It's the age-old question: is it jazz or a bucket of blood? It has divided people even deeper than what colour that dress actually was. Performers Ange Lavoipierre and Jane Watt at least hope to answer the former with their upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival season of Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood. Their hour of absurd humour and quirky perspectives have left audiences around the world - most recently at Edinburgh Fringe Festival - utterly fixated and astounded.
With Lavoipierre's solo show also having an equally eccentric title (Your Mother Chucks Rocks and Shells, and also playing at Melbourne Fringe), she and Watt are certainly displaying a knack for coming up with unique show names, but what comes first, the title or the content? "I don’t think you’re meant to do it like this but I’m only going to write something new after I turn out a title that makes me laugh," Lavoipierre says. "The idea happens quickly and then I say it to a few of the silliest people I know and see if they laugh too, and that’s the entire process."
"We sort of knew that we wanted this to be about us disagreeing about what the show was about (say that forty times fast) and I was in the States at the time studying sketch at Second City in Chicago and I got an email saying that Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood was registered for fringe and I thought “that’s perfect”," Watt tells me.
The two first met during their high school years but it wasn't until over a decade later where they met again and realised the comedic power they possessed as a duo. "We met at school in Bathurst in the central west of NSW, where my mum ran the boarding house that three of Jane’s sisters were in. We didn’t see each other for more than a decade after that until I attended a level one improv course Jane was teaching. I was horrifically depressed and DID NOT COPE AT ALL with the wholesome innocence of it all," Lavoipierre recalls. "I bailed three classes in, but still rocked up to the end of term drinks and started working on Jane to perform with me."
"Yeah, it was hilarious, ten years later I bumped into Ange and said “Holy shit, Ange LP!” because no one could pronounce “Lavoipierre” at our school and her immediate response was, “No-one has called me that in years”," Watt says. "There's a kind of innate shorthand between us, simply because we find each other so funny and have an extensive amount of shared history. This eventually led to a web series we made called Impostors, where we basically played these heightened versions of ourselves. In it, we’re basically useless weirdos but we have each other. We then began talking about doing a live show inspired by the series and spitballed what we liked, and that’s how Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood came about.
"We had a few months to write it but because we were in different countries for most of it, we ultimately pulled it together in a matter of days once Jane was home," Lavoipierre explains. "We’ve been performing it for about a year now, and it really only developed once we started touring it. It’s very much animated by our relationship and what we find funny, rather than a polished script. We love each other and make each other funnier and that’s good glue."
While their humour has been a hit, describing Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood to people has proven to be a bit of a challenge. "People want us to compare it to comedy they’ve already seen, but it’s not really standard sketch or clown or standard anything really," Lavoipierre says. "Once people are in the room though, they seem to get that we’re just being silly with each other, and with them. The feedback we get a lot is that people can tell we genuinely love each other, which helps it make its own kind of sense."
"It's important to be weird and absurd, especially if it brings people joy and makes them laugh," Watt concludes in the most fitting way for this pair of ridiculously entertaining oddballs.
FRINGE FIVE FAST ONES
1) My favourite meal is
Ange: Neapolitan pizza which has been burnt a little.
Jane: Dinner, cos it’s the funnest.
2) A TV show I would like to be cast in is
Ange: Russian Doll because I adore and low key want to be Natasha Lyonne.
Jane: Deadloch - ARE YOU LISTENING KATES?!
3) A little known skill I have is
Ange: Tarot, starting fires and burping on demand.
4) My proudest professional moment is
Ange: There are lots but getting to scurry around stage in front of 300 or so people in a bin bag for an ASMR bit at Reuben Kaye’s variety show last month is up there.
Jane: Performing our spilt bill of standup for the first time.
5) Happiness is
Ange: Laughing so hard at something you or your friends did that it physically hurts.
Jane: inviting people to have a nice time in the house that I built.
Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Season: 4 - 8 October | Wed - Sat 9:45pm, Sun 8:45pm
Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $28.50 Full | $25.0 Concession | Hump Day Discount (Wednesday) $21.38
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
Image Credit: Monica Pronk