Binary Busting #1 – Leaders vs. Dictators

*Menippean satire warning* Leadership is not really a matter of good vs. bad, it’s a matter of amplifying ideas considered effective and acceptable over a certain time period. Can someone burn those “Leaders” Vs. “Boss” memes now please?

So, the world is filled to overflowing with advice on what ‘good’ leaders look like, or what a leader supposedly is. In the current climate of world politics fixated with leadership styles; I’d like to offer some philosophical fat to chew (apologies to those I have just pissed off with a meat eating or considered unhealthy lifestyle reference).

When I studied anthropology I was fascinated with double bind theory and cartesian duality and I read widely. And primary to those studies one notion become clear.

THE binary. Not just any binary. But primordial ooze of social constructs – good vs bad. Good vs bad infiltrates most things humans do and nuance can be lost so easily in the mire.

Sit down. Buckle up. If you are religious, cross yourself, pull out the prayer mat, beads or depiction of any deity, prophet, saint or martyr of your choosing. If you are not religious, then hang onto to your science, relevant belief system, dead or living musician or artist of choice. If you are ‘other’, then wave a crystal, sage stick or do a bog dance or prepare to google stats and take them out of context. The fact is all of you will have a point that will be valid in some way.

This is uncomfortable to write, so I am guessing it may or may not be comfortable, for some, to read.

If I see one more reductionist post or story about what is “good” leadership I am going to vomit. The only thing reduction is good at is great tasting sauces.

But first, an obligatory disclaimer for the manufacturers of outrage and the “you can’t say that” purists. Dictators exist. I am not debating that some leaders become dictators, or are dictatorial from the beginning. This is not angsty existentialism, but I am also sure someone will take it there, and I shall get ready with my popcorn.

Similarly, there are most certainly, leadership styles. But to reduce them down to “one is better than the other”, means donning a funny hat and dancing a jig in the town moot with a jar of snake oil in our collective hands. It’s a sales pitch.

The fact is, some people respond to authoritarian styles and other to humanist leadership styles and some to all the modes in between, around and in circles.

Some of the worlds “leaders” have done awful harm to the world and the planet by killing and destroying. I think most people agree this is bad (yes, I do!), however some will justify it, somehow.

So, a portion of humanity does not share that view, based on experience or their social conditioning throughout life. It’s kill or be killed to their way of thinking, although that might be acceptable to them through “they are taking our jobs, our economy” etc. etc. So leaders who take this view and harness it, are just amplifying what is effective and acceptable to the people they are trying to reach.

And then there is the in between-ers on what is an effective, acceptable view. The “they didn’t die of COVID, they died of an underlying condition – so I am unsure of who I support” folk who will sit on the fence unless they get a painful splinter in the anus, get sick with the virus or someone they know dies. This too is not good or bad, it just is a way of processing information. Some will sit on the fence forever, others will be pushed off it by…well…life. There’s always going to be fence somewhere that all of us will sit on for lack of knowledge or not a large enough splinter.

The notion that there are good or bad leadership styles, in the moral sense, suggests hate spouting leaders who divide and conquer are bad leaders. Yet millions follow them and millions die or create certain social outcomes in their name. So therefore, this ‘evil’ is also good leadership if painted with a binary brush, because that leader has achieved outcomes in large proportions.

Divide (make effective) and conquer (make acceptable) as a leadership technique has worked in the building of kingdoms for a very long time in human history. Even the most moral and ethical leaders can be found promoting a little divide and conquer if you look close enough.

What I am saying this is that people follow other people with worldviews that are acceptable to them at any given point in time and that may shift over the course of a lifetime.

If the ideas of a leader appeal to a human, that leader is effectively reaching someone, then those ideas are acceptable or becoming acceptable to them.

How many more TV shows that put people with different views in the same place under pressure can you watch? Some come out changed, some come out with bits of another views, some come out unchanged. And while there is an argument it’s not a sustained time period with ‘others’ by which to change or that going home to privilege negates that experience – you can witness the varying interpretations of “good” and “bad”.

It’s only when presented with counter positions over a sustained period that humans begin to question the ideas of what a leader or dictator is presenting to them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the grains of arguments I thought I held dear in the arguments of supposed dictators. So I watch and listen. And usually I am that annoying person at a party who knows the ins and outs of policy, rather than an assumed position and who is quite content to observe people arguing and learn from it.

