FAMILY CAN BE A CURSE
Comedian Em Rusciano doesn’t hold back when it comes to the challenges of parenting and the sex appeal of John Farnham
Having the world’s weight on your shoulders is exactly as it seems for comedians, wretched for them just like the rest of us.
The good and bad points of going through life’s joys and struggles are all part of Em Rusciano’s The Motherload, taking audiences through parenting and John Farnham obsessions with a lot of swearing and glitter.
From parenting in the ’80s to her hatred of the Disney film Frozen, the show leaves no stone unturned, no relationship unexamined, no swear word unsworn.
Rusciano says since beginning the tour in January, she had a 100 per cent strike rate when winning the males over – though other audience demographics were all but lost.
“If you’re born between 1975 and 1991 you’ll get everything, otherwise there’ll be vacant stares towards the stage,” she says. “There is a tribute to John Farnham – he defined sexy on the Whispering Jack album cover and I had my hair cut into a mullet.
“And then in life, there are the (expletive) parts of parenting. I love my kids – they can be (expletive) but we all acknowledge that and hold hands at the end of it.”
Describing herself as Ruby Rose “who’s let herself go”, the Melbourne mother-of-two mines family life for songs and stories, and not much is off limits – putting on 40kg during her pregnancies, her daughter’s difficulty switching schools and her other daughter’s teenage rebellion.
Rusciano has a colourful professional life as well as her personal pursuits, with a weekly column at news.com.au and contributions to shows like Studio 10 among her projects.
The prolific writer, comedian, singer, television and radio presenter made a name for herself in 2004 when she auditioned for the second season of Australian Idol, making the final 12 and eventually finishing ninth.
That led to presenting roles on the Southern Cross/ Austereo radio network, and in 2010 Network Ten’s The Project snapped her up.
In 2011 Rusciano decided to try her hand at cabaret and wrote, produced, directed and starred in The Saintly Bitch Sings.
After her show Divorce the Musical was a huge hit at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Rusciano returned to the festival this year with The Motherload and proceeded to sell out 23 performances.
She says her rise in the comedy world is still hard to grasp.
“From a 25-seat room at the Forum to one or two thousand people for shows, it’s amazing,” she says. “You can bomb in a room with 20 people and I think stand-ups who do that are incredible. I need to stay busy so that’s why I do a lot, otherwise the energy I have gets me to destroy things.”
Em Rusciano got her big break on Australian Idol in 2004 and hasn’t stopped performing since.