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WITH DENISE SCOTT
Was comedy a big part of your life growing up? Did you come from
a funny family?
At my 16th birthday party my father appeared wearing his pyjamas
with a trench coat over the top. He pretended to have an arm miss-
ing and appeared to believe our cat Fluffy was a musical instru-
ment; namely a set of bagpipes that he played by blowing her tail
and squeezing her stomach. He told everyone, including the Burra
Boys gang, that he had escaped from a mental hospital nearby. You
get the drift.
How did you get your start in standup?
I was 34 years old and in a comedy act called the Natural Normans.
There were four women in the group, including Lynne McGranger,
who these days is better known as Irene from Home and Away.
We dressed as men and sang sexist songs about women. The weird
thing was women, both straight and gay, were really attracted to us;
screaming during the show, sometimes throwing their underpants à
la Tom Jones style. After the show, the lesbians would shake their
heads; sure we were women but they had become sexually attracted
to us when we looked and behaved like a disgusting pig of a man.
The straight women were concerned that they were attracted to men
who were really women. Were the straight women gay? Were the
lesbians straight? It was a confusing time for all. But back to your
original question... the Normans were invited to the Edinburgh fes-
tival. I couldn't go because I had my children to look after and so
the Normans became a trio and I decided to go solo and do stan-
When did you first realise you were funny?
I still have my doubts...
You seem to mine a lot of your life for comedic moments -- is any-
thing off limits?
Now that my kids are adults I really can't talk about them any more,
at least that's what their lawyers told me.
What inspires you?
Absolutely anything can inspire me; from porridge for breakfast
to smoking vaginas...it's all grist for the mill as far as I'm con-
Do you have any comedy idols -- comics you'd love to work with or
that you admire? Who and why?
I LOVE working with Judith Lucy. The last gig we did together
was hosting the Vic Aids Council fundraiser. We wore our ﬂesh col-
oured nude leotards and did a free form dance rolling over balloons
and bursting them, to Prince's "Sexy Mother Fucker".
Have you ever taken a joke too far?
Yes, sadly I have, and consequently I will never be asked to host the
Jenny Craig Centre Managers Awards night ever again.
Tell us about your show, Number 26?
It’s about the house I’ve lived in for the past twenty ﬁve years and
the things that have gone on there. As my blurb says: "Poverty. Ec-
zema. Affairs. Alzheimers." Something for every-one.
What were the challenges in adapting your memoir to the stage?
I decided to adapt my memoir for the stage because I was too lazy
to think up a new idea for a Melbourne comedy festival show. Well
blow me down with a feather, turns out adapting a book for the
stage requires something called skill! It was quite a shock and quite
a lengthy process, requiring many drafts and many trial shows be-
fore I was happy with it.
You can see Denise in Number 26 at the Sydney Opera House from No-
vember 19-29. Tix available from sydneyoperahouse.com or Ticketek.
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