Tuesday 20 March 2018

Worth It - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

One of Canada's finest comics is returning to Melbourne for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. After wowing audiences last year with Post-Joke Era, DeAnne Smith's new show Worth It, will be "a post-industrial, consumer-based, sustainable comedy show for the new economy", or will it?

"Expect the unexpected! I wrote that description long before I had actually written the show, which is usually how these things go," Smith tells me. "Turns out, this show centres on the time I was trapped in a room with an angry pitbull outside the door. (That may or may not be a metaphor for anxiety, and is also completely true.) With me, you can always expect tons of laughs, spontaneity, silliness, and - I have to say it - damn good jokes."

Smith has become a somewhat veteran of the Festival circuit, having performed here a number of years. So what is it that keeps bringing her back to Melbourne? "The coffee! The beards! The fashionable ladies!" she laughs. "But for real, MICF is a three-week joyride of world-class comedy. I love seeing what other comedians are up to, and at this point, I have so many friends and fans in Melbourne, I couldn't not come back!"

In July 2017, Smith became a viral sensation when her "Straight Men, Step Your Game Up" act was uploaded on to Facebook, and started clocking up the views. Since its upload, it has been watched a phenomenal 47 million times! 
"I was very pleased when that bit went so viral, but I wasn't really surprised. It always did really well in the rooms, and we're at a cultural tipping point when the general public is tired of the same perspective on things, which has tended to be overwhelmingly white, straight, and male," she explains. "Women, especially, are looking for comedy that speaks to them. I don't necessarily feel any MORE pressure to be relevant and say things that challenge people (while others completely relate) because I've always put that pressure on myself. I always consider what I'm saying and why I'm saying it."

With this in mind, does she see longevity in this career or is there an end date to when she just runs out of things to say? "What I love about comedy is the ability to be a part of the cultural conversation. As long as we're all still here, I can't imagine not having things to say," Smith says. "Are you trying to edge me out? Are you saying you don't think I'm gonna last in this game? The hardest thing about being a comedian is being UNDERMINED BY INTERVIEWERS, MYRON."

Once can't end a conversation with Smith without mention of her eclectic bow tie collection, seen on numerous occasions at last year's Festival. "I had been in a pretty serious bow tie phase for a while! My favorite is a simple wooden one, because it matches everything. But this year, I don't think you're going to see too many bow ties on me. I'm all about evolution, maaaan."


1. My favourite board game is
Cosmic Encounter because it's different every time, depending on which character you are. (Did you expect me to be a board game nerd? I am!) 

2. Which movie would you like to see turned into a musical and why?
Black Panther! I can in no way imagine what that would look like, but I bet it would break all kinds of records. 

3. Which one person would you love to come to your show and why?
You! Whoever is reading this right now! 

4. I will try to keep sane during MICF by remembering how lucky I am that I get to connect with people for a living. That, and take my meds. :)

5. Why did the chicken cross the road?
Ugh, probably to get away from some rooster chicken-calling her.


Greek Centre, 168 Londsdale St, Melbourne.
Season: 29 March - 22 April | Tues - Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm 
Length: 60 minutes 
Tickets: $25 - $30 Full | $25 Conc (Wed-Thurs, Sun), Tightarse Tuesday, Preview
Bookings: MICF website

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