This year marks the third year in a row that I won’t be going to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, not because I don’t want to – mainly because of COVID. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; however in this case, what doesn’t kill me mutates and tries again. I am personally a little disappointed that I won’t get to this year’s festival, mainly because 2022 marks 10 years since I did my first festival show. It was one of the best and worst experiences of my life, but I would not change it for the world.
Back in 2012, things were changing for me. I had just moved out of a student residence that was no longer meeting my needs. I am telling you this because it has had an impact on my festival experience. I moved into a house with a guy who also came from my hometown, right before the comedy festival. So, right before my first media night show (2nd show in the run) – my housemate and I had a fight. We had little niggles of stuff since I moved in, but this fight was so bad that I lost my voice. The day before I was to do a lot of talking. I had previously explained to my housemate that although we may have differences, could he put them on hold for a month and then we can talk. He didn’t.
So, picture this – it was around 5pm on my media night. I had been doing the wrong thing and thinking I was invincible and seeing every show I could. A perk of doing a show is that you get a pass, which if there is room, lets you see shows for free – on what is called a festival pass. So, after running myself ragged, being tired, having an emergency doctor appointment to get some antibiotics and going against all advice – I was down in my venue in tears. I could hardly speak and I had a bottle of honey wrapped in a brown paper bag, skulling it like my life depended on it.
I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and turning I saw my co-star, Robert Lloyd, who was also doubling as my door bitch for the night run up and wrap his arms around me. To say I was a wet fuzzball of mess and stress was an understatement. Looking back now, I have no idea how I summoned the strength to perform what was my worst show of the season. I forgot ALL my lines and with the Herald Sun reviewer in received a half a star review, more out of pity than anything else I suspect. Apart from Rob being a soft place to land and my friends being supportive when they really should have tied me to a bed and made me rest – I also remember Nazeem Hussain being amazed at my show and balling me in a hug as he came out from the back row.
For the following week, I didn’t talk at all hardly, saving my voice – but still not being sensible and still going out to see shows.
Needless to say, I learnt my lesson.
As an artist, you need to look after yourself.