On the Couch with Maryellen

MICF-MaryellenWho is Maryellen?
I’m ME. Or at least that’s the nickname I’ve been trying to start for myself, Maryellen (MaryEllen, geddit?), and it is absolutely not catching on. My diagnoses and labels do not define me BUT they do give a pretty good backstory (exposition) in a short amount of time, so here goes; PCOS, PMDD, Anxiety, Arthritis, Queer, Feminist, Late diagnosis ADHD… even later diagnosis Narcolepsy, and apparently, according to a LOT of people, I’m a Ray of Sunshine.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Worry? Worry less. Everything else I do perfectly… hahaha.

Who inspires you and why?
Of my contemporaries, Aurelia St Clair and Sashi Perera, they both didn’t wait for permission and thanks to their incredible online followings are selling out shows and doing incredible things they couldn’t have done if they had waited for someone to be the arbiter of whether or not they were good enough. They went out and found their audiences for themselves. BIG NAMES? James Acaster, Sarah Silverman, Beth Stelling, Maria Bamford, Aye Edibiri and Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson from the Two Dope Queens podcast.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m trying to do it right now? I run Bits & Pieces Comedy – a platform for women and underrepresented comedians here in Melbourne. We’ve programmed the shows on at Level 5 at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre this year at MICF. My comedy is my activism. I prioritise inclusivity and making spaces for people where there weren’t before (including myself, oh no, it’s not altruism, I’m just incredibly selfish!)… I try to make people happy and my comedy is always about trying to make people feel good. I keep listening, learning, and trying to make change in the world through comedy.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
One that someone else paid for. Truly. Warm, sunny beaches, and massages, the opposite of a night at comedy? Oh god, why are you asking me this right before Comedy Fest? I’m exhausted, someone get me a flight outta here!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Gertrude Street, because I live there and I have narcolepsy, I can’t travel far! Honestly my favourite things about Melbourne all happen in the city. Even though I love nature, come to Melbourne and go to all the niche bars, and restaurants and watch all of the comedy and live music.

What are you currently reading? LOL.
I’m reading ADHD 2.0 – because I don’t understand myself!

What are you currently listening to?
Off Menu is my favourite podcast. Also Sarah Silverman’s podcast. I’m also listening to Fern Brady’s audiobook, Strong Female Character. Music – SZA.

Happiness is?
Love. Sometimes I get caught up in my career ambitions. But chase all the dreams you want, I don’t want any of it without love; romantic, familial, friendships – all the love is all I need. Wow you got me to say something vulnerable and deep, please still come to my show even though I can be sincere sometimes.

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know. It has felt like things have momentum and like I’m getting closer to being able to sustain myself with my career. But as question 9 implies, I’ll find happiness whatever happens. I’m resilient (my psychologist said so), I’ll tackle whatever comes my way. I hope there’s still plenty of fun to be had!

Maryellen presents Anecdotal Evidence – currently playing at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, until 15 April 2023. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Maryellen (supplied)