This month we are celebrating feminist comedy with our ‘April Fools’ series, featuring kickass Kiwi comedians. First up is author, columnist, presenter, sports enthusiast and alleged DIY expert, Urzila Carlson.
At a party, are you the person dancing on the table tops or the one sitting in the corner wishing you were at home watching Netflix?
I'm the Netflix one but I'm still on the table. I think you can be both and I think most people are. Once you’ve talked yourself ‘into’ actually going to the table, you can be a social butterfly, even though you’d rather just be home.
In your opinion, what makes a great comedian?
Approachability and relateability. What makes you a funny comedian is to talk to people about what affects all of them.
What’s your favourite joke? Could you tell it for us?
I don't really know jokes. I'm a storyteller but I do have two GO TO jokes for occasions such as these:
a) Why does the Queen never wave with this had? *Waves with right hand.* Because it’s my hand!
b) A lady gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says, “that’s the ugliest baby I have EVER seen!” The lady pays her money and walks to the back of the bus. She sits down, and the lady next to her can see she’s upset about something. She asks if she’s ok, and the lady says, “the bus driver was just incredibly rude to me!” The other lady says, “you cannot, you should not allow that, you need to stick up for yourself! You should go up there and go tell him how you feel! Go on, I’ll hold your monkey!”
What does ‘feminist comedy’ look like to you?
Anyone who won't tolerate bullshit. Or a line up that does not include a woman because she realised she was getting paid less than the guys on the bill and walked out the door!
What would you say to a comedian who had just made a rape joke?
That better be your own hilarious rape story or it better be a joke and at the end of it you can educate the crowd. If it wasn't one of those two things, you just alienated more than half of your audience. It’s too risky and why would you talk about something that could potentially be one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a human being?! Steer clear I say.
Is it ever OK to make a sexist or racist joke?
If it’s possible to educate at the end then do it, but if it’s just for a chuckle, well I wouldn't.
What would you say to people who say women aren’t funny?
I would just say: Bridesmaids. (Then I'd walk away from them because clearly they aren't my people.)
What advice would you give to young people who want pursue a career in comedy?
Do it, never question yourself or put it off, just do it. You don’t want to look back in 20 years and regret not going for it, but I would say the same for any career, it’s never too late to change over or go for your dreams.
Urzila Carlson is performing as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Details about her show Studies Have Shown can be found here.