Leaders are. Dictators are. But I don’t think we are divided so much as people that the two are concrete binaries as some decry, I think there is a more practical reality than good vs bad leaders. You what a position from me? Perhaps humanity needs to stop treating the world stage like a zero sum game to be won or lost.

But then, I don’t consider myself a thought leader or any other kind of leader, so what do I know? *insert splinter here*

Stay tuned for other choice binaries as this unashamed nobody writes them in my head on walks with the dog over a period of days.

Hypocrisy vs. Integrity

Parenthood vs. Martyrdom

Madness vs. Sanity

Religion vs. Science

Hustle vs. Luck

Left vs. Right

Holism vs. Health

Fact vs. Fiction

Love vs. Loneliness

Alliterations vs. Assholes (I’m trying to resist both, I really am).

*Authors note: Google has reasonable reference to satire. I was asked to refine my brand. So my brand is chaos.

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.

Enough with all the “talk”

So, coming up is International Day of People With Disabilities. And for me it’s also my 50th Birthday.

Here’s a list of gifts that would be nice:

  1. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  2. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  3. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  4. The above on repeat until people start recognising that communication is multi layered, not just dependent on speech.

I sit on the more socially acceptable side of this, being hyperverbal, but I do experience shut down and need more silence and then I am interpreted as rude when I go quiet for days at a stretch. I struggle with tone and pitch, I speak too fast and I get word order “wrong” (whatever that means). Modifying this is exhausting, not just metaphorically, but physically exhausting.

Most of my meltdowns are related to not getting enough solitude away from people asking me to speak – plus related to the hyperacusis and sensory processing pressures I experience. It’s still hard work for me to speak in a “socially acceptable way”.

It literally takes 10x more effort for me to public speak, because I am constantly modifying how I speak for a neurotypical audience, as a matter of survival in the arts world. Then people will still find a problem with it – and frankly I don’t care if they do.

I won’t mask for you, pretending to be neurotypical is harmful to me. I will try out new things that feel comfortable and I think I’ll sing more (because it feels better than this cultural obsession with punchline comedy). But I won’t mask for you.

And if it’s considered inappropriate, well isn’t everyone at some point? All this focus on speech assumes there is some standard way to communicate.

Speech is not superior to any other form of communication. And perfect speech or perfect non-speech doesn’t exist.

#IDPWD #autism #speech #communication

3 Weeks in Holsworthy

As I turn 50 next week – I am reflecting on life. I think this is fairly typical human behaviour when faced with a significant birthday.

I have no regrets. Well, maybe one. This poem is about that one regret.

I remember that look in her eyes

That said to me, “It wouldn’t be wise”

Settled back and watched her play pool

Admirers gathered, like thieves to a jewel

Years later I wonder how long she played

Played straight, played safe, existing afraid

1989 it was illegal to be a queer in Defence

Mutterings of military prison for the offence

“You’ll get a long three weeks in Holsworthy”

Imagine how gruesome prison would be?

So we got lost, in a world, filled with fear

And now as I queer up in my 50th year

I wonder where she is and how she is now

If she is finally free from this, somehow?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to find her

But still for some LGTBIQA+ remains a slur

At 50, in the age of finding those lost on the net

Never being able to find her is my one regret

I really don’t know if she’s happy or still scared

I hope she can remember just how much I care.

Morning Improv Song

Morning shit-take karaoke. Laughter therapy through the piano.

Nonsense has always saved me from the crushing social anxiety I experience. Laughter keeps me coming back at life, day after day.

I may never be that entirely polished performer because my brain is not wired that way and I like being the one making equal parts nonsense and equal parts poking the bear of a system that says #autistic people should “communicate like the rest of the world does”.

I am naturally inappropriate and proud of it!

Since I learned to be a laughter yoga leader I laugh more – and practice the action of laughing daily. Sometimes it makes things better a lot, sometimes only a little bit, but that even little bit is more than I had before laughing. The act of laughing, even when I don’t feel like laughing reminds me:

Are we laughing because we are happy, or happy because we are laughing? (thank you Dr. Brian King this is lifted from your book – The Laughing Cure).

