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It won her Best Australian Act in Sydney and Perth and she was nominated for Best Comedy at Melbourne and the Adelaide Fringe last year, too. 

“I want to talk about stuff that’s important to me, but I don’t want to preach at people,” Ward explains. “So if I’m as honest as I can be, you’re either going to laugh at me and feel relieved it’s not you, or you might connect with what I’m saying. 

“And that can be something as earnest as, ‘I had a drinking problem’, or as grotesque as the joke I make about going to the beautician and her asking if I want my toes waxed, and me saying, ‘No, stick to the arrangement, a half leg and my arsehole is fine.’ “There are always two women in the audience who laugh a lot louder than they want to at that.”

Perhaps it’s unsurprising Ward has so deftly turned tragedy into comedy – seems she just can’t help being funny. After all, stand-up was never part of the plan. 

“I’d wanted to be a serious actor,” she reveals. “I was a failed actor for a really long time. But since doing my very first stand-up gig [in 2008] I’ve never had to do anything else, which is extraordinary.” 

An example of this natural knack for clowning? “I’ve slipped on a banana peel twice in my life, and no one was there to see it.”

There remains an element of personal struggle in the new show debuting in Edinburgh, Irregardless, which touches on the anxiety attacks Ward suffered after her first Fringe performances in Scotland (she admits to “bawling” in the aftermath of particularly harsh heckles). But it’s not all gags from gloom.“

The themes are: stand-up is a ridiculous job, I had some anxiety and I love junkies,” she decides. “I did previews in Perth a few months ago and it was fucking great. It’s not a strict narrative like Hedgehog, so I was like, oh yeah, this is stand-up, talking to the audience and being a dickhead. Being a nob really is my specialty. A loose-cannon nob.”

Irregardless marks both the end of Ward’s difficult Hedgehog chapter and the beginning of a new one, its more happy-go-lucky vibe coinciding with a decision to settle in London and make a go of it here. 

“I want to get better and be as good as I can be, so it’s exciting being surrounded by the level of competition and opportunity [in London],” she says. “Hopefully I’ll thrive in that environment rather than get sucked under and overwhelmed.”

So long as there are no banana peels lying in wait, we reckon Ward will be standing tall. 

The Hedgehog Dilemma. June 20-22. 
£10+  Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE  
Tube | Tottenham Court Road


Interview - Felicity Ward: ''Im a loose-cannon nob' says the Aussie comedian
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