18 Apr They gave me a medal…
Wednesday 12 April was a spectacular day for our whaanau…
Wednesday 12 April was a spectacular day for our whaanau…
“Award-winning comedian Michèle A’Court has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. A’Court has been a trailblazer for women while performing for 30 years in radio, theatre and TV. She also set up the New Zealand Comedy Guild…” New Zealanders Recognised…
The fight to ensure women can tell their own funny stories rather than just be the butt of jokes goes on, Michele A’Court says.
A’Court has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in the entertainment and comedy industries.
When she saw the invitation from the Governor-General’s office, she thought it was a scam, but once it sank in, she was delighted.
“You don’t realise it would mean something to you until it happens.”
While it was exciting for her, it was also special for the comedy industry because not many have received recognition, she said.
A’Court has worked as a comedian for 30 years, a both around Aotearoa and overseas, in radio, theatre and television. She established the New Zealand Comedy Guild, still the only industry body globally solely representing comedians, serving as its inaugural chair from 1999 to 2006.
She said her career as a stand-up comic was “a brand new thing in New Zealand” when she started and it coincided with finding out she was pregnant with her daughter.
She was inspired by US comedians Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett when she was growing up and the idea of performing on a stage and making people laugh and feel better about life appealed to her.
It was also the ideal format for a feminist, she said.
“I love the idea that you can take some challenging ideas and some social activism and put it into some comedy and reach the people who otherwise you wouldn’t be able to reach, and maybe make them think differently about a couple of things.”
When she started, it was an unwritten rule that only one woman could be on the billing for a stand-up show. Now it was not unusual for there to be a 50-50 split.
“So we’re not as lonely as we were … There’s a great network and a lot of support for each other.”
This was needed, she said, because there were still times when women were resented for not being male performers.
A’Court said the fight for women to get a fairer representation as performers was continuing. It “made her heart sing” that so many women were keen to be involved in the industry, and she believed her honour was recognition for the role she had played in advancing their cause.
She was nervous about the first Feminists are Funny show she hosted in 2016 as a fundraiser for the Auckland Women’s Centre but it sold out “in 30 seconds flat” and has continued to thrive.
“There’s an appetite for women’s voices – women and non-binary people – telling our stories and making ourselves the centre of the jokes that are told rather than the butt of the joke.”
A’Court said she felt like the luckiest person alive and it was overwhelming to receive the same honour as her hero, fellow comic Ginette McDonald.
– from RNZ https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/481706/new-year-honours-michele-a-court-says-stand-up-comedy-a-terrific-vehicle-for-flying-feminism-flag
– and from the NZ Herald: Herald: This Honour Represents Trailblazers
Michele A’Court has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, recognising her trailblazing work and advocacy in comedy.
The multi-award-winning comedian established the New Zealand Comedy Guild. She has also advocated for access and safety within the comedy community and provided practical assistance to many New Zealand comedians building their careers.
Yesterday I did a really lovely interview with Kate Hursthouse of the Creative Mother podcast (have a look here – my episode will be up later but there is plenty to keep you happy there already The Creative Mother podcast) and Kate mentioned she was reading my book, “Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter” – and then went on to remind me what was in it because it is 7 years since I wrote it and I needed a nudge.
It also reminded me that, while the book isn’t it stores anymore, it is in libraries all over New Zealand and every time someone checks it out, I get a little bit of money. It is this wonderful thing we do here – it’s called the Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors scheme – which is a pot of money shared amongst writers according to how often their books are checked out of libraries. We get a bank deposit each December and somehow it is always a surprise, and it always arrives at just the right time. (I mean, there isn’t a wrong time to get free money, but Christmas is good.)
So this is a little note that a thing you can do to support writers in Aotearoa is to borrow their books at the library. Read them, too, obviously. But just checking them out helps us, too.
I’m an ambassador for Breast Cancer Cure – a charity that raises funds for research into breast cancer – and for the first time we’re putting on a comedy show (plus dinner) and I get to play with two legends, Justine Smith and Jeremy Elwood. It will be a wild night! Really looking forward to being in a room filled with people who care about boobs as much as I do.
And you can get your tickets here: Comedy For A Cure
I am very excited about hosting a brand new podcast about women and money – how to get some, and what to do with it to make it grow.
Because here’s the thing – women are really good with money once we get our hands on it. Though we are given the impression we aren’t in subtle and unsubtle ways. (See: men “buy” which sounds important, women “shop” which sounds frivolous.)
So in these 5 episodes I talk to a bunch of women and hear their stories about their relationship with money. We talk about how we’re taught not to talk about money, the shame and embarrassment of debt plus how to get out from under it, about how hot compound interest is, how sexy it is to invest, and about how disappointing the patriarchy is.
You can listen to it on a range of platforms and there is a link to them all on my Dates page. Here’s a run down of what is in the episodes with links: PowerMoneySecurity – news story
And here’s some more background to it all: Ensemble Magazine
Let’s all get rich!
After 107 days of staying home to save lives in Tamaki Makaurau, we got to go out and do live gigs again on Friday 3 December 2021. It was scary, and exciting, and felt strange and also entirely familiar. It was so bloody good to see my comedy whanau again. I wrote this for the Spinoff about how laughter never sounded so good and although when I read it now it feels kind of Pollyana and self-indulgent, I’m glad that this very special night was recorded for us.
I love my job so much. I also love the people I work with.
“Feminist Rage Night” was born at Verb Wellington in 2019, and it has been a delight to bring it to the NZ Comedy Festival this year. An opportunity for comedians, poets, singers and spoken word artists to release their fury, say the things womxn have been told we shouldn’t say in the voice we’re not supposed to use, using all the words. Two nights only in Auckland – here are pix from our second night on Tuesday 11 May. Looking forward to doing this more often! And keep an eye on the Verb Wellington programme in November 2021.
Wild times – the Comedy Festival is upon us (check my DATES page for where I am playing) plus tonight, thanks to the magic of television I will not only be on stage at the Classic, but also on TV3 with these idiots.
The NZ Comedy Festival (cancelled in 2020) is finally here! I’m doing 11 shows over the 3 weeks, including hosting the final night of the Festival when we hand out this year’s awards at Sky City. Details of all my shows (including one in Wellington) are on my “Dates” page so scoot on over and use the link to book tickets.
To celebrate the Festival, Viva magazine (in the Herald) has put some of us on their cover – look!
They’d sent a questionnaire to some of us to ask us whether women in comedy are now being taken seriously – and you can read that feature article here: Viva: Get Up, Stand-Up
To be honest, it is a question that, after doing this job for 28 years, pisses me off. But I was furious enough to write a very looong reply. You can read that long reply in full here on my “Writing” page. Q&A