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
What a time. My eyelids can barely keep themselves up as I type this, so will keep it brief, but just wanted to write and say a huge WISH YOU WERE HERE! I adore travelling and luckily, it turns out, I love doing so by boat. Especially when said boat contains umpteen all-you-can-eat buffets, hot tubs and stops at delicious islands. Oh man. Even when I’ve hit the challenging parts (missing my family terribly, slight bouts of nausea, technical hitches with gigs), I’ve still reminded myself what an insane privilege it is to be paid to do this. Seriously. I am SO GRATEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have learned:
- it’s okay to indulge in the buffet if you commit to taking the stairs at all times. It’s probably less so if you commit to the stair plan, only to back out on day 2.
- when you get off a ship, you still feel like the world is swaying. When does this feeling end?
- the cruise ship scene is highly reminiscent of college. The crew live together, work together, play together, party together…I really cannot understand why nobody has written a sitcom about this yet. Cue lightning bolt of inspiration.
- I can climb a mountain. Even when I think I can’t.
- My kids are made of rainbow dust. BRING THEM TO ME.
One more sleep! Tickets are selling, rehearsals are all but dunzo, the camera guys are getting the set-up sorted for the DVD filming, plus I have set myself a rather insane task of writing a NEW SONG for “An Unexpected Variety Show” today. Yes, I know. Ridiculous. I am. Absolutely ridiculous. I kinda disgust myself. Ugh. But as some of you know, there is one cover song in the show and I have been meaning for ages to replace it with an original, so of course, it is only once the finish line is in sight that I am prompted to get off my butt and write it. I’m not the only one like this am I? Am I? Hmmm….
We had our last Betties rehearsal last night and by golly gosh, what a bunch of fine ladies I have the privilege of working with. Seriously. Love these girls. I can completely screw up the choreography, lose my kazoo, lose myself in my kazoo choreography and they love me still. And I them.
Bottom line, tomorrow night, whatever happens, it is gonna be so much fun. And we will smell like hairspray for weeks.
Kicking off from the ABC Radio studios, where I chatted about this nutty plan and comedy stuff with the lovely Spencer Howson, Friday saw us spend almost 8 hours around the streets of Brisbane with a prammed-up puppet accepting gold coin donations down her gullet.
We were very sensible – I had my back strapped, we factored in lots of breaks for stretching and resting and with the help of fellow comedian Damian Cosgriff, we were supplied at checkpoints with water, snacks and encouragement!
So, how did it go? Well, we got lots of strange looks, met tons of lovely old gentlemen – the most enthusiastic puppet-feeders of them all, it turns out – but…not a ton of cash.
Note to self: in future, don’t try to raise $ by gold coin donations. Unless you have a sizeable team of minions.
But the point is, WE DID IT. And I’m pleased to report that last night we finally passed the $8000 mark thanks to a couple of last minute donations, and with that, I am happy. I have done everything I can. I’m done. Now to move on to my regular schedule of avoiding the vacuum cleaner and shamelessly self promoting.
THIS WEDNESDAY! (Note: I think cabaret seats have sold out already but there are theatre tickets still available). Really hope to see you there and clink champagnes afterwards!
So….not to go all soapie cliffhanger on you, but I have to let you know: I have an incredibly exciting launch coming tomorrow.
Particularly if you have any interest in any of the following:
- “An Unexpected Variety Show”;
- Adelaide Fringe;
- the new show I’m working on at the moment;
- Betty and the Betties;
- parties; and/or
…if you’re into ALL of the above?
You’re about to hit the jackpot baby.
Woodford is coming up faster than my anxiety at getting through the next few months/my life.
But seriously, SOOOOOO thrilled to announce that not only am I coming back to perform all over every corner of this year’s Woodford Folk Festival – truly, it’s a highlight of my year, both in terms of doing gigs and the family being able to come along for the ride (they LURRRRRRVE it!) but…I’m coming with Betty and the Betties! Wooohooooooooo!