So things got pretty shitty this last 12 months. So I learned piano and now I am doing morning improv song making that makes me laugh and is pure nonsense.

I’ve also decided to quit trying to be that perfectly timed, punchline driven perfectionist that some think is “the only comedy”. And I guess I’ll never make the big time this way, but at least, I’ll find my joy. And find a better word than bog to rhyme with dog.

Besides, I am a comedy variety artist now. And now, after the chaos of spending the last month putting a Melbourne Fringe show together – I’ve got this mess to reorganise in the studio…lol.

Oh…here’s the link to the show. It has character comedy, original music having shots at Trump and the Australian government and general quirky bits and pieces and some rants.

21, 22, 24 – 29 November online – at 6pm, just in time to spoil your dinner.

P.S. I can do more than one tune on the piano, I just don’t want to. #mentalhealth #anxiety #musictherapy #laughteristhebestmedicine

On the FRINGE!

So I hummed and haaed about doing Melbourne Fringe this year. But decided what the heck! I am, of course, happiest on the fringes of mainstream culture, so why not, right?

So I have made a special mash up show from everything I have done with a BIG TARGET OF ABLEISM!

It’s online and so available all over the globe! Book at the festival website in the link below…

My Melbourne Fringe show is live and online (all over the globe!) Part audio visual, part musical, part storytelling and rubbishing all the stereotypes and ableist slurs (without using them!). If you think ableism should burn in hell but still want the right to insult people who deserve it, this show is for you.

Join Jacci, a nonbinary, neurodivergent truth bomber and occasional anthropologist in the comedy therapy circle for a quirky, comedy conversation. The show is presented as an autist’s not-so-anonymous meeting in the art of being literal and the politics of autism diagnoses for people born with vaginas.

“You’re a bit tardy”…isn’t that derived from R… Remember the R word? Let’s burn it down! Queer. Autistic. Veteran. Late to the party. Late bloomer. Late diagnosed. But NOT TARDY. Jacci Pillar was born to be late, then bullied by people who hurried and messed everything up.

#melbournefringe #melbfringe

My first comedy parody composition!

So, in March I could barely put my fingers in the right positions on the keys of a piano.

I’ve sung in choirs and on stage. But to play my own music has always been a dream. But it’s also a dream I am terrified of, because I was carrying some memories from a childhood abuser. Never ever underestimate the power of an adult running down a child’s attempts to do something – it can and does lead to a lifetime of anxiety and harm.

But I have an awesome music teacher who knows how to teach someone like me, and I am super grateful to Spencer for giving me the confidence to get there.

So here is my first comedy parody song, complete with my beginners piano playing (which I incorporated in the nature of the comedy performance, good way to get extra cringe-ness!).

It’s in character as the nasty neo-con Bronwin Budget-Slap. Her working class butler has highjacked the teleprompter and changed the lyrics…

#parody #cringeworthy #piano

Wtf is “Millionaires for Morrison?”

Millionaires for Morrison is an Australian grassroots political activist comedy group based upon the US open source project Billionaires for Bush as a contemporary Australian equivalent – Millionaires for Morrison, which to date has four confirmed “Millionaires”, a website in development and a Victorian chapter with hopes to grow it beyond Victoria to chapters all over Australia. 

The plan is to uniquely modify the original recipe to target conservative regimes and raise issues (via satire) of structural inequality to those people who would avoid these topics normally.

In 2021, it’s hoped the “Millionaires” will attend political events and rallies all over the country to sing parody songs and recite poetry about social justice issues, like proper “sheep in wolves clothing”.

It’s an example of what is known as “overidentification” humour (Molé, N.J. 2013: 289). It’s that kind of satire that mimics the kind of behaviour that a political movement wants to change, but does so, in such a subtle way, that it takes thought to appreciate that it is in fact, mocking that behaviour.

The reason for doing satire this way, is when governments start censoring or trying to ban political commentary political satire as the Australian government tried to in 2016/2017; it’s time to, well, up the anti. The Millionaires decided to continue to add to Australian political satire pot that features such legends as Sammy J, Shaun Micallef, The Chaser and Juice Media.

The fact is, left wing, right wing, we are all on the same airplane, headed for a monumental crash.

