Comedy Fest Chat: Isabel and Rachel

By the end of its 2013 Melbourne Fringe season, it was impossible to get a ticket to Isabel and Rachel’s show Edge!. It went on to win Best Comedy of the Fringe and won lots of love and glitter at the Perth and Adelaide Fringes. It’s about 11-year-old Stella, who went viral on YouTube for a moment but is determined to be famous because she is so cutting-edge talented.

Isabel and Rachel, Edge
Isabel and Rachel

What MICF shows are you most looking forward to seeing?
We’ve just been to Adelaide Fringe where we got a head start on seeing great shows and so have a big list of ones we missed out on there and ones to see again here. The Tuxedo Cat have the most amazing, interesting collection of shows, usually not stand up. We’ll be seeing Dr Professor Neal Portenza, Kraken (by Trygve Wakenshaw), Dave (by Zoe Coombs Marr). Outside of the delightful Tux Cat walls we’ll be seeing Adrienne Truscott again and finally catching FOMO by Zoe MacDonald, which was sold out all Adelaide Fringe.

What makes MICF different from all the other festivals?
The whole city really gets on board with Comedy Fest and it is super exciting walking around the city on a nice autumn night and seeing everyone laughing as they come out of all the shows. Also, the dancing at HiFi bar is the ultimate dancing experience.

What’s an absolute must do for you in Melbourne?
Drink all the delicious coffee and eat all the delicious food that Melbourne has to offer! Maybe hang out in the Northside, go to a laneway, bar, shave the side of your head edgily, get a cool op shop jacket and act subtley cool and underwhelmed if you want the full Melbourne experience. Or just see comedy shows and dance and be extremely silly and have fun.

What comedians/performers have influenced you the most?
Mostly people (especially women) who do something a bit more silly and dancey than just traditional stand up. People like Tessa Waters, Zoe Coombs Marr and Claudia O’Doherty. But basically anyone who cracks open their brain and pours it all over the stage for everyone to enjoy its unique weirdness.

What’s advice do you wish you’d been given before your first gigs?
Sometimes people don’t always laugh at everything you say, but maybe they are thinking, or listening or maybe they are just drunk or hungry. Or maybe they don’t find you funny. And it’s ok if every single person ever doesn’t find you funny.

Do you do still your own leafleting? Can you tell us something great or horrific that’s happened to you when leafleting?
Of course we do. Isn’t the only person who doesn’t Will Anderson? The worst thing is probably seeing your flyer crushed up and thrown on the ground because someone has taken it, looked at the picture of your face and decided, “Yeah, cool, I will now crush that face with my hand”. It’s a little demoralising sometimes. Also, it’s littering. So bad all round.

What’s the best (or worst) thing a review has said about you or your show?
The West Australian called us a “clever, daring and very funny pair”, which was a huge compliment and made us BLUSH!

If you could invite anyone to see your show (and you know they would come), who would it be?
We’d love for amazing women to come and see our show: Clementine Ford, Jane Kennedy, Marieke Hardy, Stella Young, Jess McGuire etc. As well as, of course, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler  – who we’d also like to be, except obviously can’t because we both have brown hair (confusing!). In general though we really like it when mothers and teenage daughters come and see Edge!

What’s the best heckle you’ve received?
No one dares heckle Stella, the main character of Edge! In general, people don’t really heckle an 11-year old, and if they do, they should probably take a good hard look at themselves.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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