Saturday, June 30, 2018

Funny girl?

While the comedian's away (in Australia helping my very old mother recover from a life-threatening hip break and post-op stroke), a man, in the rain, at night, turned up on the doorstep of our house in New Zealand to deliver to my husband a copy of the magazine with this article on me based on an interview I had done several months prior on my new and, at that time, burgeoning career as a stand-up comedian.

NZ Life & Leisure June-July 2018
The online version now out here
Life can be funny like that sometimes. Because the day before I got the early morning call from my sister's new boyfriend, who I had never spoken to before, that my mother had had a post-op stroke and was, as we spoke, being rushed across Sydney for an emergency life-saving procedure, I had submitted a 25,000-word gender and age discrimination complaint to the NZ Comedy Guild, in which I allege that my exclusion from the finals of the national Raw Comedy Quest to find NZ's best new comedian was sexist and ageist (an associated form of gender discrimination), and not, as otherwise assumed, due to my lack of comedic ability.

As this formal complaint (yet to be answered by the Guild) has put my comedy career on hold and ostracised me from the NZ comedy community for the foreseeable future, and possibly forever, the title of this much delayed article is now in some serious question, and that's even before we go into any issue that I, or others of the feminist persuasion, might have with the descriptor 'girl' to refer to someone of my vintage.

But the good news is that Mum survived and two weeks later is showing signs of regaining the will to live, something that, after losing almost all her mobility overnight, had all but deserted her. And one of the clearest signs of hope is her ability to make light of and even laugh at her predicament. Finding herself bewildered by the large Italian male nurse's aid asking her, in a thick accent, 'Do you want to move your bowels?', having already christened him 'Hercules', she offered him in response a flirtatious smile and said hopefully: 'You are very strong!' Which, although not exactly answering Hercules' question, provided some light relief to all in the near vicinity, and to Mum when I explained to her the question -- just in time to avoid testing how strong Hercules really was.   

Humour helps, is what I say to this, even when, perhaps especially when, in our darkest and least dignified hours. And so we must fight for our right to make laughter out of the variety of challenging situations that life throws our way, many, if not most, of them long beyond our youth, especially as women.

Mum (in dark blue) and friends, shortly before her fall


  1. Sorry to hear about your Mum Sally. These accidents (hips etc) can be really serious for older people. I hope she manages to move forward with her recovery. It's good that you are there.

    Re the 'girl' thing, I assume it is a reference to the tv show 'funny girls' (or the movie/muscial for older readers)? But still a diminutive.

  2. Thanks Julienne. In fact I am back in NZ now dealing with this gender discrimination complaint I've lodged with the NZ Comedy Guild.But Mum's hip break wasn't half as serious as the stroke that followed it, although both were described to us as 'near fatal events'. So yes, all very serious as you say. I don't really object to the 'girl'; I get why she used it. Though I have had MC's introduce me as 'Miss Sacha Jones' which I do object to, not least because they seem to reserve the title for me, not the much younger women in the game. Ho hum. Battle on.