Thursday, March 15, 2018

It's All About Time (almost)

I cannot profess to know what the heck Stephen Hawking added to our knowledge of the universe and black holes...  and have not read his A Brief History of Time, though have thought about giving it a go but have never had the time - ha! I have been too busy writing jokes like that. Comedy is an art form that is said to have something - everything - to do with timing, if not Time. They're relatives. Hmm...

But I know a good story when I come across one, as I and millions of others did through the 2014 film, The Theory of Everything, that was made of Hawking's life based on the book that his wife Jane Wilde wrote about that life, including her critical role in keeping him alive and inspiring him to go on when he was ready to give up (all verified by Hawking and many others who were there, for those sceptics who don't believe anything women say about what they have done to further the lot of mankind).

Indeed theirs is a profound love story and that is what got people like me, non scientists, interested in the man who once (post his relationship with Jane) told a reporter that he might understand the universe but he doesn't understand women any more than the next man.

Just as well his wife understood him and loved him through all his lack of understanding too, because an understanding love trumps all, including men's determination to remain mystified about the most interesting and important puzzle in life; the ultimate black hole, if you will.

Sorry, but I am a comedian now and when the joke fits, and it fits here, use it. Perhaps it will stand the test of time, perhaps not. Perhaps what Hawking had to say on other black holes will stand the test of time, perhaps not.

But what has and will stand the test of time, because we are all doomed without it, is love, surely the greatest mystery and magic of the universe.

RIP Stephen Hawking (who died yesterday) in the knowledge that you were loved.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Me too much on International Women's Day 2018

On our publicly-funded commercial free Radio New Zealand channel yesterday one of the male guest speakers expressed his frustration with the prevalence of #MeToo messages in the media and entertainment industry and reckoned that this possibly explained why fewer people watched the Oscars this year as had done in previous years.

He was on the programme with a female host, who was standing in for the usual male host, and another female guest. These women then both tried to respond to his frustrations.

The female guest said that 'maybe the women involved are pretty sick of having to talk about the abuse they have suffered, and sick of the abuse itself,' or words to that effect, spoken with admirable restraint and minimal exasperation, although she made it clear that her frustration and disappointment with this guest's decision to blame women for talking too much about their abuse was greater than his, and justifiably so.

But then the host kind of tried to find a compromise position by saying that it is exhausting having to listen to so many stories of abuse, which was a little disappointing to hear, as really we have only been talking openly and at any length about the sexual abuse of women (and some men) in the entertainment industry and beyond since October, which is barely six months.

They're all men, right?
Hollywood women were reportedly advised to 'tone down' their #MeToo and #TimesUp protests at this year's Oscars.
So in a world where historically, for hundreds if not thousands of years (never mind six measly months) women have been made to listen to men talk about their shit and to shut up about the shit that men put them through, this man's complaint about six months of push back from women, the kind of push back that might help to not only stop the endemic culture of sexist abuse, but the above stats on the systemic gender bias in the film industry and awards system, is a pathetic reflection of the very attitude that allows such abuse and bias to continue unchecked.

Most men, those who don't abuse women directly, just don't want to know about those men that do, and so it continues to be up to women to stop abusive men, even when men have the vast majority of the power in all industries of cultural and political influence. That's the problem in a nutshell and the sooner we own it and speak out about it, women and men alike, the better we will all be.

Stand up for women, men, or stand against us, that's the message I want to put out there for International Women's Day 2018.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sold Out Sorry!

I'm not complaining, but...

... my final Fringe show on Saturday was so sold out that my husband had to turn our good friends away at the door after they had been looking forward to the show for many weeks but somehow hadn't gotten the memo reminding them that if they want to be sure to see a show they are looking forward to seeing they should probably book ahead! Either that or they presumed that a show with me and me only in it had next to no chance of selling out. Hmm... sometimes friends can be a little like that, and possibly I gave them that impression too. Sorry friends!!!

It didn't help that they are friends who don't use Facebook (whart???) and I don't do Instagram (whart??), which they favour, so they missed all my raving about the event and posting of my sold out opening night show on Facebook. And in the rush of that busy week I didn't think to message them separately, other than to email them briefly earlier in the week to remind them that the event was on and to ask them to please invite their friends too (which they didn't do, in the end, and just as well). 

