Coronavirus: Due to the current situation, events may be cancelled at short notice and businesses may temporarily close. Check with the venue before planning to attend. More information on coronavirus.

Comedy Festival: Opening night by Anne Edmonds

There’s nothing quite like the terror of opening night. This year it was even more extreme for me because I am doing a brand new show. Often, comics turn up at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with a show that they’ve run in at Melbourne Fringe Festival or Adelaide Fringe or the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Not me. Not this year. And boy did I know about it when I woke up at 5am on Thursday, sat bolt upright and yelled out ‘Help me, Jesus’.
I got up and went for a huge walk with my dog, Keith. That’s how I’ve been learning my script this year. Keith and I walk around and around Brunswick while I repeat the script out loud. Other dog owners move quickly away when they see me coming. ‘Here comes that girl who talks to herself in a range of accents and her small terrier who thinks he’s tougher than all the other dogs in the park.’ He is tougher. He’s a tough unit.

By the time I reached Melbourne Town Hall I’d moved from the terror stage into acceptance and even excitement. It’s a relief and a joy to see the rest of the comics standing around anxiously in front of the infamous blackboard. We’re all in it together. The Comedy Festival is a bit like a demented school camp for dysfunctional people. Any visit to the Festival Club at the Hi Fi after midnight will tell you that.
Then it was time for my show. I stood in a small space between the curtain and a wall and listened as everyone came into the room. I heard a bit of ‘Hope it’s as good as last year’ and ‘This had better end on time because I’m going to see Dave Hughes’. Then the lights went down and I was off…
Anne Edmonds’ new show, The Quarter Cabbage is on at Melbourne Town Hall, 120 Swanston Street until 21 April.