Meet Ange Lavoipierre - the beloved ABC journalist and award-winning comedian who is coming to Adelaide Fringe with a beautiful and feel-good show called Zealot that revolves around getting some answers to some of life's burning questions from the true divine force of nature and is the embodiment of "God" (or Goddess, in this case)!
In anticipation of her upcoming show as part of the Adelaide Fringe, I was fortunate enough to conduct an e-interview with Ange in collaboration with Big Mood - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Ange? Ange: I'm a Sydney-based comedian and a journalist at the ABC. I host their daily news podcast The Signal. I'm originally from Bathurst, the place where cars are from. I make a really weird and great web series called Impostors with Jane Watt - we just released season two, and that project makes me very happy. I also occupy a weird niche as a comedy cellist, with the improv duo Bear Pack (Carlo Ritchie & Steen Raskopolous) and The Plonk Family Band (Carlo Ritchie, Wyatt Nixon Lloyd & myself). Joan Didion is my favourite author. Tarot is my latest obsession. I wear a lot of black and only own three outfits, so I save time making decisions.
Tema: What inspired you to create Zealot? Ange: I somehow managed to cover some very extreme bases, religiously, all before the age of 18. I went from full-blown zealotry at 10, all the way through to non-belief. Apparently, that's not normal, so I figured it would be a good thing to write about. Also, the patent peculiarity of religion is such a rich vein for live comedy. So, it's quite an absurd show at times.
Tema: What is the basic premise of Zealot, without giving too much away? Ange: Zealot is basically the story of my journey from 10 year old evangelist to adult heathen, told through a blend of stand-up, real and surreal characters. It's about the strangeness of religion, especially through the eyes of a child.
Tema: What can people expect from attending Zealot? Ange: When people come to Zealot, they should expect true stories, an encounter with the blue Google maps dot, literal bones and an element of chaos. They should also expect to see me in my underwear.
Tema: Who would you say is your target audience? Ange: People who've had a close experience with religion will get a lot out of Zealot. That said, actual zealots might struggle with the irreverent tone. Alternative comedy fans will hopefully get a kick out of how deeply silly, weird, & dark it is.
Tema: How does it feel to be paving the way for more females to challenge the comedy industry and just simply go for it? Ange: I'm not sure how much paving I'm doing, but I'm definitely benefiting from the women who've come before me. Even the Sydney scene has changed dramatically in the three years since I've been performing - plenty of line-ups now are majority female, and they're headlined by women, and it's not a big deal anymore. Which is how it should be. That's not to say there aren't still sleazy room runners who will make you uncomfortable in your workplace and bookers who don't take women seriously enough, but mercifully, they're an increasingly endangered species.
Tema: Is there any audience participation involved in your show? Ange: Yes, but I promise I'm friendly.
Tema: What would be your advice to individuals who are looking to break into the comedy scene? Ange: Perform as much as you can, take creative risks, see as much as possible, ask for help, and give help when you can. It's an industry full of sole-traders, but we're much stronger as a community. Plus, you can't succeed without other people.
Tema: If you are a returning Adelaide Fringe performer, what are you hoping to expect from this year's participation in the festival? Ange: I'm really excited to get stuck into Zealot and find out how it changes on stage, and see everyone else's new shows.
Tema: How did you get involved with Big Mood and what has the experience been like so far? Ange: I knew Laura and Steph from Edinburgh Fringe and had seen them being so impressive there, so I approached them and pretty much just said "please?" I feel very lucky to have two Adelaidians on my side for this season.
Tema: Where else has Zealot been presented to audiences (within Australia)? Ange: Before Adelaide, only Hobart and some development shows in Sydney - four performances altogether, so Adelaide Fringe is it's first real outing.
Tema: When you're not out performing, what does a day in the life of Ange typically look like? Ange: I obsessively overfill my days and my life is ruled by my diary. I make too many lists and am perennially glued to my phone because my memory is trash. My days vary a lot, but usually I wake up using an unholy amount of black coffee and work on comedy stuff until I no longer feel funny. I then squeeze as much news as possible into my brain. Late morning, I go to the ABC to an editorial meeting for my podcast The Signal, then we make an episode and publish it. Late evening I leave work, probably to do a gig or go to an edit session for my web series Impostors. If there's any time left, I love to read in bars. I also take my Tarot cards with me everywhere and do readings for anyone who will let me.
Ange Lavoipierre: Zealotwill be performed at Gluttony from February 14 - 23, 2020 as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.