It's not a bad problem to have to sell out your first comedy special twice I know, but I did want those friends to be there and really anyone else who wanted to see the show and couldn't, which included some other people who turned up at the door wanting tickets despite having to walk past this giant poster and sold out sign to get to that door. One young couple even waited to no avail for half an hour hoping to get tickets if some of the ticketed people didn't turn up. Blimey! 

In the end the Lounge space was a bit overcrowded with the front row completely visible to me and on my level, which was less than ideal. Next time a bigger venue, methinks, as well as bigger expectations on the part of the artist and her friends alike. 

That's not tempting fate at all ! And not just as far as attendance at any subsequent shows go. I haven't heard back from those friends since I emailed them yesterday morning profuse with apology and disbelief. I have a horrible feeling they think it's all my fault, which it probably is. Most things are. Why do you think I started stand-up comedy!!? To make new friends...  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cherries Sold Out!

So in a follow up to my last post I can happily, if with slightly bleary eyes, report that my opening night stand-up gig was a sell out success! My comedy cherry was thoroughly popped in grand style and I did not drop the microphone.

Better still, one dude from England who was in the audience was heard to ask my husband after the show, and I quote: "Has Sacha (that's me) performed at Edinburgh?", and when my husband duly reported that she has not, he replied: "She totally should, she's just as good as those guys!"

I'm just going to highlight that quote, which I took as a decent compliment, even if he might have said she's a million times better than those guys. Never mind, it gives me something to aim for.

Now I just have to prepare for the difficult sequel tonight after very little sleep. Might need a nana nap...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Popping my cherry

So tomorrow night I stand up for the first time in front of an audience that has come to see me and me alone perform. It is a little nerve-wracking, but also quite exciting... 

I hope I don't drop the microphone or forget my segues or fudge my lines or go too fast, or too slow, or not speak directly into the mic so I can't be heard by the people in the back, or find that there are no people in the back because hardly anybody came to see me and me alone perform!

I'm going in naked - sans notes - to speak for an hour in an entertaining and feminist-forward way. What could possibly go wrong?

Indeed there are quite a few things that could go wrong besides these, this is only the shortlist. I'm also the fire-warden for the entire heritage (fire-prone) building for the night, and the first respondent should any harm befall anyone else in the building before, during or after my performance.

But that's what I signed up for - mostly. I wasn't entirely aware of the full extent of my responsibilities re putting out fires and worrying about the welfare of others on MY big night. But I guess if hardly anyone shows up the chances of anyone starting a fire or breaking their leg are greatly reduced, so there's that.

As for me breaking a leg, as a few of my friends (?) have encouraged me to do, I think that will be the least of my worries. The stage is only five inches high and I only charge across it giddy-upping like a deranged horse once during the show, or at least once that is scripted. So although the stage is black to match the floor beyond it, my horse and jockey are quite well trained in avoiding traps for the unwary; they've learnt that life skill the hard way.

Famous last words, she said... I always did want to be famous.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Sunday, February 18, 2018

"All thy sins"

So Canada has finally changed its national anthem, "O Canada" to include, or rather not exclude, 50% of its citizens; namely their female humans.

The phrase "All thy sons" that has stood for more than one-hundred years despite feminist protest for at least forty, was officially changed to "All of us" last week.

So female Canadians are not explicitly included now - that would be going a step too far, and of course 'daughters' is much harder to rhyme than 'sons' (women are just so bloody difficult!) - but females are not explicitly excluded, so that is something. The humans that gave birth to every single Canadian are finally celebrated, indirectly, in its national anthem. Hooray! 

And there was me thinking Canada was a little more gender-evolved than that and would have long since made this obvious upgrade. But less surprising is that misogyny has no particular country, colour or creed, which this delay aptly confirms.

As an Australian I grew up singing: "Australian sons let us rejoice for we are young and free..." 

I never really thought anything of it, but as I knew at a young age that my brother, though older than me, had much more freedom than I did, I think subconsciously, even at the age of five when I started loudly rejoicing about the freedom my brother had, I was thinking, not forever buddy, my time will come...

And it did - sort of. The Aussies upgraded their anthem to "Australians all let us rejoice" in the 1980s, once I'd grown up and left the country. Take that, brother.