Aren’t there just so many things out there that annoy the hell out of you? They could be the most trivial things, yet they still get under your skin. Brisbane comedian and columnist Mel Buttle is heading to Melbourne for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to share her woes of such annoying things with the audience who will surely relate to her tales. Milk Bar Magazine got to speak with Mel on her show Up To Pussy’s Bow and what inspires her material.
Who are your comedic heroes?
I suppose they changed as who was in and out of fashion at the time. A consistent one, not in terms of stand up, but I’ve loved Tina Fey, she’s worked the business out really cleverly, so she can have a life and not have to be on screen all the time. She writes for others, and has popped up on Saturday Night Live. If you asked me 5 years ago, I would’ve said Judith Lucy. Tina has played the game smart, she can think if she wants to fly around to perform regularly. Sam Simmons is a real unusual alternative comedian. So they’ve my favourite comedy people.
I see you’re a regular columnist for The Courier in Brisbane that are based on your life experiences. Do you have any favourite ones that stand out?
There was one recently that went absolutely mental about my dad being single, as my parents are divorced. He recently got dumped; he’s 65 and single. I wrote a column selling him; he has his own hair and a jet ski. People went crazy over it, messaging me on Facebook, saying things like, “My mum might want to go out with your dad”. My dad enjoyed the attention to be honest. Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a new 600 word idea, so I think about what Dad’s said over the years. I wrote a column due today about thongs and how much I love to wear them.
You’ve done a lot of work on both television and radio. Which one do you prefer?
I really love radio the best. It’s the best medium. People get really attached to radio presenters, they love you or hate you, they’re strong about it either way. I’ve had jobs at various stations. You can do it from your home and do your job. You really have to be yourself, you have to be yourself. I love it, and I love working with other people. Stand up can be lonely sometimes. I love having a partner to banter with on radio.
How do you feel the Melbourne comedy scene compares to the Brisbane one?
I really love performing in Melbourne. Melbourne has had a comedy festival for 30 years, the audience is familiar with the festival and how to behave and what comedy is. In Brisbane, we haven’t had a comedy fest for long, only 5 years or so. People still think it’s like the ‘80s; people heckle you, buy beer and walk past you. When you do it in Melbourne, it’s beautiful; it’s not in a pub, it’s a properly run festival. Melbourne Town Hall’s rooms are so beautiful. People will give you time to set up an idea, whereas with some Brisbane audiences if they don’t hear “shit” or “fuck”, they won’t stick with you, they get bored.
I saw a video on YouTube that you did a stand up comedy show on a tram in Melbourne. What was that like?
It was really interesting. You can’t just rely on your jokes. You have to work on your feet. People are getting on and off, they wanted to get the tram to work. It was interesting to try to unite people, people will get off once you have won them over. To hold a mic, stand up and perform, it was surreal, an amazing feeling. I tried to work with driver and get him to ding the bell for the punchline. He did it a few times.
Tell me a bit about your new show Up To Pussy’s Bow.
It’s a saying Mum says when she’s fed up or angry. I’ve taken it in that context, so I talk about things that annoyed me this year. I talk about how I got a parking ticket, the politics at dog parks with breeds and dog owners, and hipster cafes. It’s just a collection of stories that I tell, biographical stories. That’s basically what the show’s about, things that people annoyed me and got under my skin.
What can audiences expect from your show?
There’s a treat in the show for the audience. I won’t give it away. I have some jokes about Gumtree. There’s a treat in the show where there’s some live Gumtree that happens. It’s a prize for the audience, a highlight for the show.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Tuesday 22 March 2016