Judith Lucy interview
The Australian superstar talks to the Time Out Melbourne team ahead of her London shows
Judith Lucy – a household name in her home country of Australia – has decided she’s got nothing to prove with her new show, she tells Time Out Melbourne's Andrew P Street and Jenny Valentish
Judith, you’ve never been afraid to frock up for a gig or break out some choreography, but it sounds like that’s all about to change with Nothing Fancy?
'Yes, you’ve kind of come to expect really bad showbiz from me. Last time I toured a show, it was a pretty long tour and I got pretty sick and, in fact, cancelled a show for the first time in my life, which was not much fun. So, I thought: why not actually just make it a really simple show, just an hour of gags and leave it at that? So hence: Nothing Fancy.'
Your book, 'The Lucy Family Alphabet', discusses the fallout of using real people – your family in that case – in your material. Has your stance changed over the years?
'My feeling is I don’t think I dump as much shit on anyone as I do on me. That’s my rule of thumb. I might have a go at Nicole Kidman, but generally if I talk about my family and friends I’ll ask them first. When my dad was still alive I used to tell a finding-out-I-was-adopted-on-Christmas-Day story on stage – and he does not come out of that story well. I rang him up and said, "Do you mind if I tell that story?" and he said, "Go for your life."
'You’ve got to be very careful, though, because you never know what’s going to offend someone, and generally it’s the last person you’d suspect, and the thing that you’ve said that you’d least expect them to be offended by. I reckon if you go into it with complete sincerity about not wanting to hurt anyone… well, fingers crossed, really.'
Does anyone stand a whisker of a chance of being unexpectedly offended by Nothing Fancy?
'Jennifer Love-Hewitt might be offended [laughs]. The lead singer from Pseudo Echo… one or two people might get a comment here and there. I like to think I’ve got a pretty good sense of humour when it comes to laughing at myself. I’m in the wrong business if I can’t take a joke. I know a lot of people do impersonations of me… and some of those are men.'
In 'The Lucy Family Alphabet' you noted that your father’s unique sense of humour had influenced yours. What other sources can we hold responsible?
'I think we’re all an amalgamation of a million things. My brother’s older than me; he’s pretty funny. He got me reading books by Kurt Vonnegut and things like "Catch-22" when I was really young. And then, of course, the people I hung out with at school. I grew up, like a lot of people my age, watching American sitcoms – anything from "Gilligan’s Island" to "Get Smart". And then there were a lot of British sitcoms… so here’s hoping "Are You Being Served?" has really informed my outlook on life. It’s quite a formula. And a winning combination!'