Category Archives: comedy
One of the Betties other halves took some SMASHING photos all Woodford long, including of the wondrous onstage birth of Wonderland!
Thank you Leonie! xxx
I have splattered them all over my new Wonderland page over here if you’d care to take a peek.
PS if you live in Adelaide, a heads-up that there are only 14 subsidised tix left through Bank SA’s Support Act Program, where you get your ticket for $10 and they chip in the rest. If you want to grab a cheapie, I would jump to it!
I am a (somewhat ashamed) New Year’s Resolution kinda gal. But…this year, I’ve opted out of making any of my traditional ridiculous claims to heights-a-lofty, and instead decided to keep it simple. My goal? To enjoy it.
A few triggers for this:
1) Earlier this year, I got an email from my literary agent. She commented that I’d been so busy this year and asked a very simple question: “are you enjoying it?” Now, whether or not she meant that to rock my soul, so that I’d think deeply about whether I was in fact, enjoying the ride, or whether she was simply making small talk, we will probably never know – it was, after all, written some months ago, so I doubt she’d remember her original intention even if I questioned her on it, which I wouldn’t, given that I do not wish to annoy her with my overly analytical and self-obsessed ways. YOU, however, person who has actively sought out such punishment…HOLD TIGHT! It made me question myself. Am I enjoying it? Am I? I was unsure of the answer.
2) On my first cruise in November (which I LOVED, by the way, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total Scrooge Mc-Hate-Life!), I had a moment. There I was, sitting in the most crystal blue water I have ever had the tremendous fortune to set eye on, let alone my swimsuit clad bod in, when I realised to my horror, that despite this moment where I was essentially LIVING INSIDE PINTEREST, I could NOT relax. My mind would not switch off. It just wouldn’t. It’s not that I was wound up, it was merely that state of “rolling through my to-dos, should-dos and what-ifs” like the scrolling flight charts in the world’s busiest airport, showed itself for what it was: my default setting. I was mortified. If I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy paradise, then where and when the hell could I?
3) Finally, at Woodford just gone, I realised that something ain’t working in Jenny land. I appreciated the week, I enjoyed myself massively onstage (truly, it seems sad to me that this is the one place I really can relax and have fun, but this said, it causes me tremendous anxiety and physical pain both before and after the show goes on!) and of course, love that my family truly embraces and leaps on the week of festivities with rabid enthusiasm. BUT…again, I don’t think I really enjoyed it. And this is Woodford! If you can’t enjoy Woodford (when the weather is good, of course!) then what can you? I feel like I was so focused on the next gig, the next gig, the next gig, that I couldn’t really just let go and savour the wonders. I was too tense and preoccupied. Mostly with myself. And I hate that. I want to change that. I want to act professionally without taking it all too seriously. I want to appreciate the privilege of being able to perform (I still remind myself before I step onstage sometimes just how damn lucky I am to be alive and walking out there) and indeed, to appreciate and enjoy the tremendous honour of living in a world where I can actually do this for a living. I feel like a spoiled brat even being all “poor me, I don’t truly enjoy my incredibly privileged life!” but therein lies the problem. I KNOW I’m privileged. I KNOW I should be grateful. And I am. I just need to work on how to relax more so that I can appreciate the ride more. Otherwise, really. What is the point in any of this?
I want to change. I want to focus on learning how to relax, stretching every day, treating my body well (thus far I have lost 8kg since I started eating well, so incredibly happy and encouraged by that!), planning more down-time and banning myself from any work-stuff, being more organised in my work-time so that I can be more productive to free up other time, so that I can take the time and effort to really enjoy and savour my family too.
What about you? Are you making any resolutions, complex, simple or somewhere in between?
What a week. I don’t believe I’m out of line speaking on behalf of the entire clan when I say that we’re sore, tired, high, low, socialised up, gigged out, rocked in the spaces between and now facing a house that looks like a shaken snow-globe. Such is the roller coaster marathon of wonder that is a season spent at Woodford Folk Festival!
My Top 5 Personal Highlights in No Particular Order:
1. Debuting WONDERLAND!
With the first EVER performance of this new show (yep, the one that’s coming to Adelaide Fringe and Brisbane Comedy Festival shortly!) I was understandably nauseous about this one. BUT…I’ve gotta tell you, the moment the curtains opened, the band kicked in (they ROCKED IT SO BAD I NEARLY SWEATED PRIDE BEADS!), I looked over and saw the Betties being all Betty-ish, I took in the ridiculously awesome set (designed by extraordinardo incarnate Dan Endicott, who took my instructions of “Well, I know it’s crazy but I’d love a giant gum ball machine that actually WORKS!” and turned them into even more amazeballsness than I could have ever hoped for)…I honestly had goosebumps.
