“Why do comedians always make this sort of program these days? Why can’t they make proper comedies?” a friend of this blog enquired recently. He was talking about Judith Lucy Is All Woman, the latest in a line of personality-led, comedic explorations of a theme (Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven, Myf Warhurst’s Nice, Felicity [Ward]’s Mental Mission). It’s a good point: why are comedians spending their time making pseudo-documentaries? Shouldn’t they be making sitcoms and sketch shows?
But let’s divert slightly from that question and discuss the show itself. Hey guess what? It’s actually pretty funny. Judith Lucy’s spent more than a couple of decades honing that world-weary, sarcy, feminist sage thing, and she’s damn good at it. In fact there’s pretty much no one on the Australian scene who can respond to hecklers, bystanders and anyone fancying themselves quite like Ms Lucy, and even less who are willing to put themselves quite so in to their comedy as to, say, dress up as a man – complete with fake, black penis – and go to the pub to buy a drink, pick up some chicks, and have a slash in the dunny. And then change in to unflattering bike pants and a singlet, and jelly wrestle another woman.
If you’re Judith Lucy that’s nothing, it’s going to bridal outfitters and wedding cake shops that’s the real test. Isn’t it refreshing to see a woman hate on those places? The received opinion is that women love that shit, but fact is lots don’t. Similarly, it’s refreshing to see a bunch of men on TV who aren’t conforming to stereotype, men who are in favour of feminism or not that interested in skulling beer. If you think you know lots of men and women who don’t conform to stereotype and that this isn’t refreshing, fine, but don’t complain to us next time you switch over to the commercial networks and see blokey blokes and feminine ladies everywhere.
Judith Lucy’s All Woman is chock-full of funny moments that’ll make you think – and some that will surprise you. It isn’t a sketch show, or a sitcom, or a “proper comedy”, but it does look at a topic that Judith Lucy’s been getting laughs from since she first sauntered on stage, and it is authentically her. And let’s face it, it’s authenticity – the actual voices of creative people – not shows containing comedy, that’s the real scarcity in TV these days.