The tools of the oppressor have been well described in human history, yet we often fail to see them in operation, as self appointed leader of the Millionaires is subtly pointing out with her “Liberal Conversion” video series.

While some decry that democracy is losing out because of party politics, the fact remains that political positioning on a left and right binary, hasn’t existed for a long time. You will regularly hear Australians complaining that a political party they have supported for years, or even generations, has sold out.

Some of our Millionaires parody is more obvious, like the work of Mort E. Morrison, who plays on the endless stream of get rich gurus on the internet. But the ‘overidentification’ irony will always stand that there are people out there, that will believe money fixes everything and is the only human value worth aspiring to, even at the cost to their own communities.

Lots of comedians will tell you they just aim to be funny, and that’s totally cool. But political satire is a different beast altogether, it’s hard to deny it’s more somatic, change making sub texts.

Peak irony: “Millionaires” with IRL identities as members of marginalised communities. The ultimate court jester playbook move, they mock cruel side effects of profit before people every single day of their lives, by simply existing.

Ultimately, it’s not about party politics for us “Millionaires” it’s about conservative thinking and how it excludes human diversity and results in policies that harm people. It’s about issues and largely about how our obsession with money is trashing humanity and the planet.

And while we are on the subject of money, most conservatives would prefer the arts never get paid, but all that means is that we just make content that never ruffles a feather. So, if you can afford to buy us a coffee, you can here. You’ll get something for that too, unlike a neo-conservative policy document that promises the world and gives you a word salad instead. You’ll get even funnier outtakes and serious discussions about satire, social change and the future of democracy.

So, come for a ride with us Millionaires, particularly if you don’t fit what the twin set and pearls brigade finds acceptable or thinks is broken; because we “Millionaires”, are your people.

#millionairesformorrison #auspol

What is this Millionaires for Morrison thing? Australian grassroots political activist comedy group…follow them @millions4scomo

Reference cited: Molé, N.J. (2013). Trusted Puppets, tarnished politicians: Humor and cynicism in Berlusconi’s Italy. American Ethnologist Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 288-299.

Follow Millionaires for Morrison:

https://twitter.com/Millions4Scomo

The Bride’s Tears

I was married once, for 12 long years. It’s a chapter in my life I talk about privately, mostly. And my marriage, at one point ended up in That’s Life magazine (that’s another post all of it’s own) and it wasn’t a pretty story.

I have just spent since September 12 unsuccessfully trying to find a wedding photo of that fateful day in 1992. I guess that says something in itself!

When the 22 year old me cried during my wedding vows, people gushed emotive phrases over the tears of “joy”. It was sweet. It was touching.

What now makes me want to cry is the subtext: the bride is so grateful to have found such a man.

There is an element of truth in that. Because I knew I was performing something I didn’t understand fully at the time. I was performing heterosexuality. I was performing because if I didn’t I wasn’t sure what would become of me if I did not try and play known tradition out.

There was a part of me that didn’t want to be shunned and knew that if I said, “I think I would prefer to love a woman and I’m not sure if even that is true”, my life would be more unbearable than it already was. There was no other messaging around me other than straight, so in my subconscious, I very much thought there was something wrong with me.

So I did feel grateful, for an opportunity to fit in for a while, when I never really had fit in before.

I want to talk about the wedding day tears, because I think they are symptoms of a cultural phenomenon in how traditionally sexist culture works. We tell men to trust their gut instincts about their decisions before acting and tell those assigned female at birth that any anxiety is the more romantic butterflies in the stomach. Where in fact, it these butterflies may be the warning we are meant to heed.

These butterflies are often anxiety about the expectation of servitude. Of knowing we are supposed to be the nurturers of the earth’s manhood and that martyrdom is our supposed natural locale. We are conditioned to not use our gut instincts to forge on to make decisions, but harness the butterflies inside to avoid doing anything that appease others.

Prior to my marriage, I was already shaping up to be a traditional gender role misfit as an assigned female at birth military trades-person. I had been assaulted and abused at work enough for being female and I even left the military to become a proper wife. The result was 12 years of abuse and misery.

I tried to feign excitement about wedding planning. Because we are supposed to dream about our wedding day since almost birth, I hadn’t ever thought about it until I was engaged. I really just wanted the holiday at the end and thought that the money would have been better spent on travel. And after I fled this marriage, I grew my life into the life I wanted, on my terms and that included lots of travel.

