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 Islands through blackbirding sits heavy in my family history (my grandfather moved away from him at 5 with his mother and we don’t know the full story sadly). 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.