Quirky songstress back at GAC

Gillian Cosgriff is coming to Geelong Arts Centre this Friday. (Sarah Walker)

By Luke Voogt

She’s the 33-year-old comedian who plays a 14-year-old dead witch and sings about people who use the hashtag ‘#blessed’ without irony.

Now Gillian Cosgriff is heading down the highway for Geelong Arts Centre’s live-streaming series on Friday after postponing her June 5 gig in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.

In a statement that day she said: “there are bigger things at play in the world right now and I do not feel that this is a time for my voice to take up space.”

Prior to cancelling the gig Cosgriff said the show’s small crew would be the “biggest” live audience she had performed for in several weeks due to COVID-19.

“Years of performing to six people at Adelaide Fringe has really prepared me well for this pandemic,” she told the Independent at the time.

Cosgriff had been playing Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for a much larger crowd just weeks before the pandemic hit.

After switching to online gigs when the restrictions came in, she was still getting used to delayed reactions to her jokes and songs.

“I did a corporate gig on Zoom for some physios,” she said.

“I was holding for laughs and would go, ‘oh no! They’re not laughing!’ It’s not a massive delay but it’s just enough that you wobble for a second.

“The thing I love most about stand up comedy is you get feedback straight away – you use the audience as a barometer.”

Just as she was about to soldier on with her next song, she would hear her audience crack up laughing, she said.

Performing for just a camera at Geelong Arts Centre would be even more strange, she said.

Cosgriff planned to do a “little tapas” of her work in her show Sofa So Good, with some new material thrown in.

“If there’s a song that you’ve seen me play, that you want to hear, let me know,” she said.

She was worried one of her new songs would be a “little dark” for a live-streamed show.

“[If] you haven’t tested [material] in front of a live audience, you don’t know if it will land,” she said.

She said she would keep an eye on the comments online instead hoping her new material was a hit.

“Or I’ll make some terrible mistakes, either or. It’s really nice sort of seeing people pop up and ‘arrive’ at the gig.”

Perhaps her biggest endorsement online previously was Pharrell Williams urging his 12 million Instagram followers to check out her cover of Happy, featuring Geelong’s own Robert Tripolino on guitar.

She remembers her reaction to Williams’ video, which her dad texted her with no context whatsoever.

“I jumped in the air, split my jeans and cried tears of joy,” she said.

“Then I wore [the jeans] as a point of pride for the next six months. And because I’m a cheapskate.”

Cosgriff’s stand-up and songs poke fun at anything from 1800s cough medicine to yoga instructors, and her own “ terribly embarrassing” moments.

“I’m just looking at the world and being like, ‘are you guys seeing this?’” she said.

“The way I see it, a good day is good day and a bad day is good story.

“But I get to tell you when you laugh my embarrassing story and people pay money for it. So who’s the real loser? Not me!”

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