During the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, ‘Behind the LOLs’ will reveal the inner workings of some of our finest comedy talent. Today: Alice Brine.
I’m on a plane from Wellington to Auckland and I’ve got crook guts. I always get farty when I’m on a plane and it’s so annoying – mainly for the fact that we’re all on this plane together and no one should have to breathe in my farts. I’ll fly to Auckland about three times a month and work at Xero (Podcast/Social Media).
I’ll normally take a too long lunch break to shoot off and do some press or media stuff in the day, then finish the day at 6pm or so. From there, I’ll head to Queen St to do a bunch of gigs for the night. Sometimes hang around for a yarn with the comedy family and then crash in Laura Daniel’s spare room on a fold out bed that I like to call my home away from home. That would be a normal trip but today’s is a bit different.
The plane is landing now. It’s a beauty day for a row if you’re in Auckland. That’s going to be helpful to read three weeks after I wrote it.
I’m on the bus from the airport to the city. I have a crippling fear of maps. Catching the bus is something I struggle with. I used to have to get my best friend to look up maps for me and then text me a list of pictures of buildings that I needed to look out for so I knew where to get off. Not just for Auckland either, this was also what she did for the city I already lived in. I’ve come a long way since then.
I’m tired. I slept 3 hours last night due to trying out those new snapchat filters.
I’m sitting in the Comedy Festival office. My phone is plugged into a charger which is plugged into a wall. My luggage is on the floor in front of me. They’re letting me leave it here all day.There is stuff everywhere in this office, gearing up for the comedy festival to kick off – it’s like comedy christmas.
I went to Q Theatre once I got off the bus. I got a coffee and sat down and the man at the table across from me looked a lot like Rhys Mathewson and then realised that it was actually him.
Rhys is very nice. I sat with him and really just rambled off all kinds of thoughts. He’s been in the game so much longer than me and I was probably mansplaining comedy to him, very embarrassing now that I recall it.
I’m sitting in the waiting room of an artist management agency called Johnson and Laird. I’ve heard they’re great and people have congratulated me on the fact that they’ve asked me to come for a meeting to discuss representation. I’ve had a look at them online and mainly I noticed that they represent Shaaanxo under “social talent”. This is a huge selling point for me as I am a big fan of Shaaan.
I just got signed by this agency.
I’m sitting at Q Theatre cafe and a lot of shit’s happened. I just finished an interview for a website. I’m not a fan of boring details. After my meeting with J&L I went back to the Comedy Fest office to sort my shit out. The vibe had changed, everyone was next level busy. Picking up the phone then hanging it up, closing deals, lanyards flying everywhere.
I had some time to kill and very much needed to wander around lost in my own thoughts in the sun. That’s one of my favourite things to do in the whole world. Just wandering around thinking. I don’t listen to music or podcasts when I’m wandering.
Bumped into [comedian and Billy T winner] Justine Smith. God I love that woman. She’s got this way of making people feel so reassured – such simple and blunt wisdom. She’s a genius. Probably a witch.
Kept walking and bumped into Alice McKinley! Alice and I made The Big Dog Walk With Lots Of Dogs together. We sat in the sun and laughed and talked about more huge ideas. Dogs on a plane!
I’m just chillin here now waiting for Laura Daniel to come and hang out with me for a coffee. Excited that I got booked by that agent. Hopefully it means I get to be part of Funny Girls now. Not sure if that’s how it works. I really wanna be a part of Funny Girls. I went to Topshop and bought Jessie Mearns an Ivy Park by Beyoncé, pointless, branded, activewear, elastic, headband. It was $2300 and she’ll be rapt. Have been soul sister childhood friends with Jessie since age 7 and we live together now.
All my make up has come off. Also I’m still yet to eat but have had four coffees. Don’t worry. I’m not trying to starve myself but it is just that I am the only person on the planet who doesn’t get tired or angry as a result of being hungry. But then I’ll happily eat three burritos when not even hungry at all. Go figure.
