Batman was walking down the street as I parked outside the Northsider Birthday bash venue.
I hadn’t been to Rubix Funhouse before, so I took it all in: the graffiti, the bar, the lighting, the very cold concrete floor and the eclectic crowd, complete with a month old baby and a collie dog.
I chatted to a few people in the crowd: a greens candidate, a lady who works for an online music company, an Irish lady, with the kind of accent I could listen too all night, I smiled at Batman and wondered if I too should have worn my knickers over my pants for the party. I also spoke with Joel, the Northsider editor in chief. Joel looked dapper in his bow tie, we spoke briefly, then I stood to one side, hogging the heat lamp.
I had worked on the set I was going to do for some weeks. It would be a mix of Northern corridor humor, a joke aimed at the plethora of hairy faced young men strutting the streets of North Fitzoy. There would be plenty of jokes about my Northern suburban idiosyncratic ways: my non threatening footwear, because I work in the not for profit sector, my penchant for quoting Radio National and a joke about living in Preston: ‘Which is a hole surrounded by traffic and filled with good people.’
I’ve been doing comedy since 2006. The comedy catalyst was the birth of my second child, Jess. When I went into labour with Jess, my husband gave me a look that could only mean one thing: ‘I’m too pissed you’ll have to drive yourself to hospital.’
Since then I’ve done 8 Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows, gigs at book launches, conferences and have MC’d lots of local government and not for profit events. I blog about comedy and I’ll talk to anyone who will listen to me about the virtues of doing stand up: how it has liberated me, how it connects people, how it has saved my marriage and changed the way I see the world.
So I did my set for the Northsider Birthday bash. I knew that I hadn’t quite nailed the ending, I should have stopped at: Epping is the new docklands what with climate change and all. But I wasn’t quite on keel that night. Instead I finished the set with an old joke about audiences, bricks and renovations.
Then the very understated Dane Certificate did his magic. I don’t know how, but he did and it was amazing. Joel and Marianne started to give their speeches, just as the call I had been waiting for finally came through.
It was my brother in law, my sister had just given birth to her first child, a girl.
I was so relieved. It had been a long journey, not just the birth, but the whole getting pregnant bit too.
Maybe I should have opened the set with: I’m one of seven sisters, from 5 different marriages and my sister is about to birth another girl.
I left Rubix crying with joy, I spoke to my sister briefly. ‘The birth, it’s just like a rave party yeh?
Full of e’s, episiotomy, epidural, exhausting.’
I drove home feeling elated, comedy can make me fell like that sometimes, so too, I was reminded that night, can birth.