Comedy

Interview: Cal Wilson

3 April 2017

I meet Cal in the Union House foyer. Straight way, I pick her out of a crowd of students. It might be her bubbly aura but it’s probably just her colourful hair.

Cal’s ontiguous smile greets me and we head up to the studio. I become increasingly nervous in the elevator, as we go from level two, to level one, level three, and then back to level one again before this machine decides it’s had enough fun, finally freeing us at level four where the Radio Fodder studio lives.

As soon as we hit air, Cal’s passion for all things comedy hits me like a wave. We discuss her university days and all the shenanigans that went with them. I burst out with laugher as Cal talks about the time she changed degrees entirely, solely through fear of asking her supermarket boss to change her hours. Cal expresses shock at how much a university degree costs today. “My education was free,” Cal smiles reminiscently. “Wouldn’t you want to give all people access to an education – so as to get the most inventive and creative people possible?”

It was due to Cal’s first improv group being paid to use a stage at a local court theatre, that Cal was “paid to learn, which doesn’t happen anywhere now”. This fostering of education would eventually see Cal’s improv group win the 1994 world theatre sports title in Los Angeles. Perhaps a nod to what a promotion of accessible education can achieve.  Cal’s early improv days are evident in her comedy today. Cal stars in the Australian version of Whose Line Is It Anyway, as well as Have You Been Paying Attention, both formats require a lightning quick wit and hyper comedic awareness, both of which Cal possesses.  

Cal’s show this year is about not holding back due to fear of confrontation. Things I’ve Never Said, is partly about Cal “having a kid now, and I want him to grow up knowing that you speak your mind”. Cal’s inspiration for her show is contagious, having performed comedy for many years- inherent in Cal’s narrative throughout her festival show is the idea that “it’s time we stand up for people, that we should be allies for people”. Cal’s worldview is incredibly informed.

On the horizon appears to be one of the most intriguing shows at this year’s comedy festival, from a veteran comic with perhaps a newfound voice. We finish the show by talking about Cal’s worst gig. Performing at a chicken factory in front of hundreds of drunken workers. Cal and her improv friends had chicken thrown at them all the way to the carpark.

Cal and I walk out of Union House. I tell her how excited I am to experience her new hour of comedy which touches on so many diverse aspects of existence. More fundamentally, perhaps the key idea in Cal’s show is the relatability of human imperfection and difference which brings us more strongly closer together.

Cal Wilson will perform Things I’ve Never Said, runs from March 30th-April 23 at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased at comedy.com.au.