Brace yourself Adelaide! Standup comedian Urzila Carlson is back in town for only two performances, and this time…..It’s Personal.
Ahead of her show this Friday May 20 and Saturday May 21, I caught up with Urzila to chat about the show, her career and how it all started for her right here in little old Adelaide.
“I used to work in Advertising in Auckland, and one of my friends, who was a copywriter, told me I had to go and do stand up. He booked it in for me as a joke guest and I did this open mic night. As soon as I started, I found I actually enjoyed it. I’d heard of this thing called the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and I just assumed that all comedians do that – they just do festivals. So, I booked a short spot. So, it all really started for me in Adelaide. I did a 20-minute spot in a show in 2009 and then booked into as many other shows as I could, and by the end of the month I had 40 minutes of material. Then I went over to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, but I kept coming back to Adelaide for the next several years with solo shows. A lot of the work I get now is from people seeing me all those years ago in Adelaide. So, what started as a dare in Auckland became something bigger in Adelaide.”
Since 2009, Urzila’s career has gone from strength to strength. Published books, solo standup shows around the world, TV appearances, Netflix specials……her list of achievements reads like a dream job. Does she still pinch herself over everything?
“Absolutely. Every time I walk out on stage at a venue, I still can’t believe that people are coming to see me. It’s such a bizarre feeling knowing people are coming out, spending their hard-earned cash to come and have a laugh with me. I am always blown away with it. I was in a book shop a few years ago when my book had first come out and there was this lady sitting there, easily in her late 80s. I thought she was someone’s mum who was just sitting around waiting for their adult daughter. Anyway, I had done my book reading in this store and she came over to me after and said to me, “Fettuccine F*@k Up”. I was quite shocked and couldn’t work out what she was going on about. Then it clicked; I was once on a TV show and I spoke about this road in the city called Spaghetti Junction where all these roads crossed each other. But there was a new road that was out in the bogan area where I live that is even more confusing and I called it Fettuccine F*@k Up. She told me that every time she drives through there, she thinks of me. We had a great chat and I discovered that she followed my career and would watch everything I was on. It was just amazing that this older woman was so interested in my career and came out of her way to see me launch a book. It reminded me how comedy reaches all people from all walks of life.”
I was very keen to find out from Urzila where all of her witty stories come from. Does she source the material, or does the material source her?
“It’s a bit of a combination. I’m very much a storyteller. I love to sit in the mall with an iced coffee and observe people for hours. I love doing that. Also, things that happen in my life. I was telling a friend the other day that at my thirtieth birthday we were discussing who is the oldest person we’ve pashed. I accidentally pashed a 96 year old right on her dentures when I was thirty because I was sitting next to her talking and I went to give her a peck on the cheek goodbye and our heads turned weirdly and I accidentally kissed her right on her dentures. In the quiet moments I still sometimes reflect on what that actually felt like. My lips on her cold, plastic teeth. It was the most bizarre moment.”
Urzila’s new show, It’s Personal, will be hitting the Thebarton Theatre stage at 7.30pm this Friday (May 20) and Saturday (May 21).
“This show is eighty minutes of us all having a laugh together. We are all going to have a good time. I share some personal stories of things that have happened to me during the pandemic but also my thoughts. The average person doesn’t usually share their thoughts out loud…..but I do. Honestly, I’ve had so much fun with this show, and the different things people take away from it are absolutely hilarious.”
Tickets to Urzila’s show can be purchased through https://urzilacarlson.com/ .
However, she does send a warning to the state, especially her beloved Haigh’s Chocolates….
“Because of all the lockdowns and things changing in Melbourne, my favourite Haigh’s Chocolate shop that was there has gone. So, your Adelaide stores better be ready for me. I’m going to start at one store and eat my way through it, and then I’ll move up the mall and have a Vilis’ pie to break up the sugar, then I’ll hit that second [Haigh’s] store.”
Interview by Ben Stefanoff