Advertising copywriter, comedy writer, performer, lecturer - Joan Ellis has been them all. With a full-time job in a top London advertising agency and a new baby, she did what any right-minded woman would've done and set up a comedy club. She even appeared on the same bill as Jo Brand. Once.
A career highlight was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey Bogart for her award-winning cat food commercial. Other great performers who brought her words to life include Penelope Keith and Harry Enfield.
As a lecturer, Joan taught comedian Noel Fielding all he knows about advertising before encouraging him to showcase his creative talents on a wider stage.
Working for The Press Association, she tutored Wordsworth's
great-grandson in the art of copywriting: Buy a host of golden daffodils and get a blue one, free!
Suffering from swine flu and sweating like a pig, she moved from London to the Isle of Wight where she lives on cream teas with her beloved husband, daughter and two cats.
Ventnor Fringe Show Review :'I am Ella. Buy me.'
First published in Fringe Review, 15 August 2014. Words: Natasha Pesky
She's a Lady
Fans of Mad Men would have been enthralled by former advertising copywriter Joan Ellis' reading of her new novel:I am Ella. Buy me, at the Ventnor Fringe.
Joan's new novel is a romantic comedy based on her experiences working in the male dominated advertising industry in the eighties. She brings extracts of the novel to life, especially the voice of Ella's sleazy boss Peter Richards, in a way which makes it clear that her characters have a strong basis in truth.
Extracts were interspersed with anecdotes from Joan's days in Adland during which she met and worked with the likes of Felicity Kendall and Jennifer Saunders, wrote letters on behalf of a dog and just missed out on a cab ride with Neil Morrissey.
Joan's observations and witty but relatable narrative will no doubt have her audience rushing to update their Kindles or else applying for jobs in advertising.
The Kindle Book Review by Carol Piner
Joan Ellis' "I Am Ella, Buy Me" reads like the life a lot of us have lived
and some of us have yet to live. By that, I mean our so-called professional
lives. The life that feeds us, runs our cars and pays our mortgages. Yes,
that one. The one that drives us near insane or it would if the people that
pepper our professional lives don't first.
Ellis' book reads like it could have been her diary encompassing all the
messes of every day life. All the jerks we all have to deal with. Assuming
we aren't the jerks, that is. I recognized every single personality that she
dealt with and you will too. Some of them we'd love to kiss, some we'd love
to smack and yes, some we fantasize over but never do anything about.
Ella is in Advertising and is surrounded by Peter, her boss who thinks she
owes him quickies or longies or whatevers. He is a downright snake. Sweet
Wally, the caretaker who is always there for her when she needs him. The new
kid on the block, Chloe, who takes Peter off her hands, as well as her desk
and office. David doesn't know how good he is. Jill who becomes better than
she was and there's Adam who was always there to feed her a sweet or two
when she's down. The rocker, Tom, who makes her feel beautiful and then,
well, not quite so much. They are all there. We recognize them and all the
others that make up Ella's life.
I liked "I Am Ella, Buy Me". I recommend it highly if you want to read about
someone's life is very similar to your own; just so you don't feel alone.