No laugh­ing mat­ter

Cal Wil­son talks about dis­rupt­ing the boys’ club of com­edy, the ex­plo­sive suc­cess of her friend Han­nah Gadsby and her omi­nous con­nec­tion to Eury­dice Dixon’s mur­der

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Pho­tog­ra­phy DAVE WHEELER Styling IRENE TSOLAKAS In­ter­view SASKIA TILLERS

Stand-up com­edy has never been a ca­reer for the faint-hearted. A thick skin and sharp tongue are vi­tal ap­pendages for any­one try­ing their hand at a pro­fes­sion where ag­gres­sive heck­ling is par for the course. So it’s un­der­stand­able that af­ter more than two decades in the in­dus­try, Cal Wil­son is as bul­let­proof as they come – not that this was al­ways the case. “Es­sen­tially what you’re do­ing when you stand on­stage and talk about your­self is say­ing, ‘Please ac­cept me and love me,’” Wil­son tells Stel­lar. “And if peo­ple don’t, you have to learn to go ‘OK, well ac­tu­ally that doesn’t mat­ter. This is the truth that I want to tell.’”

For 48-year-old Wil­son, the fact that she also had to break through com­edy’s glass ceil­ing made her swift rise to fame school teacher,” she says. “And the mum of one of the kids in his class de­scribed her daugh­ter as a gifted un­der­achiever, which I just thought was bril­liant. It’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card! So [ the show is about] me reach­ing my 40s and re­al­is­ing I still haven’t fig­ured out how to do all these things prop­erly.”

Un­per­turbed by naysay­ers claim­ing women aren’t as funny as men, Wil­son’s favourite motto stems from fel­low Mel­bourne-based co­me­dian Milly Thomas: “The ques­tion isn’t ‘Why aren’t women funny?’ The ques­tion is ‘Why don’t you find women funny?’”

Wil­son sighs. “It’s just that some peo­ple have a learnt re­sis­tance to find­ing things that women say of in­ter­est,” she says. “And the more out­spo­ken you are, the more peo­ple are an­noyed by that. There’s def­i­nitely gen­dered ha­rass­ment that you don’t get as a man. You don’t get your phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance com­mented on in the same way, or get phys­i­cal threats to you in the same way that women

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