This will also mark the debut of my new show, “Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland! Featuring Betty and the Betties.” (Friday 28th Dec, 10.20pm at The Parlour.)
Stoked. Stoked. Stoked.
Now I just have to finish writing it! Up, up and away!
Writing and performing An Unexpected Variety Show has been one of the hardest, most thrilling, painful and exhilarating experiences of my life.
The content of the show itself forms an emotional rollercoaster, so it seems fitting that my own ride performing it, from the insecurity of launching it at the Melbourne Fringe where nobody knew who the heck I was, to the complete out of the blue delight of it winning the Cabaret Award at that same festival, to a rocking season at Adelaide Fringe, to even being accepted into a festival in NYC this year (an opportunity it PAINED me to turn down, chiefly due to finances!) to sharing the show with my daughter in the front row for the very first time, to performing it in front of my brother and sister on the night of my 10th wedding anniversary, to having complete strangers email me with their own incredibly personal and heartbreaking stories saying how it impacted them (AMAZING, SO honoured), to the excruciation of performing the same painful portion of the show night after night after night, has been exactly that.
And it’s that last bit – the pain of performing the show – which has brought me to the decision to put it to bed.
At least for a LONG TIME. And at least for Australia. It would have to take something HUGE (like NYC and actually having the ability to take it there!) to bring it out of retirement.
Those of you who’ve seen it will understand what I’m talking about. When I was writing the show, I knew that I wanted to do something different from just pure comedy. I wanted to do something massively personal, something dark as well as light, something real, something authentically me. And when I first started performing the piece – and people started responding – I was so happy to go there.
But earlier this year it got to a point where I felt like performing this piece was starting to hurt me. I’m specifically talking about the material about my mum and her very sad premature death. It was like going over the same wound night after night after night – OR, I could switch off my emotions to protect myself, only then the performance itself felt disconnected. Do you suffer for your art or does your art make you suffer? Where do you draw the line?
Well, I’m drawing it here. I have started writing my next show – one which I’m already getting ridiculously excited about, it’s going to be massively musical, interactive and SILLY! – and in the name of moving forward, have decided that I want to give An Unexpected Variety Show a fitting farewell in front of a supportive homecrowd, record it onto DVD so that any who wish to see it, still can! That this final Aussie performance will be part of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival at the scrumptious Judith Wright Centre is just a GODSEND. It really is going to be magical.
To all who have supported the show thus far, I want to say a huge thank you. Whether you’ve bought a ticket, facebooked it, tweeted it, reviewed it, told your friends to come see it, messaged me, approached me, or even just sent a positive thought this way, THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Any performer who gets a show up and running on a shoestring knows how bloody all-consuming it is. When I’ve been on the downward spiral on the coaster, these little nuggets of support have totally gotten me through.
I’m so proud of the show. And I will be proud as I wave it goodbye.
Wanna join me?
Tickets here. (Just click on my head on the poster!)
It’s a tough gig this fundraising thing. I am stressed. But trying to breathe. And taking massive comfort in the support of those around me who are jumping on board the mission to help make this happen. Like in life in general I guess, we have to remember in times of overwhelm that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Take for instance this weekend just gone. Saturday morning, the morning after the comedy fundraiser here in Brissie – a cause to which many fabulous comedians I love donated their time to rock the house – I woke up feeling sweaty and panicked. Sweat-icked. Why? Because despite a ton of buzz on facebook, lots of RSVPs, an awesome lineup, some newspaper coverage and other indicators that it would be a near-full house, the audience turn-out to the gig was seriously disappointing. The audience itself, however, was quite the opposite, which was lovely. So supportive, I think almost every single one of them bought raffle tickets during the night and by the end of it we’d all bonded, in no small part due to the presence of an incredible trio of elderly people, including the star of the night, little old lady Peg, who stunned us all by going from “the elephant most likely to be offended in the room”to “the life of the smutty party”when she got up onstage, told a stunningly raunchy joke and then proceeded to share her other crackers with individual tables, liberally dropping the c bomb as I dropped my jaw-bomb.
