Comedian DeAnne Smith: ‘Reject The Gender Binary And Scrawl Something In The Margins’

DeAnne Smith

Canadian DeAnne Smith is a chameleon. She spent most of 2017 playing with identity. By the end of the year, she had accumulated an eclectic mix.

With her show at the 2018 Brisbane Comedy Festival looming, she’s no closer to any kind of resolution. Smith identifies as agender.

“You’ve got to reject the predetermined categories and scrawl something in the margins,” Deanne says.

It started as a joke: “Gentlemen Elf was one of the things I threw out there as one of the gender identities I will accept. The other ones were: Hot Hairy Potter and Trans-masculine House mouse. It’s, however, you want to take it. You’ve just got to feel Gentleman Elf in your soul. Either you are or you’re not.”

Deanne’s new show is called Worth It. One of its themes is money—our different complicated and emotional relationships to it—as well as the concept of worth in general.

“I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of the audience parting with their hard-earned money. What I have to do, what does the show have to do to be, beyond a doubt, worth it for them to come out and spend their time and spend their money?

“I do have something of a checklist, what makes people satisfied, so whatever their purchase was, was worth it. I will be going through that in the show, striving to make my show meet those indicators.”

One thing is certain: the patriarchy is still clearly in her sights. What better place to start than Elon Musk shooting a sports car into space?

“It’s the whole situation! The uncritical celebration of what seems to be a dick metaphor within a dick metaphor. We agree sports cars are metaphors. We agree that rockets are metaphors. And yet, here we are, cheering on Elon Musk in what I think is glorified littering, frankly!”

“The car will just be in orbit for millions of years. He has a dummy in the car, called spaceman, in a spacesuit. The only cool part is the car will be playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. On repeat.

“But, I’m not sure how much more to say about the show, how much I should reveal. I feel like I might spoil it.

“This is always the time of year when I am still gathering ideas and putting them all together. It’s winter over here, so I am still in hibernation mode. Usually, I’m putting the finishing touches to the show on the way over, DeAnne Smith said

“Some of the best elements of last year’s show either happened spontaneously or kind of right before the show started. That’s how I work; it may drive other people crazy, but I’ve learned to understand it’s part of my process.”

Smith has been coming to Australia and performing for a number of years and counts it as a second home. However, she still needs to take care of her first home while travelling.

“One of my friends from the comedy circuit, who I met years ago, is coming over to look after my house and my dog while I’m in Australia, to give her as much love and attention as I do.”

Ruby the Chihuahua is particularly fond of bull sticks, yet lives in a vegan lesbian household. DeAnne Smith isn’t concerned with the possible metaphors.

“It’s a country swap; a life swap! It’s always great to go from Canadian winter to the tail end of Australian summer because I come from a place where physically it takes so much effort to go outside: putting on double socks, a lot of underwear; hats, gloves and scarves. You really have to bundle up.

“It’s always nice to come to Australia and shake all of that off, literally and figuratively, and walk outside and feel so free. However, you might be happy to know that Australia’s favourite comic, Hannah Gadsby, will loan me her dogs while I’m over here.”

With all her domestic arrangements sorted, DeAnne Smith has one challenge for us before she arrives.

“Not too much confuses me about Australia; I’ve been all around your beautiful country. But, what I would like to understand: why is it called BrisVegas? I don’t want someone to explain it to me! I want someone to show it to me. Take me out. Show me the wild underworld!”

You can catch DeAnne Smith’s show Worth It at the Brisbane Comedy Festival from March 22 to March 24. For tickets, visit the Brisbane Comedy Festival website.


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Andrew Blythe

Andrew Blythe is an writer and editor who has a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Queensland. In addition, he is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University within the School of Human Services and Social Work, assisting the school with both curriculum review and lived-experience research development. He enjoys communication in all its forms and has prepared and presented material via print—including as the former editor of Time and Place (the magazine of the Queensland Heritage Council) and consultant editor of QNews Magazine—as well as radio, television, and multimedia formats. He has written a memoir about his father’s experience of receiving a heart transplant, as well as documenting other peoples’ experiences of the Queensland health system.

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