Meshel Laurie writes about taking on the new generation of comedians.
I really want to do stand up again.
I’m not sure why I want to, to be honest. I’m not very excited at the thought of spending an hour or so in the bathroom, with kid’s fingers in my make up and kid’s questions tangling my brain, kids crying because they can’t come, applying my hair and make-up armour so I can go out to a suburban pub and dance like a monkey for the approval of strangers, in front of a generation of young comedians who think I’m a mum from the radio, (if they think of me at all), then trying to get a couple of hours’ sleep before the 4.20am alarm. Would you be?
If I’m honest, I think it’s that generation of young comics that spurs me on. They don’t know how good I am, and I have a growing desire to show them. I think of it, perhaps unfairly, as the masculine part of me – my ego I guess. It’s the part that makes you keep getting up on stage in the first place, in the early days when there’s no money or perks to make it worth your while. All there is, is the victory.
I was content for about seven years that I’d had enough victories on the stand up stage. I felt like everyone knew I was a victor and I’d worked my way to a position in which I didn’t have to prove it anymore. So what happened? The new generation happened, that’s what. The Tommy Littles, Ronnie Chiengs, Nazeem Hussains, Andrew Saunders and Luke McGregors of the world happened! These guys, whom I still thought of as kids, paddling around the shallow end of open-mikes and day-jobs are now bona-fide, ticket-selling, grown-up comedy stars, so what the hell does that make me?
Maybe my need to prove myself to them makes me a bit sad, like Madonna busily baring her boobs and misunderstanding Instagram, hash-tagging ever God-damned thing like a One Directioner with tourettes, when I wish she’d just rest gracefully on her laurels. Maybe it makes me a “real” comedian. I don’t know, but I do know I want to be really, really good at it again, like I was before breakfast radio, before twins, before my 40s.
I reckon I’ve got another big burst in me, and this Comedy Festival show, Meshel Laurie Talks Funny, is my first small step. It’s not stand up, but I’m back on stage at least, and seeking inspiration from others. Some, like Ronnie, Nazeem and Andy have some new tricks to show me, and others like Wendy Harmer, Tim Ferguson, Marty Sheargold and Greg Fleet inspired me over 20 years ago, when last I had some obstacles to overcome.
Please come if you’re in Melbourne.
This article was originally published on Meshel Laurie and the Nitty Gritty Committee.
You can see Meshel in Meshel Laurie Talks Funny at the Melbourne Town Hall, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Conversations with Meshel’s favourite comedians:5.30pm Sat April 4 – Nazeem Hussain, Ronnie Chieng, Andrew Saunders5.30pm Sat April 11- Wendy Harmer, Tim Ferguson, Matt Parkinson5.30pm Sat April 18 – Marty Sheargold, Greg Fleet