Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing Shiralee Hood burning up the stage at Storyville. It’s been nearly four years since I was in her presence and I’ve missed her energy so very much. The last time I saw her, I donned the velvet vulva in late 2018 for the stage at a Comedy Women’s Association meeting.
I think by now, most people know, I love comedy that pulls no punches whilst having a message. Shiralee always gives so much heart on stage and this show dispenses that heart with abandon. And it’s a message and the kind of show Australian comedy needs.
Some people will know I started getting involved in community arts and comedy in the Northern Territory. My sense of humour has been shaped by living in a family of origin that despised Aussie racism. So, I love me a First Nation’s show that delivers comedy in both the expected and unexpected terms – Surprise!!
I’m rather over white men people pontificating as to what comedy should be – and I’m aware I can be just another white woman commenting also.
But yesterday I wasn’t sure if I would make Shiralee’s show, as I sat in a hospital carpark waiting for news about my 80 year old mother who I couldn’t visit. And my experiences as a disabled person, whose great grandfather was ripped away from his country in the Torres Strait Islanders through blackbirding sits heavy in my family history. But I’m also still a white person who has white privilege and I’m sure as hell going to acknowledge that and use it as best I can.
And as I sat there in that carpark, I thought to myself just how fucked the world is at the moment and how much it needs comedy to step up.
As allies, as producers, as advocates – without speaking for or on behalf of and please just don’t speak over the fucking top of – but just hold space together, be vocal and amplify shows that have that social justice heart.
I got to go to Shiralee’s show and I am so glad I could.
Shiralee shines a light on systemic inequality for First Nations Australians while celebrating Aboriginal humour. And I laughed lots and was humbled lots and was reminded that laughing can be an act of survival and an act of love.
Shiralee takes no prisoners on that stage and I just love it!
Get tickets at https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2022/shows/surprise
Until 24th April! Weekdays at 6.30pm, Weekends at 5.30pm.
Storyville, 185 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.