Last Wednesday it rained. It was the kind of rain that is unrelenting and continuous. The whole city was cold and damp and dreary. Boyfriend was at home writing essays. I wanted to join him, I wanted to be watching TV, preferably in bed but I stayed in town because there was comedy to be seen. I soldiered on (in the name of lolz) and bought a ticket to see Boy With The Tape On His Face.
When I walked out of the show an hour later an attendant handed me a souvenir. The balloon was white and it was attached to one of those balloon holding sticks that remind me of markets and childhood. Written across it in thick bold letters was the words RED BALLOON. A lot of people just threw their balloon away as soon as we exited the theatre (if you’re in Melbourne, chances are you’ve seen one sticking out of a bin) but even though it was pouring with rain and I had to hold an umbrella and a bag, I decided I’d carry my balloon all the way home. It wanted to be reminded of how happy I felt in the moment, walking out of a great comedy show into the Melbourne rain.  
Lately I’ve been quite stressed. The NYWF call-outis open, I’ve done four radio interviews this week and on the weekend I spent three hours on Skype listening to a meeting. I’ve had a lot of deadlines. The last time I was in bed before midnight was weeks ago. I’ve eaten dinner at home only once in the last week. A lot of these things are self-inflicted, I’ll admit, but the fact remains – I’m tired and stressed and a little overwhelmed.
Last Wednesday, walking down Swanston Street holding a balloon, I was happy. It reminded me why I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks without sleep or proper food, why I’ve seen thirty-eight shows in nineteen days. I love comedy because of that moment of euphoria after a truly excellent show. It makes you feel invincible. For a moment it’s possible to imagine that you’ll never be sad again, that happiness is the only emotion that you have the capacity for.
This all sounds hyperbolic and maybe it is. But it’s so hard to articulate the reasons why comedy means so much to me. People keep asking me how (why) I’ve seen so many shows and the answer is because it matters. It’s an investment in my emotional wellbeing. Mainlining comedy for a month has made me exhausted, yes, but it’s also made things seem possible again. I want to write, to make new friends, to explore. I want to do all the things that grumpiness and a lack of motivation have been stopping me from doing. When I think about the most memorable comedy that I’ve ever seen, I don’t remember the show itself so much as the moments afterwards. Some of my happiest memories occur immediately after great comedy shows – on deserted train platforms and at playgrounds after midnight.
There are probably scientific reasons for this and they probably have to do with endorphins. I’m no scientist but the way I see it is this – comedy is gap filler for the soul. That’s a terrible line I wrote (and then deleted) from an article years ago but it’s stuck with me because there’s a lot of truth to  it. Comedy (especially really, really great comedy) can paper over the cracks in your happiness so that, even for a little while, it is flawless.
There’s a week of MICF and heaps of chances left to experience this happiness. Go see The Boy With The Tape On His Face. Or tweet me for more recommendations. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year