I have the Oprah Winfrey show to thank for a course of testosterone after watching a show where this was discussed as a way for housewives to improve libido. Not that there were any problems with that, but just that course of drugs was totally unnecessary and had not be questioned by the doctor, because my husband was also pushing the agenda.

I’ve never forgotten him telling me after the divorce his new partner (who he had an affair with) “couldn’t leave him alone in the bedroom”. There was such glee in his voice as he thought he was telling me something that would prove I was a failure.

My unspoken response, “thank goodness, because it’s not me having to do that”.

This was the 90’s there was no discussion about the fact boring, unfulfilled lives with controlling and domineering husbands was the cause of the libido fails. For me it was that and the fact I am pansexual attracted but also asexual. In other words I am not attracted to a gender identification, but a person and I am not that sexual.

Of course, I would go on to spend 46 years of my life trying to prove I wasn’t asexual. I tried everything from kink to tantra. Sure, I could force myself to enjoy myself, but it rotted me at the core.

The word ‘frigid’ is a double edged slur. If you say no when you’ve said yes before, you are frigid. If you are reserved you are ‘frigid’. Frigid and slut are used as ways to dehumanize women (AFAB) interchangeably.

This is because at every turn sex is promoted as life’s necessity, something like air or water. If you present with low sex drive you are painted as pathologically sexually bereft, almost less than human.

Doctors look over their glasses at you with concern. Partners feel rejected and slighted. And when I am left alone without any kind of sexualised pressure I feel….

Happy. Content. Balanced. More prone to joy.

I’d like to think we are starting to move past measuring human worth from the default position of biologically and socially defunct reproductive and sexual values. But one look at media when a partner leaves a heterosexual marriage for a same sex relationship will shows slow burn narratives of deceit and “turned gay” conversations. Which is simply not accurate or truthful.

Society shoves people into “the closet” and put it’s foot hard against the door. It takes quite a bit of an internal shoulder barge from inside our closet to get out when surrounded by “straight” values.

I was anxious on my wedding day for a veritable layer cake of reasons. But most of all because I was already so controlled by traditional narratives about my role in life that I was prepared to throw away everything I had done that wasn’t deemed traditional. I was prepared to give away my happiness as I gave my hand in marriage.

There’s an irony in the wedding cake metaphor here. Because I refused to have the traditional man and woman on the top of the wedding cake. I instead asked for clear glass blown pair of dolphins, me proclaiming it was representative that we both loved the sea. There’s two jokes on heteronormativity right there.

Contrary to hetero-normative belief systems, *queer people don’t come out. Even the language of this is hetero-normative. We don’t suddenly come out, we are.

I’ve even heard people regularly say about someone they know “becoming gay” or “turned lesbian”. Like somehow the human default setting is heterosexual and queer people uploaded a virus. Some take it further as though we are the virus.

But the antidote to both conscious and unconscious hetero-normative bias is love. Excepting we all have different ways to love, loving humanities different ways of being human.

My wedding day tears were my gut instinct telling me I was giving away not only my hand in marriage but my right to safety and control.

And I did not experience safety or control in my own body again for many years, not even after my marriage. Not until I understood fully who I was and had embraced my asexual queer self.

*I use the word queer as I am reclaiming what was once a slur. Other LGTBQIA+ people may not use this as I do and that is their right. But it is also my right to use this term as a way to invert cultural norms.

Bronwin Budget-Slap, Satire and Me.

As an autistic comedian I am often met with people talking about how I am not supposed to understand jokes.

I thought I would take a moment to unpack that, because that’s a really unfair application of a stereotype.

I grew up watching sneaky reruns of Monty Python’s Flying Circus with my Dad as a tween.  I look back at this now, and yes, some of their material hasn’t aged well.   It’s important to remember it was written by straight white men with largely good intentions.  But it was, like most past comedy work, a reflection of the time it was made, even though still a quite subversive comedy force.

BRONWYN
Early version of my politician character “Bronwin Budget-slap”.  Top of her head pictured – with large blonde beehive with a plastic helicopter toy stuck in the hair. 

My Dad seemed to laugh for different reasons than I did.  I laughed because the costumes and silliness in faces and movements (which were overt enough for me to process) made me laugh.  Dad laughed at different times.  

