Fearless Comedy - The Chronicle

Fearless Comedy, The Chronicle, September 6

For one night, on the Canberra Theatre stage, a bevy of Australia’s top comedians came to tell stories, sing and dance.

Penny Greenhalgh showed how to ice skate without ice, using only an audience volunteer for balance. Sammy J sang in praise of nerds. Vanessa Conlin rhapsodised about single life in family-friendly Canberra. Adam Richard and Juliet Moody borrowed audience members’ phones and created songs using their text messages.

Last week’s Fearless Comedy Gala was an unusual event – a comedy night to raise money for the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service. By performing for free, the entertainers showed their commitment to this significant cause.

In the words of organiser Juliet Moody, herself a survivor of family violence, ‘There is no fear in real love.’

In Canberra, family violence crisis services are often overstretched and underfunded. They do extraordinary work helping those who are fleeing family violence to find safety and help put their lives back together.

We also need to do more as a community to address the causes of family violence. There are plenty of great topics for comedy. But when you hear someone making jokes about violence against women, the right response is to speak out, not chuckle and turn away. Sexism doesn’t always turn into violence – but violence against women always has its roots in sexism.

In coming years, I hope that Juliet Moody and her fellow comedians will make the Fearless Comedy Gala a true Canberra institution. As for the rest of us, we may not be bold enough to do stand-up comedy, but we can be brave enough to stand up and speak out against family violence.

The 24-hour crisis line for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service is 6280 0900.

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