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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

‘Comedy Touring with Children’ for Dummies Chapter One: Off to a Flying Start

How to sum up a whirlwind day in but a few uncliched sentences? Alas, alack it cannot be done. However, as you and I both know, that will certainly not stop me trying.

1. Waking up after far too little sleep, ready to chuck my carefully (meaning ‘over’) packed luggage in the car and pick up Tim with plenty of time to drive us to the airport. As I sip my first of many coffees for the day, I wonder whether I’ve actually left insufficient time for the trip – I glance at the clock. Five minutes past my scheduled departure time and I’m not even out of my pyjamas. Gulp.

2. Missing out on a proper goodbye to Tim when he had to abruptly depart from his helping-Jenny-into-the-airport-check-in-mission in favour of the much more urgent get-to-the-car-before-the-looming-parking-officer-gives-us-a-fine-mission. If I recall correctly our parting words were: Him: Quick! Take this! Me: Go! GO! Ah, romance.

3. Receiving some respite from my octapus-like manouvres (picture pushing a trolley containing luggage, guitar and car-seat while dragging a rollable-yet-enormous suitcase while balancing a nappy bag and purse while holding a one-year-old’s hand while coaching a three-year-old to walk alongside) from a kind Qantas dude, who, upon discovering I was a comedian, asked that dreaded question: “have you got any jokes for me?” Me: “Uh, not really.” Awkward silence.

4. Discovering that air-plane toilets were NEVER designed to have more than one person, let alone three (even if two of them are little) in them at a time. Furthermore, discovering that you should NEVER attempt to put your toddler down on what seems to be a bench-space, as chances are it will be the bathroom sink which is touch-operated and thus will spurt water in a violenty fashion thereby completely saturating his entire outfit.

5. Freaking out yet trying to maintain a fascade of calm in the face of full-on turbulence upon the plane’s descent. Contemplating my possibly-impending-demise, and realising that if it hadn’t been for having kids in the first place, I would probably never have had the guts to pursue comedy and would not even be on this flight. Grabbing Ella’s hand for comfort (mine, not hers) suddenly feeling better and thinking ‘damn kid, you make me feel brave.’

6. Realising that turbulence has a very pleasant side-effect: Caleb has been rocked to sleep.

7. Catching up with my beautiful friend Rachel, between lunch, DVDs, pottering and grocery-shopping.

And that’s all before the actualy first gig of the tour!

Oh boy, what an amazing start.

I walk into the Comic’s Lounge to find (later it strikes me as very apt) two comedians almost asleep on the foyer lounge. I check in, chat a bit with some of the other comics who are on, when out of the blue TimT ( rocks up and introduces himself. Hooray! Someone I know (if only previously in cyberspace) is actually here in what seems to be the start of a beautiful caffeine-fuelled friendship.

I’m up first after the break and am psyched back-stage and ready to go on until….lo and behold, who walks in but Corinne Grant and Arj Barker? Wow, wow, wow. I try to act all cool and un-starstruck like the rest of them and try to supress saying something idiotic like ‘OH MY GAWWWWWD IS IT REALLY YOU??? YOU’RE UP THERE ON MY TOP 5 LIST OF COMICS TO MEET DURING THIS FORTNIGHT, NOT THAT I HAVE A LIST BUT IF I DID YOU’D BE ON IT AND WOULD YOU MIND JUST TOUCHING ME? NOT IN A WEIRD WAY, BUT JUST A LITTLE?’

Thankfully, I opt instead for just introducing myself and chat to Corinne a bit about the Jeez Louise women-in-comedy conference coming up and wish her luck for her set, which she’s testing out tonight before the Comedy Gala tomorrow, as is Arj. It’s decided that they will open the second set, meaning that the order is now:

Corinne Grant Arj Barker Jenny Wynter

This is probably the first and last time this will ever, ever happen – I try to indulge myself by pretending that I’m the headliner for the evening (at least the next 15 minutes of it) and am being supported by Corinne and Arj, but it doesn’t work. I freak, especially given that not an hour before, I heard a comic saying how Arj had done a ten minute set the night before and rocked the audience beyond belief…meaning death for the comedian after him. “Oh no!” I say (and yes, that’s out loud) “I don’t want to go after ARJ!”

“Hey, it’s cool,” Arj reassures me in his very lovely, sweet and laid-back lovely American way, “I’m just playin around, you’ll be cool.”

And for a moment, I actually believe him. After all, he is TALKING TO ME IN PERSON!!!!!!!!!!!

Not that I’m star-struck. No way man.

So they go on and they’re awesome – as one would expect. Next? My turn.

It’s a small crowd and I don’t think they know what’s hit them when I belt out ‘One Night’ – but it seems to go okay and I can actually hear Corinne laughing through my set (though I’m shit-scared throughout it as I am just so excited and in disbelief that they’ve actually hung round to watch). After I come off-stage they both grab me (literally) and touch me and say ‘that was great!!!!’ and I feel like I’m going to turn into a piece of hubba-bubba bubble-gum. I want to sit and chat and hang with them and ‘be cool’ and all that, but the next comic’s on and I also want to just sit down in my spot and commence my descent. Turbulence-free. Oh and drink my beer. Besides, I can talk to them later, right?

They stay for one more comedian and then leave…I realise that I was SOOO LUCKY to have had my set on right then and there. While I’m I’m bummed about not getting to chat more with them post-gig, I take comfort in knowing that now I have the perfect excuse to go say hello another time. I know what you’re thinking: ‘yeah right, Jen, and when are you going to get another time to chat to Corinne and Arj?’ Well, ask no more my friend because as of today I have in my hot little (metaphorical) hands:

One ticket to the very exclusive Comedy Festival Gala After-Party!!!

Yes, that’s right people, I can hardly believe it myself, but my glorious mate and last year’s Raw winner Josh Thomas is giving me his guest pass, meaning that tomorrow night, (actually it’s technically tonight) I will be rubbing shoulders with the best comics in Australia in full ladidah fashion – Josh, did I ever tell you you’re my hero?!!

I cannot wait – oh my goodness. This trip is already worth it. The only problem is the party’s meant to be formal, and while I’ve got SOME dressy stuff in my luggage, it’s not really THAT dressy. But luckily for me my friend/accommodation provider/babysitter is also happy to add ‘stylist’ to the list. I’ll try to get my hands on a camera for tomorrow night so I can complete the whole bloggy picture for you.

But I digress (as usual). After the gig I was buzz, buzz, buzz and so what better way to deal with it than to continue buzzing with more coffee on Lygon Street with TimT. It was so cool to meet someone in person who I’d always suspected I would get along with, but in cyber-space, no-one can hear you scream. Hang on, sorry, that’s not what I was going to say. I guess on the internet you never can tell, that’s all I mean. We chatted and chatted and could have even chatted more had it not been for my dreaded thoughts of getting up early with the kids. The bummer being of course, that as soon as I got home the caffeine really kicked in along with my desire to share the day’s events and here I am at 3.24am typing this to you.

Which reminds me: I need to go to bed now. Seriously. But the bottom line: whether it’s a career break or just a complete nervous break-down, one thing’s for sure – by the end of this trip, there’s gonna be some sort of break. A dubious note to end on, but hey, I’m sleep-deprived and excited all in one, so hey, gimme a break. Oops, I did it again.

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