Time Out Melbourne

From a nightie-wearing father to a Karen Carptenter-obsessed mother, Meg Pee mines her crazy childhood for comedic gold

How did you get your start in comedy?
I started doing written word, and then I was asked to do a spoken word gig. I ended up writing a piece that was more character-based, and it became a lot longer. I had this character called “Hot Caz”, and she was in a really short 10-minute spoken word piece, but she completely took over me and demanded I write a full-length show. And I did.

How long have you been around the traps, and where do you usually perform?
I’ve been around for 30 years... Well, I do the festivals, and I perform at Midsumma every year at the spoken word events. Apart from that, I’m still kind of new and breaking out into the scene.

Your show deals a lot with your family. They sound quite weird. Can you tell us a little more about them?
Where to begin? The show is set in my childhood house and I had two very bizarre parents. I guess my mom was very OCD. She was always vacuuming, always had these really biazarre rules about eating at certain times and sitting on the couch at certain times, and having to have a sheet over certain chairs. She ran the house like a ship. I grew up and looked back I realised my dad was weirder than I have thought. He wore this really old see-thru nightie and would walk around through the house clapping and repeating phrases from The Wind in the Willows, and not really communicating to anyone directly. It was hard to make sense of it at the time, and it’s still hard to make sense of.

Now it’s comedic gold.
Yeah, lots of good quotes, and good characters to act out as well.

Karen Carpenter [from the '70s band The Carptenters] seems like a big influence in your life. How has she influenced your current show?
I’ve had the song 'Close To You' in my head for 30 years now, and I can’t get it out. This show is exorcism. It just seems like, on a really subliminal level, Karen Carpenter was always in the background of every bizarre event in my childhood house. With my mum criticising my dad for years constantly, and vacuuming constantly, Karen Carpenter was always there. So I think she’s affected my brain and my pathways in life.

She was a drummer, and as part of your show you have your friend Dan Violato on drums. How did you convince Dan to be involved?
She’s my partner, so she has no choice. She’s just starting out on drums, so it was kind of good for her to get out there and perform. We just got to playing at home for fun. During the show, she also does sound effects. It’s more theatrical, so when I play these characters she might, for example, play the computer keyboard. We have a sound stick to have a Wizard of Oz storm, and there are chimes – just to give that sense of magic. There are all sorts of things she hits and shakes and rattles, just to make a soundtrack. It’s fun.

Does she do *ba dum dum ching* on drums after all your jokes?
Should she? I think she should. Not yet, but maybe this time around.

There aren’t that many female comics around compared to men, let alone lesbian comics. Are you the next Australian Margaret Cho or Sandra Bernhard?
I’d rather be like Magda Szubanski; she’s my idol. I don’t know who I am, I just hope to be out there.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen a fellow comic do onstage?
My friend Lisa Skye did some weird cutting thing – that’s  all I can say. I don’t want to ruin her show [in the Comedy Festival]. I was taken aback and confused and impressed. I don’t want to spoil it.

Why should audiences go see your show?
Just to be immersed in the magic of Karen Carpenter and be frightened of my childhood, like me. And it’s fun and funny.

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Updated on 16 Apr 2012.

By Theresa Winters   |  
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