#comedy #happiness comedy

MICF Learning to Laugh Again – Garry Starr Greeking and a Glorious Gabbi Bolt

It might be a strange thing to say that a scholar of the politics of humour is a bit comedied out, but it's true (that's the Jacci Brady bit of me). But this week, two comedians, Garry Starr and Gabbi Bolt, reminded me why I love comedy so much. And reminded me I need to laugh more.

It might be a strange thing to say that a scholar of the politics of humour is a bit comedied out, but it’s true (that’s the Jacci Brady bit of me). But this week, two comedians, Garry Starr and Gabbi Bolt, reminded me why I love comedy so much. And reminded me I need to laugh more.

Two years of a PhD I absolutely adore, and I’m in the third year, writing, writing, writing. And I’m writing about how we need to take the impact comedy can have more seriously, writing seriously, about something that makes us laugh.

When I appeared on late night ABC radio with David Astle last year, he asked what my status as a comedian was. As the PhD has taken over, I replied, “a professional hobbyist”. The truth is I’m an average comedian at best and this PhD is the best use of my brains to fight for…things like…you know…Universal Basic Income for artists.

And my current lack of interest in not being at every MICF show I can is not a waning love of comedy at all. It’s not “don’t turn your hobby into a job or you’ll end up hating it”. Definitely not. It’s more of a statement of how comedy should be seen as a career and there should be more serious efforts to value it as part of the arts, and I’m busy engaged in promoting that in the academy.

I’ve not got the capacity to see as much comedy as I would like to and wait for it…shock…horror…I’ve not been laughing every day. Oh, the horror…I’m laughter yoga trained, I’m committed to the study of the power of laughter, I’m an occasional comedy variety artist. AND I’VE FORGOTTEN TO LAUGH!

But it’s also been 2 years that despite the love of what I do, has been extremely tough. I’ve ploughed on through the death of my mother, 3 house moves, lockdown, a recent period of prolonged chronic ill health for me. And I’ve been a bit short on energy, to be honest.

So, this MICF, instead of me carrying around my notebook and going to multitudes of shows I picked two that summed up what I enjoy most in comedy.

I adore puns and physical comedy and throw in some twisted nerdy/historical bent and I’m wiping laughter tears. And last night that was what Garry Starr did for me.

And while I could say there is a subtle subversive political underbelly in this show about how ridiculous old-world beliefs are…I won’t. (oh I just did, but only a little bit)

So, get yourself to this show and laugh your guts out. If you are prude though, stay home (and let’s face it, you can’t be trusted with comedy anyway). And yes, all those people who thought I was that scholar that only bangs on about marginalised comedians can get stuffed now. I believe in, first and foremost, that laughter is our primal lifeblood (but also that it has power to represent…yeah…read on…).

If it makes you laugh and isn’t punching down (and there is no way this is), I say get your lightning bolts on your nipples and go for it. In fact, I think Garry should sell nipple bolts as merch.

While we are on the subject of my favourite comedy genres, the obvious one is political comedy (I can hear you groaning). And I want to give out a shout to Gabbi Bolt. In fact, to quote her, let’s do the Gabbi Bolt.

I saw Gabbi in A Rational Fear lineup (which was my other MICF pick) and her song about Australian policing is just glorious. And although so many people have said her name to me to watch, I’ve neglected sopping up her brilliance for a while and as a lover of musical comedy, am quite ashamed of myself! I particularly like the song I’ve chosen to highlight here, tackling a subject that many women grapple with – the idea that we are all supposed to covet motherhood less be considered less.

Gabbi Bolt represents a divine trinity of laughter: musical comedy, politics and women on stage. A grand tradition of women in comedy singing their way around pointed (‘taboo’) topics from the 1800’s music halls until now, that Gabbi nails and innovates.

So, this week I committed to laughing and not just writing about about humour and politics and how comedy can break the glass ceiling. And not just the sexist glass ceiling, but the racist, anti-trans, far right and bigoted glass ceilings. But it’s also, just something beautiful, that makes us laugh. And by goodness I have to get myself to Odd Sock to enjoy more of Gabbi’s brilliance before the 23rd.

Thanks, Gabbi and Garry – for the bolts of laughter, that I desperately needed. Show details below:

Garry Starr – Greece Lightning

Nightly until Sunday the 23rd of April at Comedy Republic at 9.50pm.



Gabbi Bolt – Odd Sock

Tue 28 Mar to Sun 23 April at the Butterfly Club at 7pm.




  1. Jacci Pillar, loved reading this article. I totally agree that comedy should be seen as a career.
    I myself, always wanted to be a comedian but I couldn’t stand the thought of people laughing at me.
    My sense of humour is a huge part of getting me through some really difficult times in my life. I had aggressive breast cancer and was rushed in to have a mastectomy. The day after surgery, a nurse asked how I was coping, mentally. I told her I’d always had two flat mates and one’s moved out. She started to laugh then cry. She gave me a hug and said she had never had a reply like mine.
    My doctor also asked me if I did any exercises….I said that I do weightlifting every morning. He said, “really?” I replied, whilst pointing at my body, “ yep, I lift this out of bed every morning!”
    Last one, I promise. When I was in my early teens, my doctor informed me that I would probably lose both my legs, due to major health problems. I told him if the operation went wrong, I most probably couldn’t even sue the hospital. When he asked why, I told him I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Luckily for me, I still have my legs, 41 years later….although still causing heaps of problems. All of my medical teams can’t believe I am still here today and I tell them comedy, and a positive mindset, is what keeps me here….plus the fact that upstairs and downstairs are still arguing over who wants to be stuck with me for eternity.😂
    After reading your article, I am looking forward to seeing any YouTube videos you may have….in a fun, not creepy way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing! I totally get the use of survival humour for sure – I come from a family with two disabled parents and have broken this body a fair bit – it sure gets us through. I really need to film my comedy more often lol – not performing much while doing a PhD. But I promise I’ll make more effort. Again, thanks for sharing your story and your funny takes – it’s so important to our recoveries too – as individuals and as communities x glad you enjoyed the post.


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