One half of the hilarious comedy duo bringing their Women Like Us show to the Adelaide Fringe wants you to get to know her a little bit more… Get intimate with Ellen Briggs…
Ellen, your show is called Women LIke Us. What kind of women is that exactly?
Women who are ‘girls’ girls’. Women who can laugh at themselves and how ridiculous we can be. Women that make mistakes and get back up and dust themselves off, re-apply their lippy, have a bitch about how that was someone else’s fault, and that no-one else in the house ever does anything, pick up some groceries, make some school lunches, and just bloody get on with it. You know. That type of woman.
Describe Mandy in five words.
Hilarious, fearless, generous, admirable, dangerous (that last one refers to her driving).
The show has been touted as PRUDE v RUDE. How do you think the combination of your different comedic styles works together?
While we both cover similar topics, but our styles are so different. I really am a bit of prude to be honest, and I’m incredibly old-fashioned, whereas Mandy has this wonderful ability of pushing the envelope so far that there really is no turning back. I love to tell a story, and weave my way in and out of it, and it must have a beginning and ending for me. Mandy might start one thing, and next thing you know, she has you by the hand and you’re running with her head on into something completely different. It’s a really great mix of styles.
What are the challenges of being a regional comedian?
The amount of time I spend in the car. Most work is at least an hour away, often two, to do a 40-minute show. It’s exhausting doing all that driving, but I think the regionality is what makes us interesting. Just living where we live is interesting. I wouldn’t have half my material if I lived in a city!
What about being a woman on the circuit. Do you notice any inherent sexisms along the way?
If I have to travel away overnight for work, I always get asked, ‘What are you doing with the kids?’ My husband is away nine months of the year and I guarantee he has never been asked that question. Some of the intros that I get are pretty off. Like, ‘Wow, you’re in for a treat. Our next comedian is a woman!’ Like they wouldn’t have noticed that I was a woman. Or, ‘This chick has a pretty nice set’. Hilarious, huh? Some people have said I only get some of the gigs I get because I am a woman. I’m not sure how that works because there are actually promoters who have admitted that they don’t like headlining women because they worry people won’t turn up. People have a perception that all we are going to talk about is periods, vaginas, and beat up on men. It’s actually completely the opposite. I don’t even think I have a vagina joke!
What are the daily issues that rock your boat?
I am often exhausted from work and then getting up and getting kids off to school and doing the daily stuff as well. Working nights doesn’t work well with daytime chores. I have an elderly mother who is now alone and needs care. The middle-aged years should be called The Looking After Everyone Else Years. Also critters. I have a lot of critters who have chosen to scare me on a daily basis.
Okay, it’s the dinner party question – if you could invite anyone…
Nelson Mandela – I would love to learn how to be as forgiving and gracious as he. I can hold a grudge like an elephant. All my girlfriends who live interstate – I miss them terribly on a daily basis. Joan Rivers would be interesting because of the path she forged for female comedians – she would have some great stories. The guy who plays the lead role in the TV show Kingdom, and John Mayer. For after dinner.
Your lifetime dream is to…
Get my kids grown up safe and sound and out in the world as functioning human beings then have as many animals as I’d like on my farm without my husband complaining about it. One of everything. Like Noah, but halved.
If you could improve the world by changing just one thing, what would it be?
I’d make cellulite sexy.
What should we expect for your show Adelaide Fringe?
You can expect one hour of hilarious comedy that will have you laughing so hard your sides will hurt. I do the first half hour, then bring on the fabulous Mandy. In fact in one of shows someone laughed so hard she vomited. So maybe you can expect to vomit too. We won’t mind.
When: Wednesday 24 February – Saturday 27 February.
Where: The Store, 157 Melbourne St, Nth Adelaide
Tickets: All tix $25