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Published March 27, 2017

Rose Callaghan is one of our favourite Melbourne comedians, and she’s back at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Will You Accept This Rose. We chatted to her about the new show, dating jokes and Amy Schumer.

You recently to to Twitter in defence of Amy Schumer…?

A friend of mine sent me a link, like: “oh, the new Amy Schumer special is really bad, here are all these people saying she ripped off jokes,” and Amy Schumer was like my biggest inspiration when I started, and I’ve gone off her a bit in the last year or two… ’cause she can be a bit… racist? And she never apologises for anything, which… I know a lot of comics are like that, but if you’re purporting to be this big feminist, you need to be intersectional…

But I was watching Inside Amy Schumer on the weekend again – sort of binge watching it – and I was like, “God it’s funny!”, so I can appreciate how funny it is but also be like, “hmm, I don’t like some of the stuff you do.”

So he sent me this thing, and was like, “yeah, she’s ripping off jokes,” and I was like, “alright,” and he sent me this example, and…it was a Dave Atill bit, that bit from his special a long time ago where he talks about getting blackout drunk, and I hate it because the punchline is, like, having sex with a girl at McDonalds who has a disability, like, “oh, she must be retarded but her titties aren’t retarded!”

So comparing that with Amy’s bit about getting blackout drunk, which doesn’t share the punchline, just the premise, so…everybody does similar premises, there’d be a million comics who have done jokes about getting blackout drunk…


Yeah. Basically, the first two were just premises that were the same, the third was from a Dave Chappelle bit talking about when a guy says, “where do I come?” or whatever, and Amy’s was from the female perspective, but there was something that was about the specificity of it, where Chappelle said, “on top of the TV!”, and she said, “into a jar!”, so that’s… that’s a bit more dodgy, but it’s still borderline. It’s not the same joke.

And then the last two or three examples were examples from different movies and TV shows, and then scenes in her new movie with Goldie Hawn; she didn’t write that movie, she’s just acting in.

So I’m just like, “alright,” and then I googled it, and the three top stories were from ‘Fox News’, ‘Breitbart’ – the very well known alt-right publication – and this other called like ‘The Fundamentalist’ or something, and I was like, “I bet again that’s another conservative publication… this seems a bit weird.”

So then I looked it up again, and there was apparently a huge campaign on Reddit by all these alt-right groups of just going and slamming her show, giving it bad reviews, so they swamped it with one star reviews… you can find many reasons to disagree with Amy Schumer, but there are literal headlines going “Unfunny Special”, and when is a dude getting panned, like, “oh, this person’s special wasn’t very funny!”? They’re obviously after her because she’s a prominent woman…

Do you think there’s a bit of an expectation that women are meant to do comedy either about how much they want to be in a relationship, or just fully embrace that they’re a “crazy cat lady”…?

No, I think it’s the opposite. When women do that kind of stuff, it’s like, “oh, all women do that kind of material”; we’re just talking about our personal experiences. Heaps of dudes do material about dating, but I think we’re more harshly criticised. I do a lot of dating stuff.

Sometimes I’ve been a bit, “uh, all my jokes are about dating,” but then after gigs girls will come up and say, “you’re saying what we’re thinking!” and that’s awesome, especially if I’ve been the only girl on the lineup, and I get those reactions, like, “you’re talking from my perspective,” and that makes me happy.

It’s definitely from your perspective; it’s not jokes about dating, it’s about the experiences you’ve had…

Yeah, it’s all my analysing that kind of behaviour or whatever, I mean, I just find it really funny, it’s like a neverending source of amusement…I don’t know what’ll happen if I ever settle down…

…wake up one morning and just not be funny…?

[Laughs] Yeah!

But then you see comedians at a packed gig, and they’re like, “sorry, I’m going to do the stuff about having kids,” and it’s like, “don’t be sorry!” because now they’ve go this new thing they’re going through, so of course it’s natural to talk about that. Like, it would be funny if some dude just stood up and went, “so I was having a wank the other day…”, or, “what’s up with Facebook?”… everyone needs to talk from their own experience.

Your podcast Swipe Night is very much about your own experience…

I don’t know what I’m doing with the podcast at the moment; Kirsten isn’t doing it at the moment, and I’ve been so personal on the podcast and after a while I was like, I think that’s what drew people to the the podcast, and they were like, “Woah! That’s crazy!”, and…I don’t know if I want to be that person anymore…

[Rose has previously been diagnosed with ADHD; she has spoken about how it allowed her to be “quickfire off the cuff”, but as a result of medication and consultation now finds herself a lot more focussed and grounded. Refer to our interview with her prior to Rose Before Hoes.]

[We’ve] got a really good fanbase, sort of inner-north dwelling, not necessarily comedy fans – you know how some podcasts are, like, all the comedy fans listen to it, like Dum Dum Club – some of those people, fine, but sort of progressive, sex positive, polyamorous or whatever people listen to it; you know, I went to Perth, and I logged onto OKCupid, and this guy was like, “Oh my God! I love your podcast!”.

“Oh cool! Oh hey, man, do you know I’m here doing a show?”. And he was like, “oh really? That’s great!”. And then he came with his partner – he was in an open relationship and was like, “I’ll bring my partner!” – and I was like, “Great! Thanks guys!”. Yeah. That was cool.

Without spoiling anything, what can we expect from your show?

Will You Accept This Rose? is a pun on The Bachelor, and it’s sort of Bachelor related, but you don’t have to have seen it…I was in Perth, and I was like, “who’s never seen The Bachelor?” and there would be a bunch of people, and I’d be like, “okay, well I’m going to explain what it is,” and they really liked it.

And then I sort of keep meeting people from The Bachelor in real life, like crossing paths with my life in very weird circumstances. Very very weird. So it’s a lot of stories about that, and then I’ve got a couple of my own love stories, two big stories about dating, and then there’s some very good cameos; I won’t spoil it, but it’s a very cool moment.

The show’s got audio and visual elements, much like from my last show… yeah, it’s really fun! It went really well in Perth, and it just feels easy, just a really fun show to do; I’m not feeling stressed about the Festival, I mean, the admin stuff, I’ve got ADHD so that’s a bit… but everything’s lining up well!

I just used to get so stressed and anxious, but I just don’t feel like that, and it’s just two weeks, but I’ll probably get to the point where it’s like, “why aren’t you anxious?”, and then getting anxious about not being anxious, but yeah…I don’t know. I don’t think a show about The Bachelor is going to win any awards, but I think it’s really fun, especially if you like The Bachelor, I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

I’m looking forward to it.

You’re having fun with it, that’s the important thing.

Well exactly! Sometimes when I get stressed out or bogged down, I’m just like, “dude,”; if I’m going to a gig and I feel like, “I’m not going to remember this!” it’s just like, “well, do the joke that you’re going to have fun doing, and make sure you have fun first and foremost,” and then if you’re enjoying yourself, I think people like to come along for the ride.


Rose Callaghan will be performing Will You Accept This Rose at MICF 2017 from 30 March to 9 April. Tickets start at $20. For more information and to get tickets, visit the MICF website.

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