. I wish. All it did is make me fancy foreign correspondents even more. I'm not in the phonebook but easily e-mailable if you are one.”
From the likes of Chris Morris to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, you've collaborated with some of the most iconic and controversial figures in modern comedy. Have you ever had to slap any of them?
“No. Those three are geniuses and warriors for truth and justice. Strangely, the only people I've ever wanted to slap were female commissioning execs and producers who are a shifty cowardly bunch. Women! Like men with no dicks and not funny!”
The shows have reportedly gone down well in Los Angeles and New York, do you expect we dry humoured Brits to take something else away from the experience?
“I was really surprised by one thing - Brits thought I was an actress making the whole thing up as some kind of fucked up one woman show. No! I really did go to Uganda! And the best thing about doing it for Brits is they get the jokes before you've finished, so you have to stay on your toes. My toes are now bloody stubs.”
The paedophilia special of Brass Eye stands up as something of a benchmark in outrageous television and still the most complained about show on British TV, ever. Are you proud of it? What would you say to Tony Blair in response to his "dismay" when it was aired?
“It's Chris' show and if I was him I'd spend the rest of my life chuckling to myself. Mind you I think he does that anyway. As for Tony Blair, you didn't see it as you were on holiday, and Blunkett claimed to be offended by it and he definitely didn't see it. Whoops.”
What next for Jane Bussman?
“I am developing a one-hour show about life in Africa, writing a romantic comedy and may write and direct a puppet movie in Serbia. And will spend September asleep.”