The Toughest Gig is Not Comedy

So I did Melbourne Fringe and I decided to do something I titled “Tardy: Ready and Disabled”. I have lost so much confidence in the last 12 months since I killed it on stage for “Tickets on Myself”, last year’s Melbourne Fringe. And that lack of confidence shows, but some people have still enjoyed this show and that positive. feedback. is. literally. the. best. thing. ever.

Tardy is best described as a conversational piece more than anything and a hodge podge of part comedy, story, rant, audio visual, music, prompted by being trapped in lockdown and literally, losing and trying to reclaim my mind.

I faced some huge COVID and non COVID related personal challenges – like so many others in Victoria. I was injured at work in October/December 2019 and had a mental and physical breakdown. That was tougher than any comedy gig I’ve ever done.

This recovery has been the toughest gig I have had for long while, made worse by lockdown. In fact in February – May, I wasn’t sure I’d get to be on stage in November. I’ve grappled with regular suicidal ideation and this regularly requires intervention. It’s been a massive personal battle with demons that I’ve held onto all my life and finally had to face.

I’ve been estranged from my mother and adult son since 2014. They came back into my life during the pandemic and rebuilding that relationship, (required because of the legacy of domestic violence which I fled from with my then young son in 2004), has been wonderful and confronting too. The biggest demon was the feeling I was a failure as a parent. If I failed at that, I must be a truly terrible human being. Turns out I didn’t fail, but it sure felt like it for the past 6 years. This last six years of missing them has been by far has been my toughest gig ever.

During this reconciliation period my mother fought breast cancer and they were in another state and did my best to support her from a distance, worried I would not see her again. But in October I could feel little parts of my heart healing, so I decided to do a show, knowing it would be a tough gig.

I’m still only just managing basic life stuff with support and recovery is slow. Honestly, my creative efforts have kept me alive and keeping going and so has my beloved assistance dog, Pepper. Who is featured in the “Pepper Paws” inserts in this show (she’s there on the green sofa the whole time).

My timing is off, my confidence is down. So I decided to talk about being authentic in this show and just be me – talking to the audience like they are friends in this show. Risky.

So, I am planning to cut it up and put on YouTube in some little bits for the next few days for prosperity’s sake. Don’t get me wrong, I do like this show, it’s just not my usual standard and it’s born of struggle.

It’s not the polished, young, hip, sexy, massively rehearsed confident comedy that dominates the scene. I don’t aim to be (and let’s face it, I would never have been when younger anyway). And that is completely okay. *By the way – I love that young and fresh comedy above I have just described.

So, I want to say this to anyone reading this:

I did this show, regardless of the struggle it took to even speak, but because if I keep putting off doing something because it’s not perfect, then I would still be deep in the headspace I am trying to leave.

And after the twelve months I have had and after putting this out there, warts and all, I feel like I’ve still got a lot of fight in me yet.

And yeah, I can play basic piano now and write my own very basic songs. I can thank this struggle for that too.

Big thank you to Andrew Lewis and James Williams for encouraging me and being a part of this.

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