Ask A Comedian: Michelle Brasier

Ask A Comedian: Michelle Brasier

Ian Chaddock

BY Ian Chaddock

12th Mar 2024 Humour

3 min read

Michelle Brasier is an Australian comedian, actor, singer and writer, known for comedy group Aunty Donna, comedy duo Double Denim and solo stand-up like her new show Reform. Ian Chaddock asks her about her funniest experiences…

What stand-up special or comedy film made you fall in love with comedy?

The Tim Minchin documentary So F**king Rock really set me on the path I'm on. My favourite specials are storytelling or absurd ones. I love Mike Birbiglia, Jenny Slate. I really prefer to see comedy live. The movie Bridesmaids was huge for me. And all of Christopher Guest’s films. 

What do you remember about your first time doing stand-up?

I actually didn't do it on purpose! I was doing what I thought was cabaret because I went to music theatre school and I was desperate for attention in-between auditions and then people were like “this is funny!” The first time I did proper standup without any songs was at a comedy night in Edinburgh called Spank at Underbelly. It was an absolutely bonkers late-night show and the first time I'd been booked on it.   
"I was dressed as a tortoise ready to do this weird character bit where a tortoise sings Celine Dion"
I turned up dressed as a tortoise ready to do this weird character bit where a tortoise sings Celine Dion (obviously) and realised the crowd was a, really drunk, and b, really into the straight stand-up, so I took off my shell and just sort of did a few jokes. It was fine. 

What’s the weirdest heckle you’ve ever heard and how did you reply?

Once at Late n Live a guy yelled out “my daughter’s fitter than you” and everyone booed him. I think I said “guys, guys, it’s OK that this guy fancies his daughter, we’re very open minded here”, or something? I don’t get many hecklers!

What has been your funniest live show experience?

Michelle Brasier
I did an album tour with Aunty Donna and for one of the boys’ birthdays we had cake and candles that caught fire. Once in a Double Denim show I chipped a tooth with a microphone and made an audience member hold the chip for the rest of the show. 

As well as stand-up, your shows include singing and dancing. Have you always done that?

I was always a song and dance man. I love musical theatre. All the old Broadway dames are the best comedians really. If you're a storyteller, you use every weapon at your disposal.
"I don't want to see a comedian be cool, I just want to see them be a talented silly billy"
Too many comics are too cool. I don't want to see a comedian be cool. I want to see them be a talented silly billy. 

You also voice a character on the adult animated comedy series Koala Man. Do you like using these different skills for comedy?

Michelle Brasier on a bridge
I love working on animations. I wrote with the Koala Man team on another Adult Swim animation called Yolo and we had so much fun because obviously, anything can happen when there are no budgetary restraints on settings or extras. I'm an actor before anything else so it's so nice to play a million different characters in each episode. The vocal booth is a lovely place to be and I find Michael Cusack’s drawings so evocative as someone from regional Australia. I love getting into the little characters the most. 

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you in your life?

OK, strap in. I had a cyst in my nether regions and I was travelling. I was freshly out of hospital having had the wound drained and on holiday in New York when I found myself in an airport bathroom confronted with what they in the medical community call a “complication”. I took photos of the intimate area to send to my doctor and then my flight was cancelled. I had to get to Canada to do Just For Laughs Montreal and so my partner and I hired a car to drive across North America.   
"I handed the man at border control my phone open to photos with medical photos of my nether regions"
On the wrong side of the car, wrong side of the world, wrong side of the road and I couldn't drive because just as we hired the car I got a text saying I had forgotten to renew my licence. So my partner drove all the way with me sitting on a little doughnut seat typing away desperately changing the “port of entry” on our Canadian work visas and screenshotting everything in the hopes that they would still let us in even though we were approved only to enter by air.
We finally pulled up to the border and I hand the lovely French Canadian man my phone open to my photos, say “just scroll, they're all there” and I forget that also in my recent photographs sits close-ups of my medical photos taken in an airport bathroom. 

Your new stand-up comedy show is about how you ended up being the emergency contact for a stranger who tried to scam you out of your money. What can you tell us about that and what can people expect from the show and tour?

The show takes a lot of texts and phone calls between me and my scammer and brings them to life in the most upsetting way for both me and the audience. Reform is a call to arms for people to see the best in people, even when they keep showing you their worst. I really believe in that. It's nice to see the best in people and at the very worst it's at least a funny story.
Michelle Brasier will tour the UK and Ireland in May and June with her new show Reform. See mickperrin.com/tours/michelle-brasier-reform/ for tickets
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