I’m sitting at the Basement Theatre under a giant billboard of myself, having a glass of pinot gris. It’s gone straight to my head and I’m about to be on the news and then after that, host a show. I’m very very tired. I had a great chat with Laura – I effing love that woman. Chat topics: interviews. Laughed about being asked about being a female comedian. Talked about how excited we are for the after party once it’s all over but also excited for the journey. Met up with Lizzie Marvelly. Surprise wines. Had an awesome time. Talked about pile-ons. Now at the Basement about to eat sushi.
I’m standing on the footpath outside Q Theatre because I needed to urgently log this. I just walked from the Basement up through the Q Theatre steps and on the way up I recognised a familiar face… It was Ceri – along with Storm – from The Bachelor. I am not making this up! I said “Hi!” And Ceri said “Alice Brine!?” And I said “ Yes! HI!” then we hugged and we both said “It’s so nice to meet you in real life!” She’s tall and smells like pine needles and has a face like sunshine.
Boy am I glad that I chose today to keep a 24 hour log. I’m lying in Alice Snedden’s spare bed in her beautiful house in Grey Lynn. At 8.30pm tonight The Watercooler (a live storytelling podcast I host and produce in both Wellington and Auckland) was due to start. I had an incredible line up of storytellers and a tech ready to record. “Doors open” was called. We sat and waited for about 5 minutes for the audience to arrive. I checked the time: 8.39pm
There was no audience. Logic told me that there must be some kind of situation at the box office that was holding up the audience from coming in. But I also knew deep down that there was a very real possibility that there may not be an audience. I gave the deadline of 8.45PM. If no one arrives, the show is cancelled. The people of The Basement come in and say “Hi. There is me and literally one other person here waiting for the show.” We revise the rule to be “if there are more performers than there are acts, call it: cancel the show.” That was it. We cancelled the show.
Here I am. Standing before four people who are already overworked enough, gone out of their way to be here, and I have to cancel the show because no one came. I can’t figure out how I am supposed to feel. I look into the depths of my emotional brain and realise quickly that I am OK. Everyone is OK. Nobody died. This is the first time I’ve ever had a show that we had to cancel due to there being no audience. Thank god tickets for BRINESTORM are already selling fast for each night in Auckland, at least that show is going to be fine.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok if no one turns up to your show. You don’t die. If you fear being humiliated or you fear failing, you’ll never start anything. By trying not to fail you’ve already failed so who cares that no one came. I’ll sort this out with the director once the comedy festival is over. As we were leaving the Basement I could see out of the corner of my eye, a glowing red ball of light. Alice Mckinley! She came! She was the only one that came. She gave me a balloon hat that was shaped like the inside of an eye socket. We went to Ponsonby for a drink and I wore it the whole time.
I got back up out of bed to join in the yarns that were unfolding in the lounge. Many funny inside jokes about why I needed to take a bath. Alice is a very funny woman.
I’m gunna just stop writing now. I’m gunna scroll through Twitter. I’m falling asleep in a Mooks t-shirt with pajama pants from Kmart. My alarm is set for 5am.
Slept through all my alarms, but that’s ok becauss I set them extremely early.
6.12AM I’m in an Uber. I have had this driver before and I know that because we have a text history together. I’m so tired because I just woke up and didn’t sleep enough. At least it’s a new tired though. At least yesterday’s tired is over and I’m on to a new one
I’m in in the gate lounge waiting to board this plane. I paid $17.50 for a quiche and it was gross. I’m thinking about my comedy festival show and how it’s going to go down. I’m lying on three seats. I’m 160CM tall and I’m taking up three seats like an absolute asshole. Sometimes you’ve just got to lie down. Right now I just need to lie down. I’m ok. Sometimes I just feel exhausted and I wonder why I am doing any of this and then I remember.
Just two years ago I was working at an insurance company call centre, hating my life with no plans of doing anything to change it. Somehow I managed to snap out of it and end up where I am now, doing what I love. No matter how much work I have to do or how many times I have to facepalm and lose money, it’s all worth it. At least I’m not telling someone that their claim is declined because their policy doesn’t cover them if their investment property gets turned into a P-lab by the tenants. At least I’ll never have to get yelled at by someone about that ever again.
Flight attendant wakes me up, the plane has landed. She says,“ excuse me Alice, you’ve soiled yourself and the seat around you and it’s leaking down the aisle.”
Just kidding. That didn’t happen but this needed a funny ending.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.