Quirky Perl-er of a show under the big top roof

Jude Perl. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

Jude Perl has been confusing audiences for years.

“It’s probably just because I’m very bad at marketing,” she told the Independent.

Perl folds up for easy storage under the bed and with misplaced musical talents and low-fat air-frying technology, she is a household name in up to seven homes, according to her online bio.

The quirky singer-songwriter, described by some as a blend of Tim Minchin and Katy Perry, is on her way to Geelong with new show I Have a Face next Thursday.

“I love coming to Geelong – I’m super excited,” she said.

“This show was booked in a year ago.”

Despite the pandemic postponing that show and halting live performance, she has enjoyed her online gigs “trying to write musicals” and taking suggestions from her fans.

She also just finished shooting a pilot for an original series, which includes new music video Hungry and Horny.

“[The series] is about a jingle writer that wants to be a popstar and it’s got lots of crazy music videos,” she said.

A keen observer and “over-thinker”, Perl loves poking fun at society, pop culture and social media virtue signallers in her “stream of consciousness” songs.

In her track Good Person she sings: “I’m a good person. I do good person things. Not with my actions but with my thoughts and my beliefs.”

Another track, Hamish, follows a schoolgirl crush turned stalking with a fun ’80s disco beat.

“Even when I don’t mean to, I think I write like someone who has too many thoughts,” she said.

Born in Texas, Perl grew up in Melbourne learning piano, but only really got into playing after discovering jazz and names like Marvin Gaye, Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder in high school.

She also credits a teacher who “kind of forced me into music in that caring-aggressive Jewish way”.

She played in cover gigs and different bands, until a friend entered the Raw Comedy competition in 2014.

“I got playfully competitive and thought, ‘if he can enter raw comedy I can’,” she said.

“It was like scratching an itch that I didn’t know I had.”

She also learned about herself performing musical comedy.

“Depression and anxiety are my mental health issue of choice,” she explained.

“Anxiety snuck up on me in my 20s. I realised not everybody has this barrage of thoughts.

“It’s a fun way to find out you have anxiety; in front of an audience of hundreds. That’s the fun thing about comedy; it teaches you things about yourself.

“The draw to comedy for me is it feels like the audience is there to listen a bit more to what you’re saying rather than just the music.

“You can talk about darker things and, if you do that with a comical aspect, people get on board. There’s a bit more of an allowance to be honest about yourself.”

Perl was “extremely happy” to return to live performing late last year and looked forward to playing at the big top in Rippleside Park.

“I hope people enjoy the mental health bangers in the show,” she said.

Although she warned her promotional photo of a recently-deceased stuffed cat would have little to do with the show.

“The photographer hired it for the shoot,” she said.

“I didn’t know this until the day but it was a family cat.

“If you like taxidermy cats you might be disappointed because the cat doesn’t appear. But I do talk about a cat.”

Details: geelongartscentre.org.au/whats-on

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