Intro and interview by Carolina Pasini | Photos by Jack Gruber 

Kirsty Webeck is more than just a comedian; she's a master of the craft who brings joy and escape to every audience she encounters. In our latest Normal People episode, Kirsty opened up about the highs and lows of the comedy world, the thrill of connecting with audiences across Australia to the challenge of crafting inclusive and respectful jokes that still hit hard. 

We caught up with Kirsty at her recent show in Naarm/Melbourne to chat about her creative process, her most memorable moments on stage, and her sage advice for aspiring comedians.

CP | You often joke about everyday situations.. What’s something that more people should laugh about?

KW | More people should laugh about things that are funny to them. How often are you with a mate these days and something funny happens and they say “funny?” Let it out! Have a laugh. It’s good for the soul. Laughing has a very different effect to just stating that something is funny.

CP | Similar to us, you were born in Ngunnawal/Canberra and built your career all over. Can you tell us a bit about the differences between each city and what kind of audience you get in each?

KW | Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to bang on about how wonderful Canberra audiences are. I’m obsessed with them. So willing to go along for a ride with you and let loose and laugh.

I actually love audiences all over this country. The places I thought I didn’t go well in just required a bit more experience for me to learn how to play them and now I love them.

Perth and Brisbane audiences tend to be quite loose, too, and I love them but early in my career I was quite intimidated by them!

I’m used to Melbourne audiences but my interstate and international mates say they can be a tough crowd and I can kind of see that, too.

I love Sydney audiences, too. They’re usually up for a good time. And recently I’ve started going to Hobart and Launceston more and those gigs are so fun every time that it’s getting harder and harder to leave after each show.

You know what? I’m really noticing at the moment how keen people are to have a bit of escapism from the state of the world. I feel that universally across the country.

CP | Out of all the places you travel, where’s your favourite place to have a few ‘camo schooies’ pre or post show?

KW | “Camo schooies” what a term. That’s my new drag name. 

Probably anywhere in Marrickville/Enmore/Newtown. I do my Sydney Comedy Festival shows in that neighbourhood each year and I just love kicking around in those parts.  

CP | As someone who values not making others the plot of a joke, how do you navigate creating humour that is inclusive and respectful?

KW | I actually find it really easy because I don’t like making people feel bad when I’m not working either. 

When I’m writing jokes, I go over them with a fine tooth comb to make sure there’s nothing in them that could be perceived as punching down on anyone. The few times I’ve been in doubt, I’ve drawn upon the expertise of some comedian mates. If a joke doesn’t feel right to me, though, I have no qualms about popping it in the bin. I'm a big believer in trusting your instincts.

Most of my standup is very silly and low stakes because all I ever want is for everyone to leave my shows happier than when they arrived, so I don't tend to venture into terrain that could upset people anyway.

CP | Define stand up comedy in three words.

KW | Challenging, important, escapist.

CP | With your diverse experience, what advice would you give to aspiring comedians looking to carve out their own career?

KW | Write some jokes, go to some open mics and perform them. This isn’t how I did it haha but I didn’t know about open mics. One of the rad things about standup is that pretty much from day one you have access to some of the best comedians in the country (and the world during Comedy Festival). Watch them. Whenever you can, stay and watch them. They know more than you. They are much better than you and you get a free masterclass everytime you perform on a bill with them, you just have to take the time to stay and watch. 

Also, get used to bombing. Haha. That’s one of the only constants. No matter how many years you’ve been going for, you’re always going to bomb when you’re working on new ideas and even sometimes when you’re performing old jokes. 

Finally, don’t worry too much about others’ opinions. Comedy is incredibly subjective. Listen to the ones who champion you, don’t stress about the judgement from others. Don’t read your reviews.

CP | On the same note, who were the people who brought you under their wing coming up and is there anything that stuck with you from them?

KW | My very dear friend Cal Wilson and the incomparable Wil Anderson. Cal was my first proper friend in comedy and she was my biggest advocate and supporter, too. She taught me so much about the art form and also how to be a better person. When I was writing my show this year, I could hear her saying all of her pearls of wisdom that she used to impart on me when we were working on our shows together. One of my favourites was “get to the joke quicker.” It’s so simple but has made me a much better comedian and I still say it to myself all the time now. She was the best and I miss her constantly. 

Wil Anderson has also been a huge champion of mine and has taught me all about how to hold the door open for other acts coming through. He has also given me a huge break by having me on the last two seasons of his TV show Question Everything.

CP | Do you have a getting ready ritual before hitting the stage?

KW | I usually meditate for half an hour while standing on my head and holding some white sage between my toes…!  I wish I were that organised!

The real answer is usually, no, but if I’m feeling a bit flat or tired or something, my mate Justin Hamilton taught me a simple and effective strategy that was given to him: you do a massive grin and say “big smile, best night of your life.” It really flicks a switch in your brain and you’re able to walk out full of energy, ready to deliver the ole razzle dazzle.

CP | Lastly, to keep the love going, who’s someone you feel needs more of a spotlight on them right now?

A comedian I love watching and I think will be huge one day is Maddy Weeks. Their infectious energy, ceaseless charm and great punchlines are a perfect recipe for a very successful comedian.




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