Things I learned on Tour
Okay, so I lied about writing this debrief on Friday. Sorry bout that. Truth be told I ended up wasting hours upon hours just sorting through the billions of e-mails clogging up my very neglected inbox. But you don’t need to be bored with details, do you? Hell no. Let me try and write this succintly. ‘Yeah right,’ I hear you say. Oh ye of little faith.
The past few weeks have been the most intense of my entire life. Now, you might think ‘oh yeah, Jen, but maybe that’s just cos you just live a boring crappy little life.’
That would hurt if I wasn’t so secure.
No, rest assured my life is always nuts, so much so that my old flatmate Paul once said to me ‘Jen, you’re that one person that when I ask ‘so what’s been happening?’ will always have some dramatic story to tell.’
So yes, when I say the tour was intense, I mean it was INTENSE. There you go, in capitals and all. I met so many amazing people, saw so much cool comedy, got up close and personal with heaps of my favourite people, talked comedy, walked comedy, bloody well bled comedy. I feel like I’ve had this little glimpse of what could be, which was both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because now it all seems so possible, I’m completely inspired and feel like I’m closer than ever to becoming the performer I want to be. But terrifying because I was struck by the realisation that being a comedian AND a good mummy and wife is going to be a hell of a lot harder than I thought. So without further ado…
Things I learned on Tour
1. Don’t try and do too much. I definitely stuffed this one up, cramming in way too many gigs in way too little time. Add parenting to the mix (single parenting for the first four and final nine days) and congratulations: you’ve just bought a one-way ticket to burn-out. (When the hell did I become the narrator of “Cops”?)
2. Don’t ever go on tour without a nanny. Mary Poppins, where were you when I needed you? No doubt helping some over-wealthy stuck up British kids with a thoughtless merchant banker for a father, but what about two little dumplings with a broke mummy comedian on tour somewhere in the lower regions of little old Australia who actually REALLY NEED HELP?! I’m going to be writing a rather terse letter to Julie Andrews.
3. Do include your hubby in your world. Originally I thought ‘oh, it will be so cool for Tim to come, he can do uni work through the day and I’ll go gigging at night’. Which is exactly what we did and while it worked well from a practical point of view, I can see now that this is definitely NOT the way to do things. We just end up passing like ships in the night and we both end up feeling like we’re living separate lives. So next time…I’m definitely kidnapping Mary Poppins so that Tim can come to gigs and be part of that world as well. I think I can still do comedy and be a good wife, but I just need to do things differently.
4. Think outside the box. For instance, there I was trying to convince my beyond-nap-time 3-year-old to continue the long trek home, when it dawned on me: don’t fight her, just strap her into the pram and pop little brother on top. Check it out:
5. When solo parenting, the park is your best friend. Followed very closely by “Monsters Inc”, “Shark’s Tale” (which I HATE, by the way) and Sesame Street. And guilt over the revolting amount of television you’re allowing your kids to watch is bad. After all, who’s to say I’m not inspiring the Scorsese’s of tomorrow? Cos as we all know, if there was one shining light of inspiration to good old Martin’s body of work, it was Big Bird.
6. When in Tassie, heaters are your best friend. Followed very closely by dodgy Eminem hooded fleecy sweaters, kindly lent to me by my cousin, conveniently providing me with warm padding AND the chance to get in touch with my inner white-trash hick. When in Rome…
7. Don’t be afraid to use heckler comebacks on abusive strangers. Let me set the scene: I was trying to get Caleb out of his car-seat while she reverse-parked her ute, an action which a random woman, (le’s call her middle-aged-flannelette-wearing-redneck-biatch-from-hell)obviously found deeply offensive despite my trying to take up as little space as possible while doing so. It was only after she’d screamed at me (completely incoherently, might I add) for thirty seconds or so that I suddenly realised ‘hang on, I don’t have to take this crap. I’m a comedian! I do hecklers all the time!!’
Me: EXCUSE ME?
(I know, brilliant.)
Her: (quite literally running into the butcher shop while continuing to yell unintelligible babble) babble…car….babble…f***ing…babble…dangerous…babble
Me: (trying to dish out one of my heckler comebacks but torn between leaving my son in the car and following the old bag into the butchers): WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?!!
Her: (continuing to back away and hurl abuse)
Me: WHY DON’T YOU SAVE YOUR BREATH FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND, YOU’LL HAVE TO INFLATE HIM LATER!!!
Okay, so I didn’t really say that. But I WANTED to. And in fact, I totally would have (no really) if the wench had just stood still! That’s what annoyed me the most actually. If you’re gonna dish it out, then at least have the guts to stand face to face and do it. But she was screaming and running away at the same time into the embassy known as the Huonville Meat Store.
My cousin since informed me she’s kinda the town crazy. I felt quite shaken up afterwards, but reassured in the knowledge I’d get some good material out of it. And as an added bonus, I actually have a newfound respect for hecklers. At least they sit in the one spot. That and they’re prepared to have a show-down against someone with a microphone.
Damn, what I would have done for a microphone.
So there you go. I learned a lot more things too, (really, aren’t I clever?) specifically about the kind of performances I want to do in future. I’m sticking to my guns and not taking on any more gigs in the near future and instead using the time to rewrite my new material, especially more songs. I’m completely inspired after seeing the likes of Tim Minchin to create a much more theatrical show and am quite turned off the idea of doing pub gigs for a while. I want to do a SHOW, damn it!
I could write tons more (as you well know) but then I did promise to keep it short, didn’t I? And I am very much a woman of my word. Evidently.