Hug achieved: x1
When discussing her show ‘Mess’, Jen Carnovale is modest but excited about it’s potential. Jen has been a solo stand-up artist for around five years and has been in the performing arena for over ten, including in the double-act ‘The Cloud Girls’ with Madeleine Culp. Drawing on this wealth of experience, Jen has crafted a show for the 2017 MICF that is “relaxed” and a little “experimenty” but most of all “fun”!
Jen hopes to “play around a lot more” than she has in the past but also “talk about stuff that matters in a light way”. “I don’t want people to think it’s an hour of puns or one-liners, because it’s not”. Rather 'Mess' is “a stand-up show... there are stories” and a few “weird voices” to create the characters of her tales.
This move towards more personal stories and joke telling is in stark contrast with her former life as part of ‘The Cloud Girls’. “A long time ago… we did really absurd, super silly stuff”. “Mads (Madeleine Culp) and I both went to a performing arts school… I originally went there for dance” says Jen, but both found a path through drama, then comedy. Jen describes falling in love with stand-up, developing as a duo, performing a wide range of gigs as well as taking on other opportunities like working with Triple J.
Despite the excellent chemistry and becoming like “a married couple”, the pair decided to pursue their independent careers. Jen “lived in the UK (United Kingdom) for two and a half years… that’s where I started stand-up on my own”. With her ever changing hair colour and style, Jen progressed from a more introverted performer to the confident artist she is today. She now relishes in opportunities to perform stand-up, it is “the only thing in my life where I’m like yes, over anything else”!
Jen really enjoyed her recent experience with the Comedy Channel, a great clip that can be viewed here. When told that there is an element of Maria Bamford in her performance, Jen replies “I do love Maria” adding that she is an “inspiration… I like to tell stories, I like the characters that come out of those stories”.
In addition to her skills in stand-up, Jen also loves the creative side of the arts generally. “I love making other stuff, love podcasts, love radio… love making things with mates”! Jen is currently in the process of re-developing her podcast, which will hopefully be up and running again in the near future.
While I try and maintain the focus of the interview on Jen, she takes the opportunity to recommend other shows. “Rhys Nicholson… so good…”, Jen says as she comments on Rhys’ skill at performing well in any venue regardless of prestige. But Jen doesn’t forget her friend Madeleine Culp “one of the most hilarious people ever” who is also performing at the Sydney Comedy Festival.
Jen notes her “day job” has helped keep her grounded as she takes her comedy to the next level. In speaking with Jen, it appears working with a not-for-profit charity has provided her the perspective required for quality comedy. Jen hopes to touch on some real issues in her show including the impact of anxieties, speaking about them “frankly” but also in a safe way.
Maybe it is “the Italian in me” that “wants the audience to be comfortable” says Jen. She has “played around with the idea of what made me most comfortable as a performer… is what makes the audience feel comfortable”. One point that Jen stresses is that “if you’re an audience member that gets scared about coming to comedy…. then my show is fun” and a good place to enjoy stand-up.
An important element of Jen’s comedy is that it comes from a real place and “personal experiences”, the basis of it is “in reality”. “I wanted to call the show ‘Mess’ because… I want to be OK with mess, not literal mess but…with messes that happen with stuff going wrong”. Jen continues, “accepting all that stuff… and being really down with it… and happy about it”.
See Jen Carnovale in ‘Mess’ from 30 March to 10 April 2017, get in quick before she leaves Melbourne! For more information and to book tickets, click here!
Are you a Sydney-sider? You can see ‘Mess’ at The Factory Theatre on 10 and 12 May 2017. For more information and to book tickets, click here!
If you have a Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) show you want reviewed, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.