What is Just Doing It about?
I love this show, because it’s my most personal show yet, it’s also the best show I’ve ever written. I think it’s fundamentally funny, and relatable, while touching on some of my life’s traumas. The show is about my parents, how my mum just did it when it came to raising me single-handedly. It’s about my boyfriend and our relationship, moving in with him and how bad he is at cleaning his Tupperware. Being in a healthy and very happy relationship is not something I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing stand up about before. It explores other not so great family relationships and is basically a celebration of being on the other side stronger and better. Comedy isn’t my therapy, this is the party after I’ve done the work in actual therapy to be okay with and also see the humour in the totally bizarre, yet inherently funny stuff I’ve been through. I really love this show.
Is there anything that you have trouble ‘just doing’?
Relaxing! I’m very good at stressing and I’m in the middle of planning a huge overseas trip, while doing festivals and packing up my life, so it’s been very hard to just relax, and take a minute. Though I do try!
What helped you decide to start doing stand up?
I started in comedic acting, and kind of fell into stand up. When I started I don’t think I had any idea I was going to make it my career, but it’s kind of like the best friend in a rom-com the lead ends up falling in love with. They were there all along! As soon as I started, I kept doing it and doing it, and now it’s something I’m incredibly passionate about.
This is your fifth solo show. What’s changed in the years since you first started – both for you as a performer and for the Australian comedy scene?
Personally I’ve grown so much. As a performer but also as a person. My shows have totally shifted in terms of subject matter, but also my joke writing and performance is now so much better. This year’s show is only possible because I’ve worked so hard on my craft, and on myself.
I’m so pleased to see more women and LGBTQ+ performers getting up and giving comedy a go, it feels like there has been a shift, that comedy spaces (or at least some of them) seem more approachable. One of my favourite things to do is host an open mic and be there for other women’s first gigs. Though I am seeing more women, and certainly more room runners doing their bit to help support the minorities in comedy there is still so very much more room to grow in terms of making this scene we live and work in more accepting, safe and equal. Audiences need to grow too, I and many other women still get the standard banana come up to us after a gig with the usual ‘you’re funny. For a woman… I don’t usually laugh at women, but you did well…’ and that has got to change. I am funny for a comedian, I am a very funny comedian. Period.
You’ve spoken before about preferring to perform in ‘warm’ rooms. What makes a room warm? How can audiences, room runners and comedians help to build that vibe?
The vibe in a room is so important, I don’t think anything in terms of aesthetics makes a room warm, it’s the energy in the room. I love rooms with a very vast range of performers, rooms that offer all sorts of comedy from all different voices to audiences, not just straight white men doing comedy.
Audiences, laugh – that makes a room warm. Laughter is such a wonderful thing, so if you’re coming to a comedy night, don’t be shy, embrace where you are and all of the funny.
You also host a podcast called Vic & Em’s Comedy Gems. What makes a comedy gem?
I think every episode of the pod is a comedy gem. Whether it’s Vicky and myself discussing our lives in the scene, or us chatting to a comedy mate, every episode offers a little window into our world, and every guest we’ve ever had has given us and the listeners joy. That’s a comedy Gem, a little joy, fun and sometimes important chats for your Tuesdays.
The title is a play on the classic Nike slogan. What company would you want to be a spokesperson for and why?
Oh wow. This is tough. Maybe KeepCup. I love my KeepCup, I think they’re a wonderful product, they’re helping the environment and they’re incredibly functional. I can’t believe I just said I want to be the spokesperson for something because it’s functional. Ha.
You’ve performed this show a couple of times already – what’s the strangest audience interaction you’ve had from it?
Surprisingly this show is really not so focused on crowd interaction. I say surprisingly as my last couple of shows have been. This is my most ‘stand and deliver’ show, I mean you still get my brand of comedy, my physicality, my personality, but there’s less crowd interaction which was a big part of my last shows.
I suppose though, I have a picture in this show, a picture that is quite unsettling (I don’t want to spoil it) and I offered it to an audience in Brisbane and someone actually took it. I mean I signed it, it was very funny and unexpected.
I will offer said picture in most shows at comedy festival I think, because I just think it’s a hilarious momento. It’ll be fun to see how many times it actually gets taken.
Who are you most excited to see at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival?
My goodness. I can’t wait to see so many shows this festival! I really want to see a whole bunch of shows this year. I really love my show and have worked so hard on it, that I am happy to spend more time watching other stuff. Usually you’re so caught up in fine tuning your show you don’t get out, but this year I’m so happy with the show.
I want to see, Dave Hynes, I want to see Daniel Connell. I can’t wait to see so many of the acts at my venue, Trades Hall, Tash York, Ben Knight, Breast of the Fest and Chimp Cop to name a few.
Just Doing It is on at Trades Hall from 28 March to 21 April (no shows on Wednesdays) as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For show times, accessibility information and tickets, head to the comedy festival website.