Monday, 26 December 2016

Rolling with the Punchlines: a memoir by Urzila Carlson

'Urzila is a force of nature, unsinkable and funny.  she's the heroine we hope is inside every one of us."  Lucy Lawless

I read this interesting memoir over a couple of days.
Urzila Carlson is a New Zealand comedian of South African descent.
She started her journey in stand up comedy after a work mate from her job in advertising entered her into a open mic night.
She has earned a living from comedy ever since.

She writes of her childhood growing up in a loving but poor Africaans family and how the family had to escape in the night from their alcoholic violent father coming after their mother with a gun.  I found her honest explanations of why she became desperate to leave post-Apartheid South Africa very informative.

A self-described lesbyterian (great word) she does not agree with some of the labels we apply to sexuality. Urzila shares her journey into marriage and motherhood and some of the difficulties faced along the way.

Urzila is open, honest and forthright (code for lots of swearing!), but no surprises if you have seen her TV performance on 7 Days or other comedy shows.  She writes like she speaks and amongst the humour there are also some fairly sobering life events, such as growing up scared of her violent father, surviving cancer and losing a baby.
The business of making a living from making people laugh is also fascinating.

Reviewed by Katrina

Catalogue link: Rolling with the Punchlines

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