It was way too much fun. I’ve got plenty of tweaking (and more writing!) to do between now and it’s resurrection in Adelaide (opening night is Friday February 15th) but I am just so relieved and elated that WE HAVE GOT A SHOW, PEOPLE!
2. Hanging with Betty and the Betties!
3. Having Utterly Fabulous Hair All Week Long!
After 13 years of coming to Woodford (as a performer for nearly half of that), this one marked a turning point in that for the first time ever, I had a wondrous man of Edward Scissorhands-like-hair genius stroking my tender locks each and every morn. Even to be able to type that sentence is a dream come true. Derek from the fabulous Pink Salon (if you’re in Brissie you really MUST check these guys out) was on Betty and Jenny hair patrol and my oh my. I don’t know how I will ever go back.
That the top of my crown looked so well spruced came in particularly handy during a surprise photo op with Australia’s very own PM. Whoda thunk?
PLUS…Derek’s daughter and my own (who became little partners in crime around the festival all week) succumbed to the allure of the Betty hairstyle and by the end of the week, became our very own honorary Betty Juniors!
The Great Debate!
Doing the debate is always one of my favourite gigs of the entire festival, however it is also the one that causes the most turmoil to my digestive tract. Fortunately, being able to meet Rod Quantock (a long-time hero who, it turns out, is not just hilarious but the sweetest man) AND Kate Miller-Heidke (whose Mum I met at a gig last year, after which she came to see “An Unexpected Variety Show” in Melbourne, love her and Kate is as gorgeous in person as she is onstage) within 10 minutes of going onstage to debate my buttocks off, was soothing balm for the affirmative team’s soul.
I should also point out that I have such strong memories of being a punter in the crowd and watching these debates – they were my only “I cannot miss that!” events each year, and thinking how much ridiculous fun it would be to be up there doing it. Dreams can come true. They really can.
Camping With Friends!
Between the half a gazillion gigs, my favourite thing to do in between was as little as possible back at our campsite. Hanging with friends and family that we otherwise don’t have nearly as much of a chance to catch up with properly throughout everybody’s highly busy years, this was just the bomb. And that almost all our fellow campers had kids as well was organic icing on the gluten-free cake.
PLUS…Just Soaking Up General Woodfordia Goodness!
Last year we got home from Woodford and my littlest was all fired up about doing somersaults. This year? We can hardly pry the ukelele away from him. This morning he woke me up by singing “I love you Mummy, I love Ella, I love Caleb, I love Daddy, I love myself!”
Thank you Woodford. Til next time. xx
With all the effort that theme parks go to naming roller coasters suitably terrifying things, from ‘Thunderbolt’ to ‘Impending Doom’ to ‘Twisty Turly Death Spin’, I really think they should just get back to basics and just call one “Life.”
On Sunday morning I woke up to the news that we made our pozible campaign target – and then some! I was absolutely elated. The best Christmas pressie ever. THANK YOU ALL FROM EVERY PIECE OF ME.
On Monday morning, Christmas eve, I picked up my Mum (grandma) to bring her to our place for Christmas lunch. I knew something was up. She’d been for an ultrasound the week before and the doctor had called her to ask her to come in this very morning to get the results. As soon as I walked in the door I asked her what the doctor said. She smiled and said “Oh, it’ll keep.” My heart sunk. I’d had a bad feeling about it anyway, and I suspected that if it really was bad news, she wouldn’t tell me, it being Christmas and all (this is the woman who lied to me about having non-Hodgkins lymphoma a few years back because she didn’t want us to delay our trip to Canada!) A few minutes later I finally pried it out of her.
She is so positive. I am so numb.
We had the most amazing – if hyper emotional on my part – Christmas. We ate, we laughed, we did puzzles, we saw Christmas lights, we held hands in bed, we made wishes, we talked, we opened presents, we hugged. It was almost perfect.
So here I sit, typing this up at Woodford, at the tail end of what has probably been the biggest year of my life, celebrating the incredible highs and not even close to processing this massive blow.
Am I being too dramatic? I bloody hope so. I hope it’s all going to work out, she’ll be totally fine and I’ll look back on this very blog post and smile at my silliness in feeling the dread.
I really hope so.
But for now, I’m burying my head in the sand (at least for this week) in Woodford Folk Festival.
It’s a mighty fine place to do just that.
(Gigs are over here if you wanna check em out.)
Did you actually read that?
WE HAVE A BAND FOR WONDERLAND AT WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL!
I cannot believe it is happening – especially in light of the fact that the show itself is indeed about wonderful things happening – but in the past week, I have somehow managed to join forces with a drummer/guitarist, bass guitarist, saxophonist and keyboardist to do some musical comedy numbers AND improvised songs as part of the Wonderland show!
Excuse me while I geek out for a moment.
