Volume 94, Issue 80

Wednesday, February 14, 2001


Wait, where are men from?
kooky comedian answers all

Comedy is stupid, but funny

A revealing look at Japan's new geishas

Wait, where are men from?
kooky comedian answers all

Gazette File Photo
FOR THE LAST TIME, I'M NOT HOLLY COLE! Holly Cole...I mean Wendy Vousden of The Venus Files will be at The Grand Theatre between now and Feb. 17.

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Humour comes easily for a woman who describes herself as "terminally Pollyanna-ish" and whose husband is an acrobatic cyclist. For writer/comedienne Wendy Vousden, life is a regular circus act

Vousden wrote and performs in The Venus Files, which she describes as a celebratory look at love, sex and Harlequin romances. Currently running at the Grand Theatre until Feb. 17, Valentine's Day is perfect for the theme of her show. "It's a happy coincidence that I'm in London. This is the first time I've actually been able to do the show as part of Valentine's week celebrations."

Putting her own possible plans for romance on Valentine's Day aside, Vousden says she just hopes to make the night fun for others. She said her show is appealing for couples and singles alike. "[The show] has a very broad appeal. It's a bit of an antidote to the Hallmark-y crap surrounding Valentine's. It's really looking at real life as opposed to that incredibly hyped up fantasy."

Despite her somewhat cynical view of the holiday itself, Vousden seems happy and settled, especially since she has just signed papers for a new home in Montreal.

"I think having a home now means that I can unpack all the boxes instead of literally living out of a suitcase. I'm travelling all the time, so personally this move will allow me to have all my stuff in one place and to consolidate my work."

Vousden continues, "I've really felt at home in Canada for the very first time since I've been here. I think Canada is still one of the most tolerant societies in the world. "

Vousden's opinion is not an uninformed one either, having toured for 14 years through Canada, North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Her travels have all been part of her work, though, and Vousden says she doesn't really know how she got involved. "I don't know how I ended up in comedy. I was very shy and I still am often very shy."

Vousden's first experience in the industry came when she and some others from the original group Sensible Footwear, answered an advertisement in a magazine in London, England. "I was at arts school and looking into performing," she explained.

Now, with 20 years of experience under her belt, Vousden said her career is cyclical. "In any self employed sort of freelancing career, everything is cyclical. You're up for a few years, you plateau, and then you're on the up again. You have to take those not-so-good times and hope for better ones. I'm terminally Pollyanna-ish – I will always find something to play to my advantage."

She has learned to take the ups and downs of the business in stride and use the bad experiences to make future shows better. "You learn not to take it personally, when sometimes the chemistry between you and the crowd doesn't quite gel. As long as you've prepared and you feel you've done your best, you just have to think that tomorrow night it will work.

"I hope for that time I have with the audience, I can make them laugh and take their minds off the rest of their lives," she continues. "I can't drill people's teeth and get rid of cavities, I'm not a podiatrist, but I can make people laugh. That's my bottom line, and that's how I see my contribution to the world."

When she's not performing The Venus Files, Vousden also does stand-up and radio work. "Ultimately, it is much more pleasurable to work in a theatre, but doing different things helps you to really appreciate what you're doing at the time – it keeps you fresh."

To keep tonight's show fresh, Vousden says she'll be handing out Valentine's cookies to all the singles in the audience. "If I can get those cookies together that will be an achievement, and the best I can do for the day."

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