LUCY, JUDITH: BAD EGGS
EGGED ON LUCY
She’s exploited her personal life for cash like there’s no tomorrow, Judith Lucy admits to Andrew L. Urban, although in Bad Eggs she plays a good egg - with principles. She feels egged on by the experience, but worried that her current good fortune may mean the end of eggsellent new material for her stand up routines.
It’s complicated enough being called Judith Lucy but playing a character called Julie is almost like playing a joke on your own name. Lucy would never resile from such a jest; in Bad Eggs, she plays “a perhaps scrambled” but an otherwise good egg, a well intentioned, character - with a lot of principles. “Very different to me, of course,” quips Lucy dryly, one of Australia’s leading stand up comics (she prefers ‘comedian’).
Bad Eggs is a comedy set amongst the Victorian police force, where a couple of undercover cops (played by Mick Molloy and Bob Franklin) sniff out corruption at the highest levels (like Bill Hunter’s Inspector Pratt). “Ludicrous, of course,” shrieks Lucy, “where did Tony Martin (writer/director) get such a notion?!”
"A face for comedy, some might say"
Her crimpled dark hair - a trademark by now – tops off a face noted for displaying its owner’s apparently perpetual disappointment with life. A face for comedy, some might say. And true enough, she’s had her share of traumas, including the loss of her adopted parents, and the surprise revelation earlier that she had been adopted. But as she admits, these have fuelled her routines.
“I’ve exploited my personal life for cash like there’s no tomorrow,” she concedes with the polished delivery of someone who’s exploited their personal life for cash like there was no tomorrow. “It’s a pity that my parents died in the past few years because they were a gold mine…Yes, I guess I’ve always been attracted to comedy that’s based in truth. And I have absolutely no imagination, which is the other problem,” she adds deadpan. Her success depends on her failures, in a way. “It’s a Catch 22, I know!”
And there’s her problem: “I’m currently very happy, I’m in a very good relationship, so I think my career’s pretty much over. Let’s hope the acting thing takes off.”
Judith Lucy is indeed having a ball. She’s co-starred in two feature films now, both with her good mates, like Mick Molloy, who wrote and directed (and costarred with her) in Crackerjack, and now joins her in Bad Eggs. “I’ve known these people for years, and enjoy having a drink with them as much as anything else,” she says.
"you’d turn up for work and you’d be surrounded by
On top of that, she adds, “I’ve been able to work with Bill Hunter who’s an absolute legend and boy can that man put a drop away. So you’d turn up for work and you’d be surrounded by buddies…” (And drink?) The only downside, she says, is that working with friends you feel even more the pressure not to let them down.
But making films is totally different to her usual work environment as a stand up comic. “I’m used to doing stand up comedy where basically you turn up at the venue and if people give you a kick in the head you’re really quite grateful. So to go from that to go to a gig where you’re picked up with a driver in a car, people make you look glamorous, you get FREE FOOD! – boy I love it!”
Lucy always wanted to act. Seriously. “I auditioned for NIDA – and not only didn’t I get in, but NIDA also told me I needed to have an operation on my nose. That was terrific: not only do we think you’re not talented, we think you should have major surgery.” This might have been a devastating and discouraging watershed in Lucy’s life. She wasn’t so easily deterred. “I’d left Perth for Melbourne and was seeing a lot of comics, so I thought well, I’m enough of an egomaniac that I still want to perform, but I don’t think the acting is going to pan out. At least with comedy you can make your own work.”
So it seems ironic to Lucy that she’s now doing interviews about her “movies” plural; even a movie career, perhaps. “I never thought that sentence would ever come out of anyone’s mouth. And yes, I’d love to do more acting.”
In her eagerness to please her filmmaker friends, Lucy picked up a couple of books on acting. “One of the best books I read was by David Mamet, and the whole gist of it was ‘just be in the moment, play the objective, don’t get too fancy,’” so that’s what she tried to do; simple.
"It takes you out of your own head"
Working on films reminded Lucy how passionate she’d been about acting when she was a kid. “It takes you out of your own head, I think that’s the thing I enjoyed most about acting. You really have to be there and can’t think about anything else that’s going on in your life. It’s a fantastic feeling. The other thing is that doing stand up comedy is a lonely old job, and I love having a team around on a film set.”
Published July 24, 2003
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... with Mick Molloy