That these people are blisteringly talented individuals is a godsend. That they are all hilarious and awesome and nice and bloody great to work with PLUS I get to share the show with them AND Betty and the Betties, some of my favourite ladies on earth, well seriously…whatever happens, for me selfishly, THIS SHOW IS A DREAM COME TRUE.
I’ve honestly always wanted a band to do improv and comedy and jamming stuff with onstage but it seemed so “pie in the sky” ish that I never took it seriously enough to make it happen. But now it’s just fallen into place and I’m completely losing my mind about it with excitement.
After brainstorming last night with a couple of the gang after our Betties rehearsal, I was so inspired I stayed up way into the wee hours and wrote and wrote and wrote. It was honestly like I was possessed by some force telling me to not dare stop in case I woke up in the morning and the well was dry. This has NEVER happened to me before. I lost all track of time. I think it must have been three that I finally caved in and slept. I sure feel it now. BUT…I have a show!
Now to tweak, polish, rehearse AND finish writing that one pesky closing number.
I cannot wait to perform it though, and whenever I’ve felt like that about a new song/bit or whatever, like I am literally ITCHING to get up onstage and share it with the world, it’s been a good thing.
Not many sleeps now!
P.S. We have only 6 days left on our pozible campaign and I have the stomach ulcer to show for it. A few folks have told me they’re a bit confused by what this pozible business actually is! Honestly, the easiest way to wrap your head around it is to go to our page on the site, but the Reader’s Digest version is this:
- it’s not a donation site, you don’t “donate” anything (because we aren’t a charity!), rather it’s about pre-buying goods and services (like tickets to our early 2013 shows both in Brissie and Adelaide, DVDs, merch, etc.) so that we can afford to do the project (which in this case, involves us touring Wonderland to Adelaide Fringe!)
- if you go onto the site, you’ll see the different prices of everything you can get. For instance, pledging $30 will get you a DVD, $50 a DVD plus show ticket, right up to a $2000 business package!
- we don’t get ONE CENT of the money pledged unless our campaign is successful. Your pledge is not processed (i.e. your card isn’t charged) until we are successful, which, touch wood, will be in six days time!) We are currently at $3320 of our $5000 goal. If we don’t make it, we get nothing.
Hope that makes sense!
Cruising. Coming back to the fam. Rehearsing. Writing the new show. Gigging (a shiteload!). Drowning in a messy house. Attempting to bake gingerbread houses and failing gloriously. Family Christmas parties.
I AM ONE SPOILED TURD.
Seriously. My sister asked me recently “how come you didn’t post much on Facebook while you were away?” Honestly, the truth is that I feel like if I do that, posting pics of what an incredible time I’m having (I LOVE cruising, love the audiences, love the travel element, love having somebody make my bed for me and not having to cook a damn thing) then I’m gonna be making people feel bad by rubbing their noses in it.
But…she (and a coupla others) have implored me to share anyway. So…I’m sharing anyway.
Not just cruise pics but pics from the past week or so, which has been wonderfully busy in all the right ways. Seriously. I am so privileged and I don’t want to ever forget it. In light of this week’s horrific headlines I’ve thought about it more than usual. I am so lucky. I am so lucky. I am so lucky.
Would you be interested in more detailed posts about what it’s like cruising? Again, I feel like it actually is so cool and such a world unto itself it would make for some cool posts, but again, there’s that whole “nyah nyah ne nyah nyah” element I feel self-conscious about!
And some just from round here since getting back:
Now off for more.
P.S. Our pozible campaign has only 7 days left. Please if you wanna grab DVDs, show tix, vintage hairstyling sessions & more, please get onboard now!
So next week I’m heading off on my second set of cruise ship gigs.
I actually really hate being away from my kids. I love them of course, but I also really like them. I enjoy their company. I love being together. Don’t get me wrong, I also have periods where a little break away is the stuff my dreams are made of, but for the most part, I actually really dislike being apart.
Yet sometimes the reality of my career means that we are. I’d love to bring them with me on each and every tour or festival I do (and I do whenever it’s financially possible) but the fact is, it just isn’t always viable. Or allowed. Take for instance, these cruises. I am DYING to be allowed to bring the whole family with me, but right now, as a comedian starting out in that circuit, it’s just not gonna happen. And the money is too good to say no to right now.
Whenever I’m about to head off on a jaunt such as this, I feel myself getting anxious. Fretful. If I were a dog I would be whining. I comfort myself by topping up the grocery supply and writing out chore charts with promises of big rewards for acts of outstanding family help in my absence.
And then I leave…and fret…and eventually settle into the time away by reminding myself that if I spend it being all misery guts, then it really IS a total travesty that we are apart. I need to make it count. I work. I write. I gig. I catch up on sleep. I try to relax and enjoy and savour and focus on all the things I COULDN’T be doing if the kids were with me. Last cruise after my final gig was done I bought myself a pina colada and sat on a hammock.
