Making people laugh has been Monica Dullard’s goal since her teens, having grown up watching comedians such as Phyllis Diller, Dave Allen and Lily Tomlin.
Visit Monica Dullard's website: www.monicadullard.com.au
Read her Performer Profile.
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Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020
Hello and welcome to the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined in 2020. We’re here with the one and only, Monica Dullard. Monica, where are you this morning?
Hello, I’m in my kitchen in Carlton. Carlton, as they say. Here I am and the camera is in the sink. They’re digging a trench just outside the window. So that someone’s on the jackhammer, going ra-ra-ra-ra. That’s what you can hear.
And, Monica, you’re a lover of words and story. How did that lead you to comedy?
Well, comedy – I started off, in year 9, I said to my teacher I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. He didn’t know what that was. Great feedback. So, from there, I just weaved my way through drama and went to London and did some stuff there and then came back. Linda Gibson helped me get my first gig and Brian Nankervis because they had a Sunday night gig at The Universal in Fitzroy. So, I did 5 minutes and it went really well. They laughed a lot, which I thought, oh my God and then I remember riding home the whole way home back to North Carlton with no hands before and I’ve never ridden a bike with no hands before. So, I knew then, this was it. I was right.
Monica, would you say that interaction between your words and the audience is what nourishes you the most in your comedy career?
Yes, it does. I read a lot, write a lot, talk to people all the time and I’m just always observing people on the tram and just – you know, something they might say, I go, oh yeah, I can make that so into a tiny thing like I’ve taken my Mum to Centrelink, which was a whole big story that the seniors just love because it’s all about going there and how you get treated. Otherwise, in the library, I do story time for the little ones, you know, from 0 to 6 and, like they say, Monica, how are you and they love seeing me. I love seeing them, so that connection all the way through with stories.
Monica, in terms of the development and the growth of women in comedy. Where do you see the future for that?
Often found that the audience was actually relieved to have a different perspective. We’ve hung in there. It’s getting better and better to get different voices, diversity. You know I do a lot of stuff about being a lesbian, which is fantastic, and all the lesbians think, thank God, somebody’s mentioned us, you know. So, I think it’s important to tell your own stories.
And, now, for our very first kitchen stand-up. It’s festival favourite, ageing with attitude, it’s Monica Dullard!
I’m trying to age with attitude but, you know, I don’t have any super. I mean, who does? Women don’t have any super. None of us do, so I decided I better write to the government and try and find my unclaimed super. Anyway, wrote back, heard nothing for ages and then a big envelope came in the mail and, on the outside, it was in big blue font, ‘Monica, we found your unclaimed super’. I couldn’t believe it! Opened up the envelope, see what’s in there. You won’t believe it. It was $7.52 – yes, I know! So, I just don’t know what to do. So, I just thought I’d ask you all out there for some financial advice, just so it can help me through. Do you think I should roll it over? Nah! No, you’re right. Nah, don’t worry about it.
Because you know what? I didn’t and I thought, instead of that rolling it over, I needed a bra. I’ve needed a bra for about 12 years but I thought I’m going to get a proper bra, put that money towards it and I’m going to go to a bra fitter. So, I went to the shop, up the 3 escalators and there she was, waiting for me at the top of the escalator. When I came up, she just took one look at me and said ‘oh darling, oh God, darling, the girls are right down here, darling. They’re supposed to be on high beam, darling but they’re actually on low beam. I mean, they’re so far down, I think they’re actually on parkers. They’re swinging around down near your legs, dear. Oh God, we’ve got to bring those up. We got to hoist them up. Got to hoist them up, like a clothes horse. Just hoist them up …’. You know, like, she was right, really. I know she was actually right. So, she took me into the bra fitting room and it was amazing because you know when you go get your car serviced at the mechanics. They have this painted line around the mechanic shop and that’s where they test whether your lights are on high beam or low beam. Well, she’s painted a line, the same as that, in her bra fitting shop and she gets behind you and she can tell whether you’re on high beam or not. ‘Bring them up. Bring them up, darling. Bring them up a bit more. Hoist them up, hoist them up’. Sort of like the clothes line in the back yard. ‘Hoist them up’. And, they were so far up; they were right up here. They were on high beam. In fact, they were – and then she hoisted them again and they were so far up, they were like spot lights right here. Oh, it was amazing. I went out of that bra shop, like ‘yo wo’, they were amazing.
So, pretty happy with myself but, anyway, so, you know what? Being a baby boomer, we are the next generation to get old and, look, we don’t want to go – we don’t want to have aged care like it is now. We don’t want to have beige walls and beige furniture and beige food. Hell no. We want a lap pool – what else do we want? 3 hat chef, we want wine, we want kale. Do we want kale? Nah! Nah, we don’t want kale. We don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to cook it. No, we want – what else do we want? We want – we want things to be white, things fun, we want music like The Stones and Led Zeppelin. We can do those flossing all day long in our exercise classes and, you know what? Because you know, otherwise, we’ll be doing chair-based exercises like they do now. Just, you know, that’s difficult – two together. God, we don’t want that, do we?
So, anyway, gosh. You can imagine when we – in 20 years’ time, when we’re in aged care, there’ll be, you know, robots looking after us and, apparently, they’re building them all now and they’re all men. So, they won’t know how to put our bras on. They’ll put them on back to front. Oh, God, what’s it going to be like? Anyway, my Mum at the moment. She’s 94 and she’s at an aged care and she calls it prison but anyway, she does some activities at the moment. They’re doing some activities in craft to make some activewear for chair-based exercises. So, just to give you an idea what she’s doing – this is a - and what she uses. This is a 5 litre pad that Mum has on. It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s called Discreet and you could drive across Nullarbor with one of these on and you wouldn’t even have to stop. You can get the 10 litre version if you’re going round Australia and the other one she’s got – she’s got here – this is what she’s made in activewear. Look, she’s put some sequins on the front and still a 5 litre and she’s just going well. She just hops in the chair, does that – oh, she’s marvellous. Do we want that when we grow old? No! we do not but in the meantime, I’ve borrowed it off her. So, there you go. I’ve got to get to my chair-based exercises. The gym’s shut so I’m just making it myself at home. See you later.
Once again, for the Victorian Seniors Festival, Monica. Thank you so much. It was great to be in your kitchen.
Thanks, Bec. Great, thanks so much for having me.