Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Stand-up sees the funny side of life
Interview with Comedian FIONA O’LOUGHLIN
By SHIRLEY BROUN
COMEDIAN Fiona O’Loughlin admits she likes to push the boundaries whenever she performs.“There is always one more story to be told on stage. No one could ever say they have heard every one of them,” she told On with the Show’s Shirley Broun as she prepared for this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival which kicks off on March 26.
This year performers at the comedy festival will be exposing their personal journeys from childhood through to present day and one thing we know for sure is the comedic anecdotes will be laugh-a-minute stories guaranteed to intrigue and delight audiences.
Fiona says she wrote her show `My Brilliant Career’ in record time. “I do most of my writing in my head. I started putting together a heap of stories from my life and it wrote itself in a few minutes. I ended up with about 10 stories but had to cut it back for the show,” she said.
As a test run Fiona performed the show she prepared for the Comedy Festival over a five night season in Perth to rave reviews and now she `can’t wait’ to present it to Melbourne audiences.
Laugh, squirm and be shocked
The popular stand-up comedienne’s show has been described as a journey through her 15-year career in showbiz that will shock you, make you laugh and make you squirm. “To be honest, I think there’s something mentally wrong with me,” she laughs. “I’m telling true stories in this show that are so shocking I had to have a special lie down for three days when I finished writing it.”
According to Fiona, every comedian has a truly unique story to tell. “Personally, I knew early in life that I wanted to make people laugh,” she said. “You know some kids can run and others can jump high. I wasn’t the greatest sportsman or academic but I did have an innate sense of timing which every comedian needs.
“I can remember sitting around the table when I was about 10 years old listening to family members telling stories. I could always tell when someone’s anecdote was going to go belly up. I learned from a young age how a story works and how to tell one effectively. There is almost a rhythm to it.”
Fiona added that to be a comedian it was essential to firstly have a natural ability to be funny. “I don’t think it is something that can be taught. Some of the funniest people I know aren’t comedians.”
“Once you have that all you need to do is learn the craft and make it look effortless.”
Success doesn’t happen overnight
Fiona said it doesn’t always happen overnight either. “It took me eight years to transport my dinner party self to the stage,” she laughed.
Perhaps distance played a part in preparing her for the stage too because when the vivacious performer first decided to pursue her love for comedy she was a mum with five small children (now aged 16 to 27) living in Alice Springs. “I was living in a remote part of the country and setting my sights on what is primarily an urban craft so one of my first challenges was to learn what I needed to know very quickly.”
As a result, Fiona became a regular coach traveler between the Northern Territory and Melbourne and says while the trips were long the journey and her home base gave her a unique point-of-interest on which to base her scripts. “There were so many stories to tell like the fact that we didn’t have commercial television up there for many years and what we did instead … the mind boggles.”
Over the years the talented comedian who moved to Melbourne two years ago has built up a strong following based on her voice, presentation and content which are uniquely Fiona O’Loughlin.
Stand-up comedy first love
While admitting her first love is stand-up comedy the popular performer has also developed a strong television following through appearances on shows such as the ABC’s Spicks and Specks and Rove Live. “TV helps build your profile so more people will come to the live shows,” she said.
Fiona has also headlined at the Edinburgh Fringe festival and appeared in a series of Heinz soup commercials. Her performances during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival begin on March 31 and conclude on April 14. Don’t miss her live on stage!Tweet