The mirth of mediocrity

Disappointments (Judith Lucy and Denise Scott)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre

July 19 – 30

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Comedians Denise Scott and Judith Lucy are at that age now where they can’t be bothered doing anything, especially if it involves being present and mindful. As such, they are more into lie-down than stand-up comedy, welcoming the audience to “Disappointments” from the comfort of on-stage beds, with oversized wine glasses alongside (thank-you bendy straws).

The mirth that follows allows the pair to reflect on their lives, full as they are of disappointments, focussing on oversharing about the crushing discontent of being of that certain age. No topic is too taboo, especially when they venture out into the nervous audience for ad-libbed chats around arthritis, dick pics and menopause, amongst other topics.

Scott also talks of her days on television’s “Winners and Losers” and gives amusing accounts of being mis-recognised both in Australian and abroad, while Lucy  shares a clever riff about nostalgia, taking particular aim at Rick Springfield’s 80’s hit song ‘Jessie’s Girl’. And then things descend into a volley of insults to each other, before changing into their notorious (and hilarious) nude suits. For all the show’s self-loathing and self-doubt, however, what resonates is its celebration of life (including the saggy bits) and essential ponder as to why we hate ageing but love nostalgia, evidenced as they take aim at the idolisation of youth in our culture.

Comedy doesn’t get much better than these Aussie treasures telling it as it is, bounding off each other and the audience with razor sharp wit. While there is a lot of laugh-out-loud humour, there is also an essential message about embracing life’s disappointments and the distinctions that exist between our social media selves and real life experiences. As such, “Disappointments” will leave you not only face-aching from laughter but fit to fist pump the sky “The Breakfast Club” style, in embrace of your own aging mediocrity.

Insect insight and womanly wisdom

Ask No Questions of the Moth (Judy Lucy)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre

May 26 – June 7

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Judith Lucy is a staple of Australian comedy. And although she recalls anecdote of being referred to as one of the best of our ‘90s champagne comics (“The Late Show” fans will see what I did there), she still has much to say. Her enigmatically titled show “Ask No Questions of the Moth” (reference to 12th Century Sufi mystic poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s quote about how fleeting nature of life) is, like its title, both deep in honesty yet also a little bit ridiculous. And Lucy is both sincere and amusing in recollection of her terrible 2014 (between her brother’s death and her early menopause onset). Indeed, it is a sign of her skill as a standup that she can make such dark subject matter into such a funny, warm, but still self-deprecating show.

Lucy has often sought source material from her own experiences; her 2008 memoir “The Lucy Family Alphabet” recounted her early life and subsequent discovery at the age of 25 that she was adopted. As she reflects upon her family in this show, with help of a very ‘70s photo in which nothing is of natural fibre (not even her mother’s Leo Sayer hair) she considers dealing with death and change. It is clear that her distinctive upbringing has made her who she is today, just as her new romance with a beau many years younger has given her reason to celebrate her life choices.

But “Ask No Questions of the Moth” is more than mere mire of self-absorption; it also includes reflection of her recent ABC TV series “Judith Lucy is All Woman”, a look at the role of women in present-day Australian society. With trademark sardonic wit (like that of her “Crackerjack” journalist character Nancy), she takes audiences through episodes which had her jelly wrestling, dressing as a man and in charge of a plastic, African-American robot baby. And with down-pat delivery, she also tells of her opposition to public nudity, reality tv, slut shaming and all range of strange inventions, in what is an entirely accessible show (one of the longest of laughs comes from a joke about luggage).

A comedian’s job isn’t easy. Fortunately, Judith Lucy is very good at what she does. Despite her brilliant, brutal take on everything from Tinder and tweeting to porn and politics, she is at her best when she puts the microscope on her assuming audience (because let’s face it, when you go front row for comedy, you have to know of the probably impending consequences). And the result of this combination is a show that is without question, funny on a stick, with a bit of womanly wisdom and insect insight…. “I have no news of my coming or passing away–the whole thing happened quicker than a breath; ask no questions of the moth.”

Photo c/o – http://brisbanepowerhouse.org