It was indeed, a classic night. I loved it.
But yes, come Saturday morning, when I counted up our total raised, panic stations. I had planned for this evening to make around $2000, yet we were so far below that I wanted to cry. I nearly did. I wondered why the heck I had even embarked on this mad mission. Oh yes, that’s right. Because I’m a camera ham who cannot say no to an exciting idea. Cue my daughter: “Couldn’t we just clean people’s houses and then donate the money that way?” Two thoughts passed through my head. That of attempting to do over eight thousand dollars worth of cleaning in a week – indeed, a total likely to exceed my cumulative cleaning total of a lifetime – and then, that of the beauty of my girl. Her sweetness in even offering to to do that at all – a thought which made the sloth in me all but convulse – and that more importantly, SHE STILL BELIEVES THIS IS DOABLE.
I put an impassioned lay-it-on-the-line gut-spill on facebook and to my honest shock and delight, people started donating, small bits, large bits (mostly large bits!) and by the end of the weekend, we passed $2500. A quarter of the way there. NEARLY where we would have been at had the comedy night gone according to plan. PLUS several tremendously good people have offered to help out in other ways this week to make this thing happen. I’m still more than a little panicked, truth be told. But I’m hanging in there. My belief is finding its feet again. I AM NOT ALONE.
“”Phew!!!!!!!!”doesn’t even really cut it, as my true emotion is some combination of relief, hope, gratitude and happy dance. And this is only at the quarter mark point. There’s still 7 days – and a whole lotta turf – to cover. (Which, incidentally, if you do have a buck or two to spare, you can do that in two or three clicks here. Either way, whether you support in thought or in dollar, you have my huge gratitude!)
I seriously think at the end of this, if and when I see that fundraising total clip over the $10,000 mark, my reaction is gonna be one of either this:
but most likely this:
I don’t google myself anymore. I don’t search for my name on Twitter. Not because I’m not a self-obsessed narcissist (I am) but because if somebody’s saying something nasty about me online, I’d just rather not know.
Then the other day, while checking out comments on my charity fundraiser photo which a dear friend had kindly shared on her wall, I saw a comment from somebody I don’t know, referring to me: “I didn’t think she was funny.”
Cue me trying my best to fulfil my desire to be one of those cool people who just doesn’t give a hoot what anybody thinks, but you know…I’m just not. Indeed, sometimes I think I’m just too damn sensitive for this whole public performing gig. I mean, come on. In terms of things to say about somebody online, that one is pretty damn tame. And nice, actually, when you consider the way this person even worded it: “I didn’t think…” THANK YOU! Actually acknowledging it for what it is: an opinion.
But yes, point is, reading it still felt like a little jab in my well-padded guts.
Then yesterday, on another friend’s wall, one who again shared the fundraising photo, another comment, again from a stranger, saying: “I love that girl!”
Again, written as an opinion.
So who is right?
Am I funny? Am I not?
They’re both right.
I’m funny to some. Not to others.
And while I’d like to say I’m okay with that – not desperately hoping that I can be THE ONE PERSON IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET WHO HAS APPEALED TO EVERYBODY ALIVE – I’m…working on it.
Insert your own punchline-that-appeals-to-your-comic-sensibility here.
In Adelaide? Please come! You can buy tix which will directly go to my fundraising total by donating here either:
$40 – entry to the entire show and after-party. WOOT! OR
$20 – entry to the after-party only.
Make sure you write “Launch” or “After Party” in the notes of your donation and I will be in touch with your tix.
It’s such a rocking line-up of entertainment, as you can see, would be rocking to see you there to send off me and my fellow TV fundraiser/adventurers on our wacky way.