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ladies of comedy: rose callaghan

Image: Rose Callaghan

Image: Rose Callaghan


Melbourne born and bred, Rose Callaghan is a woman of many talents: writer, comedian, sometime DJ and inventor of the #goslingwatch hashtag on twitter.

This year Callaghan will treat Melbourne International Comedy Festival goers with her show ‘Rose Callaghan and mates’. In between sharing stories about her ‘stupid’ life and ‘generally ridiculing herself’, Callaghan with introduce her lucky audience to some wonderful comedians who have worked on TV, radio and podcasts.

Comedian or Comedienne?

What do you like about stand-up comedy compared to other styles?
It’s very challenging. You can come up with an idea that you think is funny, or you’re pretty confident is funny, but you really have no idea until you try it out in front of a crowd. And then you can find out in the most brutal way possible that you were wrong. SO WRONG. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, you can still die on stage. No one is infallible in stand-up. But when you get it right, the pay-off is so good.

In key words, how would you describe your show to someone who’s never heard of it before?
A sassy newcomer to the stand-up comedy world and her famous comedian friends who she talked into coming on her show. Heaps famous comedians for cheap! Low dollars, maximum Lollers! (Wow I really can’t be trusted to promote my show).

Can you give us any sneaky little hints as to who we can expect to see on your show?
Let’s just say Luke McGregor, Spicks and Specks host Josh Earl, other famous comics off TV and radio. Oh wait that’s exactly who is on my show. There are also some secret guests. It’s going to be so great. It’s an early show with a fun different line-up every night so it’s a good one to kick off your evening and get a little taste of different comics. If you love them you can go and see their solo shows.

On the MICF website, you have listed a couple of charming little quotes by supporters of the hip-hop community whom you have presumably angered, can we hear a little more about that?
Mid year last year I participated in a thing called Debate Night on triple j. The topic I was given was “Aussie hip hop is the best hip hop” and you can imagine my glee when they told me my challenge was to argue AGAINST the topic. Look, I said some things. I guess you could say I was a little harsh, but that’s kind of the point.

An excerpt:

“US hip hop isn’t relatable?? Good!! Anything that can distract me from my sad existence is fine with me! If you’re an ugly dude stuck in a dead end job, living with your parents and not much going for you, do you want to hear a song about how delicious potato cakes are, or do you wanna hear a song about getting blown by 5 supermodels in the back of a Porsche on the way to the Grammys?”

I also called out a few members of the local Hip hop community.

A few weeks after it went to air, I guess it was brought to their* attention. They were not happy. They started attacking me, saying things like “Rose Callaghan is a haggard old c**t.” and “Rose Callaghan can suck the collective dick of the local hip hop community”. Really charming stuff.

Coincidentally at the same time it was brought to my attention that my personal website had been hacked and was being redirected to Russian porn. It took me over six months to finally fix it for good.

There was some talk that maybe it was members of the Australian hip hop community that were responsible, but I think that’s giving them a little too much credit. Why would they waste their energy hacking my website and not, you know, (coz they love barbecues).

*their being the “Australian hip hop community”. I assume they are like a gang that just hang out all day together in something akin to a bikie clubhouse.

Do you identify as a feminist and if so, what’s your feminist philosophy?
Definitely. A lot of my jokes have feminist undertones to them, but in a silly way. I speak a lot about feminist issues and there is definitely a feminist scene within stand-up comedy in Melbourne. That comes from both comics and room runners.

Me and some others are very outspoken about this stuff and it’s interesting – because I hang out with so many young guys – how I’ve noticed they’ve become more sensitive to these issues. Like for example someone has said something inappropriate to me, I’ve pulled them up on it and six months later they’ve came up and apologized and said “I totally get now why that was uncool of me to say”. That’s awesome. Some of them are quite young and you have to get that some of their role models in stand-up are these really macho guys. It’s interesting.

Do you think audiences react differently to male and female comedians and if so, how?
Maybe, but not in any way that’s noticeable. I think it’s important not to get inside your own head thinking about stuff like that because if you do (and I have) it just drives you crazy and discourages you. Melbourne is a really lovely scene to be honest. I mean, there have been a few people that have said misogynistic things to me but apart from that it’s fine. And I have discussed it with them later and as mentioned in the above question I feel like I’ve perhaps helped them understand why that was a shit thing to say.

I have heard of it being rough in other states, but not here. I swear to god though, if one more person says to me “that was great – I usually don’t find women funny, but…” That always comes from people – usually women funnily enough – that never watch comedy and are judging you based on the two female comedians they have seen on TV who didn’t make them laugh, so who really gives a shit about them. Also I have a musical comedian friend who gets the exact same thing – “that was great – I usually don’t find musical comedy funny, but…” I know this sounds crazy, but spare a thought for the straight white guys – imagine how hard it is for them to stand out?!

What I get from audiences far more than “women aren’t funny” is, “it’s so good to hear from a girl!”

What advice can you give to aspiring female comedians?
Just get out there and do it. Don’t hesitate, don’t think “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not sure if I’m funny enough”, “I’m not ready”. Just do it. Book your first spot, come up with a couple of ideas and just try them. There are so many guys who have zero talent but yet don’t hesitate for one second to get up there and do it. Get out there, bomb hard, get better, meet people, make friends, make people laugh. Stand-up really is very fun.

There are so few girls that you won’t have any trouble finding new friends. All the chicks will pounce on you to make sure that you stay around and it’s often easier to get gigs because bookers want to have ladies on their line-ups and there just aren’t very many of them.

People really want to hearing feminine perspectives. There are so many dudes – you could be the shining light in a forest of cocks!

If you’re still not sure, come say hi to me at a gig or chat to me on Twitter and I’ll talk you into it!

Anything else you’d like to share with Lip’s readers?
You are great. Please come to my show. Follow me on my internet things –

‘Rose Callaghan and Mates’ will be showing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 26 March- 7 April. 

One thought on “ladies of comedy: rose callaghan

  1. Pingback: Review of Rose Callaghan and Mates by Marissa Pain| lip magazine

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