Madeleine Stewart on Are You Pulling My Leg?

by | Jun 20, 2024

RIVERSIDE THEATRES PRESENTS THE COMEDY EVENT OF THE YEAR, ARE YOU PULLING MY LEG?

Boasting a line-up of award-winning performers including Madeleine Stewart. Read on to find out more about Stewart and her show.

 How would you describe Are You Pulling My Leg to someone who knows very little about it?

AYPML is a smorgasbord of tasty bite-sized comedic delights ready to be gobbled up. Its a collection of Australia’s funniest comedians who also happen to have disability, mental health conditions or chronic illness. We share what its REALLY like to be disabled- and its not what you’d expect.

 What sets Are You Pulling My Leg apart from other comedy shows, and why should audiences see it?

Well, if we think of traditional comedy- we think old guys on stage telling boring dick jokes that we have heard a million times, often in dodgy pubs and chances are you’ll get verbally abused by the end of the night. We reject the old gross comedy scene. We like making shows that are fun and inclusive and accessible. Our comedians are friendly and not likely to pick on you. We provide access such as Captioning and auslan interpreting. We want everyone to feel at home at our shows because comedy is for everyone to enjoy.

Who or what was the inspiration for your comedy? Who has been your biggest inspirations?

I started comedy when I was 16. Adam Hills came to my hometown of Campbelltown and it was the first time I saw someone with disability take charge of their own story. The rest is history. I’ve been performing for half my life now. That’s also why a majority of our tour is in regional areas- representation matters. If you can see it, you can be it.

 How long was the process from idea to writing to stage? Any challenges along the way?

Some jokes appear in your brain while on stage, just instinctually. They are lovely shiny gold nuggets of comedy. Sometimes you can workshop a story with a comedian mate and have it ready in 30 mins. Some jokes take years. When I write a comedy hour show (for festivals etc) they take me years. Especially if the topic is sensitive or personal.

What attracts you to comedy and how long have you been involved?

I started comedy at 16 years old. I think I was simply desperate for attention? every teenager is. I don’t think I got enough at home. Nowadays I love comedy as a tool to discuss things that people are often too uncomfortable to talk about- Like disability or centrelink or Brazilian waxes. I like using comedy and shared laughter to draw attention to political or social issues that need attention and advocacy.

 What comes after this showcase for you?

This year while touring I’m working at the ABC as I received the storyteller scholarship. I’ll be releasing some fun reels in December for International day of people with Disability (IDPwD). And I’m working on a new hour comedy show, which focuses on my experiences with centrelink.

 Are You Pulling My Leg? is touring nationally, including to Riverside Theatre, Parramatta on 20 July. For the full tour details, see here

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