Exploring what Rosie has described as the hardest year of her life, ‘Crazy Lady’ tackles the tragic loss of her best friend Antonio and the resulting nervous breakdown that resulted in Rosie being hospitalised in the only way that Rosie knows how: telling stories, laughing a lot and fart jokes.
Rosie took time out ahead of the tour to talk about the show and touring.
You will be touring your brand new show ‘Crazy Lady’ nationally this September and October. How are you feeling about it?
Pretty nervous actually! I don't normally get nerves about performing, but because this show is revealing a lot about my mental health, I'm feeling more vulnerable than usual. But, I am still excited to get back on stage. There's nothing like making a room of people laugh, and this show may have a serious theme, but it's funny. Well I hope it is anyway!
You’ve said that you’re really nervous about the show because it's the most honest you've ever been about your mental health. Was revealing this much of yourself a difficult decision to make, and if so, what made you bite the bullet?
When I had my nervous breakdown last year, I realised that I'd been so comfortable talking about my mental health previously because I always talked about it as if it was in the past. I was comfortable revealing my PTSD and the symptoms I had dealt with, but only because I could also tell people I had 'recovered' from it. Like, that was the old Rosie! The crazy Rosie! I'm fine now! Getting sick again last year forced me to accept that my mental illness is something I'll always have to deal with. So, I thought it was important to start admitting and talking about it as a current part of my life, not a past one.
Your friend, Jamila Rizvi, has described your latest book ‘Every Lie I’ve Ever Told’ as the blackest of comedies. Is ‘Crazy Lady’ in the same vein?
Yes definitely! I've been describing it as a funny show about mental health. I have dealt with some pretty dark issues in my life, but finding humour in everything is the best way I know how to tell stories. If 'Every Lie' has a laugh on every page, then Crazy Lady has a laugh in every story. And it would just be a bit exhausting and insufferable to write about some of this stuff without laughter I reckon.
Is it hard finding the right balance between heavier themes and lighter moments?
I honestly wouldn't know how to do it any other way. I've spent my life having to find the light in very dark times and for me that light has always been comedy.
Image © Shane Rozario
This is your second one-woman show tour. For a self-professed introvert, does it get any easier?
I love being on stage! I love performing, I love entertaining people. The introvert in me finds performing to a room of 1,000 people much easier than having to make small talk with one person at a party.
What do you like most about doing stand-up comedy?
I love writing books, but there is nothing quite like the rush that comes from connecting with people on stage. Working through material, getting a feel for what works in real time, actually getting to see and hear people responding to your stories – you just don't get that sitting at home in your pjs working on a book at 3am. Plus, I went to drama school, so performing is something that I always love to get back to.
How do you prepare for a tour/show?
Um... Write some stuff down and then pray to Oprah.
What’s on Rosie Waterland’s rider?
I just ask them to match whatever Mariah has on hers.
The ‘Crazy Lady’ tour is the first time that your QLD, TAS and WA fans have had the opportunity to see you live on stage. A second show was added for Brisbane, and your other shows are selling out fast. How does this kind of response make you feel?
Relieved! As a lifelong member of the chronic low self-esteem club, I am always shocked when anybody turns up, let alone selling out. I will not believe anyone is coming until I am out on stage and see them there.
How important to you is audience interaction and meeting your fans?
So, so important. Them buying my books and coming to my shows is the reason I get to do what I love for a living. They are the reason I get to write stories and not work in a shitty retail job! Getting to see them and thank them in person is my absolute pleasure. Plus I like drawing vaginas in everybody's books.
‘CRAZY LADY’ TOUR DATES:1 Sep - Canberra Theatre Centre
7 Sep - The Sit Down Comedy Club, Brisbane
15 Sep - Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide
16 Sep - Octagon Theatre, Perth
23 Sep - Concourse Theatre, Sydney
20 Oct - Theatre Royal, Hobart
27 Oct - Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne