MAK­ING THE BEST OF A BAD SIT­U­A­TION

is They stranger say truth than fic­tion – and Michelle Law puts for­ward a strong case for it be­ing much fun­nier, too

ELLE (Australia) - - Women In Comedy -

Michelle Law honed her comedic voice in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. “Hav­ing alope­cia in high school re­ally helped peo­ple look past my ap­pear­ance and want to be friends with me, be­cause I cracked jokes and made them feel at ease.”

Law’s as­tute out­look on life in­forms all her work, and has been a driv­ing force be­hind two of her big­gest per­sonal projects – her play, Sin­gle Asian Fe­male, which just closed its sec­ond hit sea­son, and her semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal se­ries Home­com­ing Queens, stream­ing now on SBS On De­mand. “My friend Chloë was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in her early twen­ties,” she says. “We’d go to par­ties with other peo­ple our age and feel as if we no longer be­longed in that world... We’d sit in Chloë’s car and com­mis­er­ate with each other, wish­ing there was a show that de­picted ex­pe­ri­ences like ours.”

Law is a mas­ter at em­bed­ding real heart into larger-than-life char­ac­ters and chal­leng­ing her au­di­ence’s abil­ity to em­pathise. “I think there’s a way to make any­thing funny, but there needs to be a rea­son be­hind it; [it’s] about hav­ing a sense of em­pa­thy and the per­cep­tive­ness to know when a se­ri­ous thing should be un­der­cut with hu­mour or when a se­ri­ous thing is just a se­ri­ous thing.”

Liv Hew­son, who stars as Chloë in the seven-part se­ries, says that’s what makes Aus­tralian com­edy so great. “When I think of what I love about Aus­tralian com­edy, I think of a healthy mix of the grounded and the ab­surd. I think the best writ­ing plays with lan­guage, sta­tus and ei­ther ridicu­lous char­ac­ters in a grounded sit­u­a­tion or grounded char­ac­ters in a ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion.”

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