By Cheryl Till

Why comedy? Where did your interests come from? 

Comedy isn’t something that I thought I’d be doing when I first got into performing. I was very serious about a career in musical theatre. I was obviously going to go to Broadway and win heaps of Tonys. But, as it took me a while to realise, a) I can’t dance and b) I’m a pretty shit actor. When I was in first year uni, I saw posters for the Melbourne University Law Revue (a sketch comedy cult that created the likes of Working Dog Productions, Magda Szubanski and other legends. One of the best things that’s ever happened to me). I auditioned, got in, and got laughed at. That was it.

What led you to use music in comedy?

I’ve always sung. I was a precocious child who used to make my very obliging parents sit through a lot of youth theatre productions (shout out to Mama and Papa Tovey). I studied Classical Voice at The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, and was studying this at the same time that I got in to comedy. It was a happy marriage of worlds.

What are the inspirations behind your operatic rock style?

I grew up listening to a lot of Meatloaf in the car with my dad. I know that Meatloaf was so bad at the Grand Final we had to do it again, but Meatloaf is fucking awesome and I will not hear otherwise.

Why did you choose to use comedy as a way to express ideas of feminism?

Comedy has always given voice to minorities and the disenfranchised. I completely acknowledge my privilege as a white woman (I went to a private school and work in the performing arts. I ooze privilege out of every orifice). Let’s be honest, white women have done a piss poor job in fully engaging with intersectional feminism. I hope that I use my comedy as a means of exposing this problem and expressing positive feminist ideals. Also, people laugh at something when they recognise something within themselves. If you’re laughing at my show, that’s more telling than if you’re yelling at me from your car

Do you consider yourselves feminists?


What do you think of the accusation that feminism has reached the end of its usefulness in the movement towards more group action that has the tendency to lose sight of the original philosophy?

If I may be frank, that is utter bullshit. Feminism has a long way to go, and many goals to achieve. I take issue with the idea of an “original philosophy”. Feminism as a movement is an evolving thing, and its core philosophy does and should move with the changes in the political landscape and acknowledgement of progress in gender theory.

Do you think that the current political landscape is having an impact on the injustices in the world, especially in Western culture?

I sure as hell hope so. One thing that we can learn from the actions of those leading the movement at the moment is that we can’t afford to be complacent. We need to stay vigilant and fight hard. I’ll never stop fighting. Granted my fighting is through high notes and dick jokes, but it’s fighting none the less.


Alice Tovey's show at Sydney Comedy Festival is on the 12th and 13th of May. Don't miss out on your chance, buy tickets here.