NOSTALGIA: A sentimental longing for the past.
Decades long gone, lost weekends, old friends, or just that memory of a simpler time. How is it invoked? Instagramming our IPhone photos, wearing vintage clothes, listening to The Beatles on original vinyl, or even reinvigorating classic phrases such as “I doff my cap to you sir”.
With this in mind, and nostalgia cap in hand, let us take a trip that starts in Australia in the 1990s and ends in London in the present day with an 8am early Monday morning wakeup call from none other than the Queen of Australian comedy herself: Judith Lucy.
After confessing to her that I am just in fact waking up, Judith tells me that she is on her third glass of red with Denise Scott. Lucky for me then we’re on about the same wavelength. She also assures me that she is “a muse to many a man”. Fingers crossed therefore, she’ll inspire some of my best work.
The dry but charming wit that has become synonymous with Judith’s act over the last 20 years is immediately apparent over the course of our call, which quickly takes on the attributes of a personal 20 minute comedy routine for my pleasure alone.
I am instantly taken back to a childhood of Lucy’s antics with the D-Generation crew on The Late Show. Getting up to all sorts of no good, and downright fun, with Mick Molloy, Tony Martin and the rest of the gang.
Though Lucy came to Australia’s attention through some great team driven sketch comedy, it was through her early one-woman shows that we first got the taste of the comedic stylings of Judith herself.
When asked of the appeal of playing solo as opposed to a group, Judith told Australian Times:
“It was always the idea to start up solo. To be honest, no one likes me. Working with the D-Generation and Tony and Mick was fun, and the big plus was a weekly pay check.”
Although not driven by the money, Judith admits that she is still baffled by comedy and how she’s managed to make a living off it for so long.
“In the 90s it wasn’t a real job, it was just for fun. Nowadays it’s considered a real job.
“People these days do it to become famous, but back then we just did it as a ridiculous way to make a living. And it’s STILL a ridiculous way to make a living.”
Judith’s early ambitions were to be an actress rather then a comic. Films like Crackerjack and Bad Eggs from the brains of Martin and Molloy have let her try her hand at acting, and shown a comedic talent that translates into film as well as stage.
It is a talent that continues to be recognized, with a recent role as Merle, a racist pub owner, in Aussie film The Sapphires which has opened to rave reviews here in the UK.
Commenting on the experience, Judith says: “Well, you know, when you think of a racist 55 year-old woman you automatically think of me! But it was fun, I got to play a character, and that beehive is all natural.”
Acknowledging the acting is fun, it is the stand-up comedy where Judith still finds herself night after night. I can see why – after even a brief conversation with Judith I get the feeling that being funny is just naturally written into her DNA.
“Life has changed a lot in the years since I’ve started, but I’ve enjoyed exploiting my personal life for a quick buck. I’m very open about everything from finding out I was adopted at 25 to paying a male escort for sex.”
This is true, she hides nothing from her audience. And audiences here will soon get the opportunity to see it for ourselves as Judith is London-bound at the end of November to show English crowds (and Aussie fans) what she’s made of.
Judith claims she feels comfortable performing to an English crowd: “Aussies and English are mostly the same, we all have the same sense of humour.”
But back to acting for a moment – it’s surely only a matter of time before the likes of Spielberg or Lucas get onboard the Judith Lucy story. Who would Judith cast to play herself in the story of her life?
“Well, I have always been compared to a young Elizabeth Taylor, but for the early days you can’t look past Anne Hathaway, and for the older me – Catherine Zeta-Jones. But you know what, I think Ryan Gosling in a wig. I may have to coach him, give him a lot of advice, I may even sleep with him.”
Now, there’s an image to kick start my day with. Thanks Judith.
Judith Lucy’s show, Nothing Fancy, will be playing at Soho Theatre from Monday 19 November — Saturday 1 December. No singing, no dancing, just gags about everything from meditation to beards. Go to www.sohotheatre.com for information and tickets.