The Studio, Sydney Opera House
Thursday Feb. 5th
The expectation bubbling in the pre-show chatter before Judith Lucy’s new solo show is palatable. Judith Lucy’s Not Getting Any Younger celebrates her 20 years in the stand-up game, thus well and truly earning the ‘one of Australia’s foremost comedians’ moniker that’s so commonly thrown around. As the lights dim, Judith takes the stage with her typical ‘oh, stop it’ expression the rapturous applause invokes. She peers into the sold-out crowd – well, almost sold-out. “Empty seats on opening night? That’s just fucking fantastic.” We giggle – it’s not a Judith Lucy show unless everything is steeped in self-deprecation and dry honesty, the secret to her consistent accessible success.
Eighty minutes of solo scripted stand-up, the rules of which demand all but a laugh per line, is an exhausting task, but Judith has taken the stage that way nine times. Like many comics, her fodder is real life. Comedians trade in dysfunction and Judith is no exception. Last show I Failed documented her rise and fall in the boys’ game of commercial radio, a show which while commercially and critically successful landed its creator with vaginitis, eczema and an orthotic (hence the sturdy black boots under the sleek strapless dress). Writing a book about her frankly insane family was a way to take time off being on the road, the jaw-droppingly fascinating The Lucy Family Alphabet. As the book became a best-seller, Judith sold her flat, ended a long-term relationship and turned 40. Life became just crazy enough to turn, once again, into art.
This time round we’re looking at the big picture: the generation gap, kids (or lack thereof) and aging – “forty really is the new fucking forty”. Highlights include tales of holidaying in the romantic place in the world, Italy, with her birth mother Jan (despite promised cultural clichés, the only man who hit on her was a dwarf). Having followed Judith’s career for many years, it’ was also interesting to see the perspective getting older brings – what was once embarrassing (say, “horrified” sexual rejection when our lady hits on a younger man) is now accepted with a noncommittal shrug of “least I gave that a go.”
The investigation of the generation gap also comes into play – asking for a raise of hands of Gen Y at one point, I was surprised there weren’t more under 35’s representing: after all, Judith was one of the two female comedians on the ABC’s comedic touchstone for us Y kids, The Late Show. Judith Lucy’s Not Getting Any Younger is highly recommended – like sex and massage, when it comes to comedy it’s worth paying more to be in the hands of a professional.