Jude Perl Remembers The Days Of The Old School Yard

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  • Wednesday, 11 May 2022 12:47
Published in Comedy  
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Comedian Jude Perl takes you back to her primary school days in her new solo show and album ‘Participation Award’.


“When I initially wrote the show [in 2020], it was a lot more about two confrontational incidents in my life, one when I was in grade three and one as an adult,” Jude explains.

“Then over the course of 2020 I rewrote it and made it a lot more about school itself; still about confrontation but just more about the way that the school system is setup is perhaps not suited for everybody.”

Jude performed ‘Participation Award’ at the 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala to roaring acclaim and will now debut the musical storytelling spectacular at Brisbane Comedy Festival.

In ‘Participation Award’, Jude guides the audience through a musical comedy exploration of her primary school experiences in the mid-late ‘90s, including her frequent brushes with bullies and the ineptitude of the school system to properly address the issue.

“Confrontation and dealing with bullies is such a complicated thing and something that always frustrated me when I was a kid getting bullied,” Jude says.

“I know a lot of people got bullied at school, but the schools would bring in these ex-pro athletes to come talk about bullying. They would bring in these people to say: ‘hey kids, bullying is bad’ and everybody would go ‘well, yeah’ and then nothing would ever change.

“So, the show is me trying to grapple with that and without giving too much away, there is a very Jewish grandmother character that makes appearances that ultimately gives the most helpful piece of advice, that is unexpected.”

‘Participation Award’ hits hard with both heart and hilarity as Jude shirtfronts bullying in her unique style. The show is for people with less-than-rosy memories of the schoolyard and anyone who has ever received an award just for showing up on the day.



“The angle I’m coming at it from is the weird thing school does where the school system is based off the Industrial Revolution when we were streamlining everything and making assembly lines, and they applied that to school,” Jude explains.

“The good thing is that a lot of people could learn how to read but the bad thing is people are moved along an assembly line without much thought about what their skills, their interests and capabilities are.”

Though Jude agrees that performing stand-up comedy can be confrontational, especially when it comes to rowdy audience members, she says she’s been lucky to acquire a live following that shares her aversion to confrontation.

“I’ve been doing comedy for about eight years, and this is my sixth solo show,” Jude says.

“And as I’ve been doing this longer, I think I’ve slowly found an audience that is a bit like me in that they’re not very confident,” she laughs.

“I don’t usually have a lot of hecklers in my shows. The people coming to my shows are often a bit like me – they’re maybe a little shy. I hate audience interaction as an audience member, so don’t worry, I’m more scared than you. At worst I’m going to make some eye contact with you, that’s as bad as it’s going to get.”

Jude Perl plays Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival) 26-28 May. Jude's album 'Participation Award' is out now.

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