Improv, Comedy, Women, Melbourne and everything in between.
I write these posts as a diary of sorts, so I can look back at each year and see where I was at. I’m going to be more honest and go into more detail in this year’s recap, because it was a huge year and I feel less precious about the details of my life. I’m trying to be less private.
January started with my brother’s beautiful wedding. I was nannying, exercising a lot, improvising, and writing a Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) show with my comedy soul mates (Trillcumber). The show, Paradise, was a narrative sketch show, which was an exciting challenge for us as a sketch group. Oh – and I was preparing for a month in Chicago in June.
Same as January for the most part – nannying, exercising, writing an MICF show and having giggles in between. At the very end of February, however, the woman I nannied for let me know she’d quit her job and no longer needed a nanny. As I walked out the front door of their house, I scrolled through Instagram. There was a post by a place I used to intern for called Venuemob, and they were on the hunt for a Content Producer. I messaged my former intern supervisor/now friend, and asked if I could apply (I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable). She said yes, so I did.
Comedy Festival is imminent. I have two interviews for the Venuemob Content Producer role. I get the job, I start on March 16th. Two weeks away from Comedy Fest. I get used to working full-time and rehearsing for Comedy Fest (and still performing and training for improv). I get home at 12am most nights and get up at 6:30 to go to work. I am tired. Comedy Fest starts, and Paradise is great. I have to cancel my Chicago trip due to work.
March and April tend to merge into each other every year for me, due to Comedy Fest. Paradise was ten shows stretched over four weeks, so it was not a super exciting experience. It was just there every weekend over those two months. But I’m proud of the show, and always cherish working with Mario, Simon and Ryan (Trillcumber). I’m slowly getting depressed during April but I’m too busy to notice how miserable I am. At the very end of April, I’m sitting with friends, talking about how cool it’d be to move into to my sort-of-friend Taylor’s place, as she was looking for a housemate. One of my friends says, “So why don’t you?” and I went home, a little drunk, and told my parents I’m moving out.
I’m exhausted, depressed, hurt, and out of inspiration after the first two months of full-time work AND Comedy Fest. I decided, since I was moving out of home at the end of May, to improvise less/hang out less at the improv theatre, and just spend time with my family on the weekends and get over the depression. It was a tough month getting over FOMO, fraying friendships and not hanging around the theatre so much. But it was important for me to remove myself for a while so I could reset. I date a problematic guy for no less than two weeks because alarm bells go off in my head about how dependent this dude is. Work is fine, I’m getting into it at this stage. I go on other dates with nice people, but mostly keep to myself. I move out of home for the first time, and into a beautiful apartment in South Yarra with Taylor. OH and I register a solo show for Melbourne Fringe in September, which is a terrifying challenge.
I get used to living out of home, and for two weeks I can walk to work! Then my work moves offices to an amazing co-working space in Collingwood, so I catch the bus instead. At this stage (but for all of the first half of the year, to be honest) I’m SUPER into Tinder and Happn. I really enjoy just seeing people, chatting to people and not being anxious about dates. I run into someone I actually already know on Tinder (well, this happens a lot) and we start talking, and eventually go on a date – and more dates after that. The dates are great. She’s from the same improv theatre as me but we haven’t had much to do with each other aside from witty exchanges up until this point.
I’m still dating the fellow improviser, and it’s delightful – she’s delightful. I feel no pressure, I’m still seeing other people, and I don’t feel tied down at all. Work is stressful, but fine. It’s always just… kind of fine. My boss (and friend) keeps talking about this guy she’s taking an improv class with. He’s an animator, and she shows me his work. It’s super good. I realise I desperately need promotion for my Fringe show, so it briefly crosses my mind that this guy could help. On the last weekend of July, I was lying in bed with the person I was seeing and I felt nothing. I felt lonely and empty. I bawled my eyes out that afternoon, I’m not sure why. I just felt very sad. That night, my housemate and I start watching Stranger Things, which lifts my mood. I live-tweet about it, and Dale – the animator who was friends with my boss – favourited my tweets. He’d started following me a few months ago and I had no idea he was the guy from improv. I’d also introduced myself to him twice at this point, and kept forgetting. The next day I messaged him to help me with promotion.
Dale and I meet up for a beer to discuss what I want from the collaboration. We discuss making short animations for my character, Cindy Salmon, for about 15 minutes, then we start discussing our other mutual interests – of which there are plenty. For the next week, there is barely a waking moment I’m not thinking about him. It’s ABSURD. We message a lot during August and meet up for drinks to discuss progress, and I have the biggest crush on him. As always, work is fine. I dunno.
It’s Fringe month. I’m the most anxious I’ve been in my life (so far). I have a near anxiety-attack at work and get sent home. I spend my lunch breaks working on my solo show. My show kicks off and it’s so fun, and I no longer get anxiety about it. But September is a stressful, stressful month.
I finish Fringe, and it was a success. Dale and I finally go an actual date, and I take a risk and kiss him at the end of the date. Then we start legitimately dating. It’s nice to get back to focussing on work without a show or improv looming over my head.
Really focussing on work now, which is good. I apply for a Festival Managed Venue at Comedy Fest 2017, which is a really tough thing to get. I end up getting accepted for an amazing venue, so I register my solo show again. I’m getting used to exclusivity in a new relationship with Dale at this point, it’s nice.
I’m running 4km every morning before work, I have a boyfriend, my mood is up, and I’m passionate about my job. My amazing housemate throws a not-so-surprise party for me for my birthday, which is so caring (because I hate surprises). All my favourite people are there, and she makes the pasta I always make. It’s a truly Hayley event, thrown by someone else. Work goes on break around mid-december, so I have some time off which is AMAZING. New year’s eve is fun for the most part, aside from an anxiety attack on my part. I leave a big, amazing, roller-coaster year behind and feel inspired about 2017.
Personal MVPs of 2016
Taylor – my housemate, my friend, and my family. She’s truly kind, accommodating, hilarious, and all round gorgeous. She’s become a sister to me.
Mario – we get lunch every week because we work around the corner from one another and discuss mental health, rap, comedy, relationships, creative careers and dreams, on top of all the other things we have in common. Mario is my bestfriend and he’s so important to me.
Dale – an amazing guy who came into my life when I really needed it. And, he’s my first actual boyfriend, which is super new for me. He is so kind, talented, funny and caring. I’m super lucky.
Simon – for directing my solo show, always pushing me to be better and always being there for me. Especially on New Year’s Eve. A true favourite of mine. There is no one more genuine, kind, and hilarious as Simon.
Reb – my boss and my friend. Reb pushes me damn hard at work, and then we snap back to being friends in social hours. I respect her so much, and I’ve looked up to her since I was an intern. We also have amazing deep chats and look at pics of dogs together.
My family – the greatest. I love them so much.
Clarissa – my bestfriend. She’s so beautiful and a perfect friend. I don’t deserve her.
Jess – for the good times, the caring, and the friendship that came from a beautiful thing.
Glasshouse scented candles – my one true love. Thanks for lighting up my 2016.
And many, MANY more beautiful souls who have filled my year with joy. Thank you.
2017 sees me doing my solo show at an incredible venue for Melbourne International Comedy Festival, getting back into improv and writing (for this blog!), and nurturing my wonderful friendships/collaborating with amazing people.
If you’ve read this far, yikes. Congrats to you. This post is gratuitous and masturbatory. Kudos for getting to the end of it. I hope you have an incredible 2017. Go get ’em!