Melbourne International Comedy Festival Tour Diary: Lightning, Big Hair, Auslan & Kitson

If it weren’t for energy drinks and Melbourne coffee, I would be in a coma right now.

Highlights of the past few days:

– undoubtedly doing a guest spot in Spanzac Ballet, a late night glam rock gig at the HiFi Festival Club last night. I sang Skyhooks. I covered my poor lyric recall with a stunning lightning bolt across my face. I then proceeded to be approached by half of Melbourne’s tipsy wildlife on the walk back to the car. It was pretty damn epic.

Lipstick. Is there anything you cannot do?

– being joined by the wondrous Ruth Sullivan to interpret two shows this weekend. I LOVE HER SO HARD!

Ruth! Melbourne! Jen! Three of a kind!
Ruth, Matt and I at The Butterfly Club. Go team!

I am so loving having these guys onboard, it really makes it feel like a SHOW, you know? Plus I have a brilliant behind-the-scenes crew of Eden (Tech) and Belle (Stage Manager). Which brings me to my next highlight…

– walking into The Butterfly Club yesterday to see Belle wearing a creation she organised all on her own volition:

HOW CUTE IS SHE?! PS That's a chuppa chup in her mouth. And again, I say HOW CUTE IS SHE?!

– still having my mind blown by the ridiculous awesome “eccentric grandma’s house” flavour that is my show’s venue, The Butterfly Club.

This is just another *yawn* typical view of any particular square foot at The Butterfly Club.

– having my hair done nightly – and me avoiding brushing it out daily – by none other than our incredible pianist, Matt Hadgraft. He really is the full service musician. I think he should start up his own freelance business offering musical accompaniment and hairstyling and it “Tease and Keys.” Amazing.


– seeing Daniel Kitson live for the very first time ever. My mind is still reeling. I would utterly love to get my hands on a transcript of the show just so I could actually take the time to digest it properly. It seems wrong to describe such a beautiful work of language with “it was so so so good” but that’s all my little brain can muster up right now. That and “Kitsonian.” I think I’ll just stop.

My view from the top balcony.

It ain’t all peaches and Kitson, though.

I am also missing my kids ridiculously much. They are going great, but you know. I really don’t like being away for long and this year has already been insane for that. Today I visited a friend’s house and hugged her kids so much I think I started to freak them out!

One thing’s become clear to us and that is that we don’t want to keep doing it like this: being separated just sucks. That’s all.

I’m also finding the show – while I love that it’s connecting with people on a really personal level – is becoming increasingly hard to perform.

Those of you who’ve seen it know that it’s so ridiculously personal, specifically when I deal with the material about my mum’s death. And while performing it has been cathartic, I think it’s now getting to a point where it’s feeling very much like I’m opening up the same wound over and over again.

You’re either damned if you do, or damned if you don’t: you either disconnect from the emotion of it to protect yourself, in which case you’re not really feeling it and the performance suffers, or you go there for the sake of the show and then deal with the emotional side effects afterwards. All I know is that after performing the show now for nearly two months straight, I am really feeling exhausted to my core.

And now. Bed.

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  1. Franipantz
    April 16, 2012

    Poor Jen! Really feel for you having to “open up the wound” so often. I guess that’s the price you’re paying for fame. There’s always a price. I suppose that’s why so many other acts just aren’t as personal. It must take extraordinary bravery, but that’s why you connect with so many. If you didn’t feel it, then it wouldn’t have quite the same impact. Perhaps you could find another way to deal with it? It would have to be something personal, something that is just for you. A small breathing exercise after each performance maybe? A meditation?
    While you’re making the choice to give every show your all, you need to look after yourself, emotionally as well as physically or you’ll find other more superficial ways to cope that won’t actually deal with the problem at all.
    Remember, you’re not just a one show, one-woman-show. You have so many other shows in your future that don’t necessarily mean opening up that particular wound. You’ll be doing something else soon, perhaps one way of looking at it, is that this show is temporary. You have bag loads of material and talent to look forward to sharing with people. You’re sharing this show with as many people as possible so they can be a part of your journey, the very beginning of your story, so that they can be a part of the next part of your journey. The second album will be as hard hitting and great as the first, just the next part in the evolution of Jen-the-superstar!
    So whenever you start to feel that emotional drain, turn the drain upside down into a shower of clean new ideas and let the creativity flow into your soul to replace what you feel is being lost.
    I know you have enormous strength and creativity flowing through your veins. I know you’ll find a way that will work for you, both now and for the future.
    Lots of love,

  2. April 30, 2012

    Thanks darling Franny. It’s hardly fame (though my ego thanks you for indulging that fantasy), but it is the price for putting it out there in a personal way. I am really excited about doing future shows that aren’t going over that intensely emotional stuff. Thanks for your lovely support as always, you are a darling. xxx

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