We all do have different senses of humour, but I noticed Dad repeating the words that made him laugh.  My love of word play began, because I wanted to make my Dad laugh.

I’ve pictured here a politician character I’ve wanted to do more with – Bronwin Budget-Slap.  I became a huge fan of British series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister in my 20’s.

If you saw my solo show Labelled, I talked about being literal.  I talked about when Mum said “between a rock and a hard place” and me wondering where the rock was.

I literally studied language and power and propaganda as a focus throughout my anthropology career – to work out what was going on around me.  I still look at communication as a series of linguistic devices.  I have formulas for helping me process gossip for instance.

People think I speak well, but they are not entirely aware how much work is going on in my brain to be able to.  This is why I spend long periods not talking to anyone (and live alone) – to be able to reset.

I find I am often perceived as blunt or very to the point and that this is disconcerting for some people.  So I’ve learned to couch that in humour and I really can thank reruns of Lucille Ball for my range of outrageous facial expressions that I find really good for breaking the tension.

When I do improv comedy – I just let myself out and my “inappropriateness” rules, as such I enjoy improv or theatre games.

I laugh at silliness in stories and physical comedy (for example Billy Connelly, Lucille Ball, Sammy J) because to me funny is good story with exaggerated physicality.  So, yes, I get jokes, it’s just I have a different sense of humour.  I think punchlines are a bit passe and the obtusely intellectual makes me laugh out loud.

So I repeat, I get jokes.  I just don’t really think punchline based jokes are that funny. It’s called “one of the many ways senses of humour manifest”.  This, my friends, is why there are so many genres of comedy and why you find some comedians funny and others not funny.

In a day job context, I hate meetings without agendas, I hate surprise phone calls from bureaucrats, I often find myself just going along with things because I haven’t had time to work it all out.  I have strategies and stalling communication scripts to make things easier in these instances, but you will often find me wanting an agenda or a ‘heads up’ before a discussion.

Some close friends will tell you I sometimes don’t get their jokes, or I take a while to process them, but that will because they like ‘boom boom tish’ punchline based jokes.  I don’t laugh at my own comedy, I find it amusing though, that the things I talk about on stage are just my takes on the world, and that is found to be funny.

When I write satire about a policy or political event, I reverse engineer it.  I think about the policy, it’s implications (intentional or unintentional) and I write it in reverse, stressing the ridiculous things in the actual policy.  They are usually just my commentary on how ridiculous I think the world is.  But channeling that into political satire has become a passion.

I also like to “take the piss” out of large scale systems, politicians and people in power, because I don’t want to mock any marginalised person or group.

I performed a piece at Melbourne Fringe 2019 called “The Intersectional Traffic Report” which looked at the May 2019 Federal Election like traffic to Parliament.  I took political commentary on each party and some individual politicians and turned them into traffic incidents.  Why? Because every reporter was calling it “a race to the election” and I decided to take a literal take on what that might have looked like…

For example, speaking of the reported failings of the Australian Labor Party in the lead up to the election I reported:

“At the starting blocks to the election race, neo-liberal bottlenecks were “Shortened” by the labor team. And when I say Labor, I mean a fleet of over-confidently manufactured V8’s cruising towards the voter oblivion off ramp.  Fortunately, their failure to follow public warning signs was t-boned by a couple of highly organized Green hybrid energy policy vehicles heading them off into the senate car park…” 

If I had the budget and some actors, I think we would have acted the whole thing out as I stood there delivering it like a weather/traffic report with cardboard boxes for cars wrapped around the actors dressed as caricatures of key political figures.

So I suppose, with my passion for social justice and politics, political satire is most suited to me!

COVID-19 has well and truly buggered up all my plans for comedy this year.  I’ve had to battle significant mental health issues since a workplace injury late last year as well and those issues have been ongoing, but I am making progress now.  Comedy was going to be therapeutic to that recovery, but instead it’s been disheartening to have that stripped away and shifting to online and video formats from live.  But…I have written heaps of satire!

So, I decided I would start writing scripts for Bronwin to return…so stay tuned.  Be on the lookout for the Alt-News desk featuring Bronwin and investigative journalist guests at https://www.facebook.com/JacciPillar/