In other words, I try to make the most of it.
Do I feel guilty leaving them? Absolutely.
But…and it is a big but…I take huge comfort in my own experiences of having a mother who was consistently leaving to go follow her own passions.
I have distinct memories of my mum – a singer – leaving me to go off to gigs. I remember hating it. Missing her. Wanting her to come back. One night at the babysitters’ house I vowed to stay secretly awake in my bed until she returned. Which I did. When she got back the next morning, it was like I’d done a monkey-bar marathon.
But despite all this, I remember her as a wonderful mum. Namely because over-riding the memories of her leaving us to go strut her stuff onstage, are much happier memories of doing awesome stuff together. Baking cookies. Singing. Doing ballet in the front yard. Riding bikes. Going to the beach. Having picnics. She made a massive effort to engage with us. To cuddle us. She loved us and made huge efforts to show it by giving us her time. She left regularly to go sing, sure (and I should also point out that despite my sadness at her leaving, I also had the incredible pride of occasionally going to see her onstage and being able to point and say “that’s my Mummy!”) but when she was with us, she was really WITH us. You know?
I want so desperately to follow her example.
My aunt – a fabulous woman in her own right and a psychologist – introduced to me the concept of “the good enough” parent. The idea being that so long as your parent is “good enough” as far as you perceive it, you will emerge from childhood able to look past the negatives, and still see them as “a good parent.” Bottom line? We don’t need perfect parents. We can’t get perfect parents. Nor do we need to BE perfect parents. Which is lucky, because there is no such thing. We’re all stuffing it up somehow. But coming to terms with the thought that being imperfect is actually okay, so long as you’re being “good enough” in the right places, well, I find that hugely comforting. And liberating. Instead of beating myself up about the crap parts of me as a mother (and there are plenty), I can just get on with being awesome at the bits I think are the most important.
And so it is with the way I’m trying to handle this comedy/parenting combo.
I leave. I come back. And when I do, we bake. We sing. We dance. We go to the beach. We have picnics. We cuddle.
And I cling to the hope that this will be good enough.
Writing a new show is scary.
I remember tearing my hair out when I was starting what finally became “An Unexpected Variety Show”, namely cos the whole process was just so damn messy that it left me wondering (more often than not) whether it was EVER going to actually look like anything other than a bunch of disconnected index cards covering the floor.
My sister came over yesterday and between dissuading toddlers from swallowing Christmas ornaments, we talked through the new show (which, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know the Betties are in!) and had a creative breakthrough.
It was just what I needed. Not that all problems are solved, but I think when you’re working on a major project and are plagued with self doubt, sometimes that’s all you need. Not to solve the whole Rubik’s cube, but rather, to have just the odd leap of progress to give you hope that you are indeed, gonna get there.
If You Want To See This Show of Which I Speak:
You can pledge for tix and/or a DVD of the show (you don’t need to have dates, etc. worked out, either, we sort out details later) right here on our Pozible campaign page!
So as you may have heard, I’m putting together my new show about all things awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome and I would love, love, love YOUR story to be a part of it!
During each and every show I will be reading out a letter from somebody – YOU?! – sharing a story about something fabulous, wonderful and/or awe-inspiring that has happened in your lifetime.
It can be about a place, a person, an act of random kindness, it can be hilarious, it can be heartbreaking.
Whatever your story is to share, it just has to be:
- true; and
- about something that made you feel – even for a split second – that the world was a wonderland.
I first got this idea of sharing audience-generated stories when I lived in Canada and was introduced to the work of Stuart Maclean of The Vinyl Cafe, who does this often at his shows and I immediately fell in love. Another massive inspiration to me on the power of storytelling is the fantastic work of The Moth. I highly recommend checking out both these links if you’re in need of some inspiration!
The plan is to record these stories at each show, upload them online and then send you the link (hopefully we will have you there in the audience on the night to enjoy it for yourself too, but worst case, you will get a copy of the performance!) plus we’ll send you a little pack of goodies as thanks!
Keen to be part of Wonderland? Email your story here! And please let me know when you write if you’re planning to be at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, or next year’s Adelaide Fringe or Brisbane Comedy Festival. (Note: you do not HAVE to be at any of the above to contribute, but if you are planning to be at any, let me know so that if your story is shared, we can tee it up so you’re in the audience that night!)
Wanna be part of it but just wanna share something short and sweet?
Share a short moment of awesome on my Facebook page or tweet me @jennywynter with hashtag #wonderland
Your post or tweet might be featured during the show too!
Woohoo! Yours in wonderlandish-storysharing,