Everything’s Coming Up Roses
One more female comic is here and smashing the patriarchy at Adelaide Fringe 2023. This time it is Tania Lacy who has been famous, as well as just a little infamous, since the 90s after stints on Countdown Revolution and The Factory. Greeting the audience by saying that everything is “pretty good” for her at the moment Lacy reminds us that happy endings don’t usually make for great comedy - or do they? Fortunately in this case, they do.
After thirty years’ experience on television, writing her own material, penning children’s books, writing and starring in short films (Titsiana Booberini, Pussy Got Your Tongue, Jesus is Lord), and so much more, Lacy is back on stage using her own vivid experiences to make us laugh. This was a totally appropriate gig to attend on International Women’s Day as we heard how this woman has overcome so much. Lacy tells with disarming honesty about addiction, abuse and bullying, not to mention tales of menopause in all its ‘glory’ and the terrors of a Brazilian wax. We also had a peek into the world of ‘clown porn’ (totally made up, I think - though I won’t be investigating further!) and some startling impressions of Australian birds’ weird ‘bad language’ compared to the sweet, soothing trilling of European species. The subjects in Lacy’s sharply written stand-up routine were wide-ranging but the segues were priceless.
With her piercing gaze and great audience rapport, Lacy is a skilled communicator. There is so much to identify with in her tales of Covid lockdown, which for their family meant six months in a small apartment in Berlin. Even if you aren’t a parent, the way two adults and a teen son had to negotiate their lives in that situation is both funny and relatable. As much as Lacy parodied various facets of German-ness, her own imperfections were also on the table. Much of the comedy was around the aspects of an older woman’s body, with some side-splitting ‘actions’ to illustrate various moments.
Another highlight, which was kind of the happy ending, concerned the story of how she came to be working with Kylie Minogue on the Locomotion video clip. This all culminated in a fabulous demonstration of that choreography and huge audience appreciation. Whether disparaging herself, fiercely commentating on broader social issues, or revealing painful events, Lacy masterfully loops us back to the point and hilarity ensues.
In one segment of a brilliant article by Jane Gazzo in the September 2022 issue of Rolling Stone, Lacy lets fly with even more detail on the hideous treatment she has received from television executives and male comics. Her entertaining and hilarious stories are a stark reminder that misogyny, and gender and power imbalance is still to be addressed. The grief and bitterness was evident behind Lacy’s comic jibes but so was her fierce strength and perseverance, inspiringly so.