Jackie Loeb is on the line from Adelaide, taking a break between her gig at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and her Sydney engagement, but she just wants to come home. They do good noodle soups here, she admits, but it’s the city that always sleeps.

I first saw Jackie Loeb perform as part of the Riot Act in the 2000 Mardi Gras Festival, although she’d performed for Mardi Gras previously as part of Funny Farm and Fruit Loops. Loeb’s routine was strong, topped off with vocal impressions that included Toni Childs. This year, her repertoire has expanded to feature Alanis Morissette, Macy Gray and Shakira and she works the audience with boundless ease. It wasn’t always this way -“ according to Loeb, her first forays were even better.

My first gig was about 11 years ago and that was probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever done, says Loeb. Second was pretty good, the third one was good, and then I got progressively worse and worse -¦ So I took six months off and then I started afresh.

It is really, really tough and you’ve got to have a very, very thick skin -¦ I remember doing something about nine years ago -¦ and someone calling out -˜bring back the comedians’, Loeb laughs heartily. Not everybody is going to relate to your humour.

Loeb is versatile enough, however, to have brought her comedy to the televisual worlds of Full Frontal and Beauty And The Beast, and to venues as disparate as Don’t Tell Mama in New York and the Time and Tide Hotel at Dee Why. Loeb admits that her bread and butter is working two or three nights at suburban pubs, with an appropriately catered routine.

[This] is more of a cabaret show, in that I’ll be working with a piano player, and I suppose that kind of thing doesn’t really translate into your suburban pubs -¦ I suppose they want their humour to be a little more fast paced, and I suppose, mainstream, says Loeb.

I really look forward to opportunities where I can be a little bit more experimental.

The show itself is certainly unusual, full of familiar Loebisms such as the vocal impressions, but also featuring an amusing disregard for theatrical convention. Songs are begun and then swiftly and deliberately abandoned; a superfluous prop is introduced, analysed and then discarded. Loeb proudly announces at one point that she believes things are worth doing half-heartedly, or not at all.

It may be a little hit-and-miss, but the hits work beautifully and the crowd lapped it up. Loeb manages to incorporate everything from Target shoplifters to the plight of the Woomera detainees, as well her own version of Charlene’s one-hit-wonder, entitled I’ve Been To Surfers Paradise, But I’ve Never Been To Tempe. And she gets down to her scanties, a tradition that began with her recent support gig with Puppetry Of The Penis.

That was a great gig for me in that the audience was predominantly female and they really took to me, laughs Loeb. I think it’s quite refreshing for them to see someone with my generous proportions, bare just about all. They appreciated that.

 

Jackie Loeb Is Maken Trubull is showing at the Darlinghurst Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point, tonight at 8pm, Friday 31 May at 8pm and 10pm and Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June at 5pm and 8pm. Phone 8356 9987.

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