“I’m too chicken to do a solo show!” Rose Callaghan and Mates is back!

6 years ago
Til Knowles

For the indecisive and the economical, ensemble shows make sense. You get to see multiple comedians, some who you might know and some who you will be glad you’ve seen. Rose Callaghan and Mates isn’t quite an ensemble show – she is the host and the namesake after all – but it provides Comedy Festival-goers the chance to check out several comedians all in the one cosy location. It also provides Festival-goers a chance to see Rose Callaghan, whose shows sold out last year. We had a chat to her about radio, fast food and all things comedy.


Rose Callaghan and Mates are back for a second year! What made you decide to give your super successful sell out split bill show another season?

Because I’m too chicken to do a solo show. HAHAHA no really.

Also because I value friendship. But seriously it is a really fun format for me and I really enjoy MCing and introducing the audience to a couple of comics who inspire me.

You’ve also got an improvisation background and a history of performing with Melbourne troupe The Improv Conspiracy. What prompted the move to stand up?

I always wanted to do stand-up – improv was kind of like a gateway drug into that. Improv seemed not-as-scary as stand-up so I started doing that first, then eventually got the balls up to telling non-improvised jokes on-stage with a microphone. They are both comedic but totally different “art forms” (imagine me doing air quotes whilst simultaneously groaning).

How, if at all, has improv informed your stand up style?

Improv gave me confidence, generally, and it also gave me the confidence to go off-script, which I like to do. I actually really miss improv but in my stand-up I like to muck around with the audience and go off on tangents and just be asilly. If I hadn’t of started off with improv I’d probably be too chicken to do that. “Hadn’t of”. is that the right way of saying that? I will never know.

You’ve also done a lot of print writing and radio. Does that affect the way you perform? What’s your writing process like?

Um no I doubt it. I used to write top 40 radio countdown shows on commercial radio. But I guess if you ever hear me back announce a Katy Perry song or strap someone to a lie detector in my act you’ll know I was wrong about that.

Rose Callaghan MICF

Last year, like many comics, you got sick during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. What’s the best way to deal with festival flu?

Drown it with alcohol and terrible decisions. I actually almost cough-vomited about 30 seconds before i had to go on-stage at a large radio station gig last year, but I pushed through and have never looked back.

You also wrote a piece for the Vine detailing your first MICF experience as a stand up, including the copious amounts of fast food everyone eats. How will you improve on that experience this year?

I have never heard people talk so much about shitty fast food as since I started doing stand-up comedy. The amount of conversations I have heard about Subway or Zinger meals…It’s a lot. I consider myself to be above that so the worst I will go to is Pie Face or a 7 Eleven “Munch” sandwich, which at the end of the day is basically thinly veiled fast food. A couple of steps up from that is the sushi roll place on Swanston next to the Town Hall, although my many years working in offices there isn’t much more depressing than lunch-time office worker sushi places (“Oh, I’m so busy and I’m being healthy, I’m just gonna grab a couple of normal rolls Helen!”)

On that note, whichever sushi place can invent the “2 and a half sushi roll a.k.a the optimal amount of sushi” serving size will have my business forever.

Preferable is a good Pho or somewhere cheap, fast and well located such as China Bar. (Not a plug.)


Rose Callaghan and Mates is at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from the 6th to 18th April (no Sundays), at venue Hugs and Kisses. Get your tickets from the MICF website or at the door.

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