The Story So Far…
1979 – I am born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
1981 – My little sis is born. I am shocked as a) I have no recollection of even knowing that my mother was expecting a little bundle and b) I now have to compete for attention, an issue which will plague me for the rest of my life. *cue spooky foreshadowing music here*
1983 – I spend most of my time dressing up as Princess Leia, swinging on a rope with my best friend Pablo (aka Luke Skywalker) and eating Ewok iceblocks.From left: my cousin Alice, me and my beautiful Mama, baking cookies, 1983-ish.
1984 – After a couple of years living as beach babes at the Sunshine Coast, my mother, who has been raising my little sis and I single-handedly, very unexpectedly and very sadly, passes away from an aneurism. Little sister and I move to Toowoomba to be raised by my grandmother. In other words, my journey towards comedy is set in motion.
1988 – Admitting to loving Kylie Minogue (it wasn’t always cool, kids) combined with an unnerving addiction to achieving things, have conspired to make me rather unpopular at school. I spend my time reading, ‘publishing’ (i.e. typing out my stories with my grandma’s old-school typewriter and stapling the pages together) and getting friendly with grandma’s mates at the local RSL. And making up frighteningly choreographed dances with my sister to the entire play-list of “The Kylie Collection”.
1989 – I have my first real crush. His name is Randall. He’s staying at the same holiday resort as us. We play ping-pong and pool a lot. Then two weeks later he drives away in his family van without saying goodbye. I cry and drown my sorrows in copious amounts of 80’s music. Another lifelong passion is thus swung into motion.
1990 – I decide the 80’s were way too depressing and that I need to get over myself. I start cracking jokes at school. Suddenly I have friends. Coincidence? Perhaps. But nevertheless, I continue my class-clowning henceforth.
1995 – After a high school experience which was pretty much as far the opposite of the American teen sex-romp version propped forth in popular culture as is possible, I decide that I am a bit burnt out.
1996 – I go to university to study Film and Television and Marketing. I party to excessive embarrassment. I dye my hair black. Yeah. That’s really how bad I am.
1998 – I finish uni, meet my future hubby and proceed to be a completely in-love bum. My grandma all but disowns me. We later make up and she comes round for Christmas lasagna, which I burn. Another theme which will plague me for the rest of my natural life. *more spooky music*
2001 – After a rocking time moving to Sydney to become a serious *Alec Guiness voice* ‘act-or’, I find out that to my shock and horror, I am in fact, up the duff.
2002 – I get married on the beach at dawn, with child and all. My boobs have never (and will never) looked better. My little bundle of unexpected nuttiness and joy, Ella, sticks her head out. Eventually.
2004 – I pop out another. As you do. Caleb, or as we call him round these parts, ‘The Cay-Man’.
Later that year, I hear about an improv comedy night that is looking for players. I call up, audition and a week later am performing for drunk people, in return for a free meal, a couple of beers and a guaranteed night out of the house. In other words, I HAVE ARRIVED.
2005 – I see a sign up for the Triple J Raw Comedy Competition. I haven’t a scrap of material, but I sign up, knowing that a deadline will kick my ass. I take a guitar up onstage merely as a way of defending myself against the crowd if things go badly. I’ve never played guitar onstage before. When I ask the sound guy how to plug it in, he gives me an ‘oh shit…’ look. Shock of all shocks, it actually goes pretty well. I get to the Qld Final and proceed to gig my buttocks off over the next year.
2006 – I pretty much burn out and decide to take a break from performing for a bit. A few days after this decision, I get a letter from Brisbane City Council saying that they’re awarding me a bit over fifteen thousand smackaroonies to go to the States for a few weeks to study comedy and improv. To say this seriously beats Parenting Payment is a massive understatement.
After scraping myself up of the concrete, I spend a mind-blowing, over-stimulating, life-changing and heart-wrenching three and a bit weeks away from my little tikes (and yes, this almost kills me) and in the process, am pretty much adamant I want to get my butt over to the Northern American pocket of the world.
2007 – After a year of saving, sacrificing and almost driving ourselves insane, the hubbster, kiddly-winks and myself haul our sweet selves over to that incredible nugget of goodness in the world, otherwise known as Canada. I start training with the amazing Loose Moose Theatre. I fall in love with them. All of them. The whole damn company. And I learn to snowboard. It is JAWSOME.My daughter. Canada. Awesomeness.
2008 – The fam and I decide we heart Canada. Deeply. We want to extend our stay. And our family. Loose Moose asks me to be part of their mainstage show ‘Gorilla Theatre’. I am over the freaking moon. I do a fly-by trip back to Oz for my gorgeous sister’s beyond gorgeous wedding. After eating for two (even if one is the size of a jelly-bean) I fulfil my weddingly duty to make the entire bridal party look anorexic.
2009 – My little Canadian bubba arrives, whereupon I discover that Canadian nitrous oxide absolutely sucks. Seriously. Does NOTHING. But bubba is unbelievable in that ‘dream third baby’ way. His name is Cassidy. He rocks me to the core. So in love.
For a multitude of reasons (many of them boring and beauracratic), we decide it is time to return back to our extended family in Oz. I arrive just in time for the birth of my sister’s first bub. Am tempted to try her nitrous oxide, just so I can test my Canadian/Aussie pain relief theory. The hubby, kids and I relocate to the Sunny Coast, to fulfil our lifelong dream of raising our kids at the beach. We begin making some grand plans for 2010.
2010 – I am all ready to perform my new show at Melbourne Comedy Festival. Suddenly, my plans are derailed by an old guy who forgets that giving way at major intersections isn’t just a suggestion. A full head-on collision, whiplash, nerve damage and back injuries…blegh. I am forced to cancel the show and put life pretty much on hold while I recover.
2011 – 13 – We raise our family in Caboolture. It is a minefield for comedy inspiration while my soul is slowly dying.
2014 – We move to Melbourne! This is it! The dream! Six months later, my marriage has ended, my Mum is gravely ill and we have moved back to Queensland (please, if you’re ever considering doing two interstate moves in six months, just go burn all your money and your things. It’s much quicker). I move with my three kids into my sister’s house. There are a million of us under one roof, a million and one once we bring Mum home to give her the ending she so wants. I have gone from full time comedian to full time personal carer. And it is the most meaningful and excruciating and profound experience of my life. Following her death, I am at sea. I have no idea if I even want to do comedy anymore, or if I do, how. Everything has changed.
2015 – I see a call out on a website looking for a Clown Doctor. I’ve never wanted a job – or felt it would be so right for me – in my entire life. After a hugely long and detailed audition process, the Artistic Director calls to tell me I got the job. I scream down the phone with delight. He now needs hearing aids.
To be continued…