Effie’s immaculate conception
“Almost like a marriage in which we’re sleeping in separate beds”
MARY COUSTAS ON EFFIE
If Australian comedy has grown up, it’s only fitting that one of its most boisterous voices, Effie, has grown up too.
A new documentary series,
Stop Laughing … This is Serious, talks to more than an 60 of our finest comedians, dians, including John Clarke, Barry Humphries,es, Jane Turner and Magdada Szubanski, aboutt what makes us such us such a funny nation.
Mary Coustas s has been playing “Greek goddess” Effie since the late ’80s, a time she describes as a golden age.
“Every network had a great comedy show on it, and some had two or three,” she says.
“The ABC had The DGeneration and also the Doug Anthony All Stars. Channel 10 had The Comedy Company and Channel 7 had Fast Forward. You felt like part of a huge movement, we felt like part of a big extended family.
“The hippie in me just loves a friggin’ ensemble.”
If comedians were her family, then Effie was, and still is, Coustas’s other half, albeit with bigger hair and gaudy taste.
“She’s a huge part of my life, almost like a marriage in which we’re sleeping in separate beds,” Coustas says. “It’s a codependent situation, one that neither of us like to admit to.”
Coustas became a mother last year at 49, after a decade of unsuccessful IVF treatments. Now, baby Jamie has quickly became part of the family business.
“You’ve got to understand that for 10 years, my work life was hamstrung by a greater dream, a greater challenge,” she says. “The minute my daughter was born, and I knew everything was fine, I remember thinking, ‘It’s so good, I can go back to work and resume that part of me that had been laying dormant for a very long time.’
“Effie is a virgin, so she had to have an immaculate conception. I milked it as much as I could, comically. And now Effie has had a child, Aphrodite (Affie and Effie). I put a baby bouff-head wig on Jamie, with a sequined onesie.
“Even though I do comedy, I trained as an actor and did theatre, so I was always in ensemble shows.
Now I see myself as more of a comedian because I’ve been doing a stage show as Effie, no set, talking directly to the audience.
“I understand what the drug is now.” STOP LAUGHING ... THIS IS SERIOUS, ABC, WEDNESDAY, 9PM