Judith Lucy has done it all. She’s one of Australia’s most popular stand up comedians, successful author and has spent years featuring of a variety of television shows and radio. Ahead of her first sold comedy show in over 5 years – the oddly named ‘Ask No Questions of the Moth’ – QNews caught up with Judith to see what’s been going on in her life and to ask what’s with the moth outfit….
Judith, thanks for joining us. It’s been a couple of years since you started comedy, 20 years since you first tour, King of the Road, we’re told.
Firstly, I will say that that’s slightly misleading. I know it’s in the press releases that King of the Road was 20 years ago, but believe it or not, I’ve been doing this shit for 27 years. I think they talk about King of the Road because that was my first really big one woman show. I don’t know why I’m actually letting you know that I’m older and been doing it longer, but there you go.
After enjoying so much success since that time, does coming up with new material become easier of harder?
Does it get easier? I mean, god knows when you’ve been doing it for nearly 30 years, you hope you’ve got more of a handle on what works and what doesn’t work. I will say that every time it’s a revelation, in that I always go around trying out new bits of material, and then I’ll do an actual trial show before I actually start charging people money to come and see me. Still, there are times when I will write something and think, “That is hilarious,” and then you’ll do it in front of a room full of strangers and it will be proved that you’re quite wrong.
While I think you do get better at it, every new show is a new challenge, without sounding like a complete showbiz wanker.
The show that you’re bringing to Brisbane Powerhouse, at the end of May to the start of June is called, “Ask No Questions of the Moth.” Do you normally ask questions of moths?
Don’t we all? No, I wanted to come up with a title for the show that made me sound a lot deeper and more intelligent than I actually am, but that also sounded mystifying and ridiculous. I managed to find a quote from a 12th century Sufi mystic poem, which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, by Farid ud-Din Attar called, “Conference of the Birds.” The whole quote is, “I have no questions of my coming or passing away, the whole thing happened quicker than a breath, ask no questions of the moth. Look, it’s also because if the show does have a theme, it’s about change and impermanence. I mean, that theme is well hidden underneath a bunch of cheap gags, but that was the thinking there.
All of the promotional material about the show is saying that 2014 was a shit year for you, and that you went through various things that changed your life. I guess it’s an exploration of that area.
It’s all about turning your lemons into lemonade, right? Yes, I know the press release says that basically when I have a bad year it usually means that leads to a good show. I do have a tendency to talk about my personal disasters and there were a few last year, but I also do just talk about making the television show, “Judith Lucy is All Woman.” I think the television show kind of looked at what’s changed and what hasn’t changed for women and men in Australia, and I talk about what changed for me personally last year. There was good stuff, there was bad stuff. I mean I’m a relationship so that was good. My brother died, that was obviously awful, that’s what made the year a truly terrible one, but I don’t talk about that very much. I also went into early menopause which I also don’t talk about that much either, because I really do want people under 55 to come to the show. I also talk about just current trends, so that’s about change as well I guess. Trends that I don’t understand, and that’s everything from dick pics to, “Why are we drinking out of jars?”
2014 does sound pretty shitty for you, but how’s 2015 been? Has it been any better?
So far so good. Nothing terrible has happened yet, so so far 2015 is looking fantastic.
You’re famous on stage, part of festivals, film, television, videos, radio and a successful author. I know they’re all your favourite children, but if you had to pick one favourite, what would it be?
Firstly, thank you so much for making me sound so much more successful than I actually am. That really does make it sound like my career is extraordinary. Let’s not forget that I was sacked from radio and I’ve been in 3 films over the course of 27 years. Look, if someone held a gun to my head, I guess I would say stand-up because that’s where everything comes from really. None of the rest would’ve happened without it.
You’ve got a huge lesbian and gay or LGBT fan base. What do you think it is that attracts LGBT people to connect with you so much?
I have been asked this question a number of times and I’m still yet to find an answer that doesn’t make me sound like a complete wanker. I don’t know, all I know is that I’m profoundly grateful. I mean, I remember hanging out with Mark Trevorrow once, AKA Bob Downe, when I was asked this question. He just said to me, “Well, it’s just because gay people love funny, smart women.” I’m very happy to go with his answer, but yeah, I don’t know. I guess there’s a connection there and I’m just very very grateful for it.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of big names. Who is the biggest diva you’ve met or worked with?
Jennifer Lopez. She and I didn’t connect at all. I don’t think I’ve met many divas, because honestly, comedians are just not divas. Frankly, you can go from performing like I did in Melbourne recently in Hamer Hall, which was just unbelievable. Seats 2000 people, I had a grand piano in my dressing room, which of course I lay on after each show and rolled around on, Fabulous Baker Boys style. The next thing you know, you’ll be doing a corporate gig for a bunch of accountants in Adelaide who just think you’re shit. What I love about comedy is that you can never get away with feeling too good about yourself, because the next gig you do will just bring you right down to earth.
And finally, back to the moth. What’s the most compelling reason people should part with their hard-earned cash to come and see you perform at Brisbane Powerhouse, 26th of May to the 7th of June, or in Mackay maybe, Saturday the 20th of June?
Apart from the fact that there will be unlimited laughs, you’ll get to see me in a stunning frock dancing with maracas. Now if that doesn’t get people in, I simply don’t know what will!
Judith Lucy’s tour details and ticket details can be found at www.token.com.au