When it comes to the Australian comedy scene, Felicity Ward is no stranger. After being nominated for or winning all Australian comedy awards in 2012, Felicity hits Australian stages this year for a mere 3 shows. Returning to Aus with her new show “The Iceberg” ahead of the Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Felicity spoke to us about her fame in the UK, her documentary Felicity’s Mental Mission and her new show “The Iceberg.”
Where and when was your first gig?
Kindergarten Stranger Danger awareness day, 1985. I killed. Really knew my audience. Good local material. Got a lot of repeat bookings too.
How have your shows changed since then? Are they all similarly based?
I hope so. I couldn’t read in 1985.
How did The Iceberg come about?
“Terrible questions to ask Titanic passengers-“ Sorry, I thought that was a Jeopardy warm-up round.
How long did it take you to create the show?
Fecking aaages- Let’s just say that 20minutes of the show came to me one afternoon in London, only a month before the previews, but I couldn’t test it because I was going to the US beforehand, and the material was cricket related. So I then compiled the show in a sad hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri, constructed the show in Wil Anderson’s loungeroom in LA, before performing for the first time in Melbourne a week later. Never again.
How is The Iceberg different to other shows you’ve performed?
I’ve never written political material before so that’s new. Let’s just say I was inspired by our current “Minister for Women.”
Whats the Best crowd reaction you’ve had?
Someone emailed me to tell me that they dislocated their jaw, laughing, during one of my shows. For a boa constrictor that’s just a Tuesday, but for a human being that’s an achievement.
Whats the weirdest thing you’ve seen happen in a crowd? (whether it be at one of your shows or another!)
Someone threw a biscuit at me at a late night gig. I was hungry, so I ate it.
How do you come up with your material? Do you get it from observation, life experience, etc?
I wait for the comedy gods to send me jokes. Sometimes the suspense is terrifying. In the meantime I write down any thought I have and hope that it blossoms into something I can say on stage one day for money.
Who are your comedy idols?
I don’t really idolise many comedians. Probably Maria Bamford. Then there are about 40,000 more who I love and admire and am inspired by.
What type of music do you enjoy listening to?
I listen to anything that I can sing into the bathroom mirror, whether that be knees up Ska music, or a balls-to-the-wall rock anthem. Stevie Wonder. Madness. Bjork. Toots & The Maytals. Jen Cloher. Rudimental. Cloud Control. The Clash. Queen. SBTRKT. All kinds o’shit I suppose.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I just got Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Tastes. I don’t know why she isn’t the biggest artist on the planet, although she kind of explained that in a recent Hot97 interview.
Are there any new comedians we should look out for in 2015?
I know that Demi Lardner and the boys from Aunty Donna were just killing it during Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but I’ve been away from Oz for a bit. Can’t wait to sniff around while I’m back.
What are you most excited about returning to Australia?
This is so daggy, but seeing my family. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without seeing my sister before. Not cool. Oh, and Mint Slices.
Favourite UK cliché/slang you have come to know and love?
I love “do one” as an insult.
How is the UK different to Aussie crowds?
It doesn’t come down to a country or a city, it comes down to the people who are in the room. Sometimes people are right on your wavelength, and sometimes people are trying to contact immigration to deport you.
How was it creating Felicity’s Mental mission?
It was intense to say the least. In the 2 ½ months I was in Oz, I did 4 festivals back-to-back, filmed the documentary (which involved flying in a stunt plane) and had to do publicity for both. I don’t regret any of it, but I can tell you this for free, it did nothing for my anxiety disorder.
Has that work inspired you for your upcoming show?
I’m writing the new show as we speak which is all about my anxiety and mental illness…so there’s a lot of work to make it funny as hell. But Adelaide’s getting The Iceberg which is has been toured into shape, so you’ll just have to wait for the next one to see me talk about my crazy…
Check out The Iceberg at:
ADELAIDE FRINGE 2015
23 Feb to 1 Mar, 7.15pm @ Studio 7, Garden of Unearthly Delights, Fri/Sat $35, Weds/Thurs/Sun $32 ($28), Cheap Tues $28, Preview- Mon $25
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Thu 5 Mar, 7.30pm @ The Athenaeum Theatre, $36 (conc $32)
Fri 6 Mar, 7pm @ The Comedy Store, $27.50 – $32.00 + BF
Check out Felicity Wards Mental Mission standup here: