From stripper to crude and funny comedian

Suffer Fools!
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Performer: Fern Brady
Venue: ACMI
Until: April 22
Rating: ★★★½


A loud, slightly unhinged and boisterous ex-stripper turned comedian, Fern Brady chronicles chapters of her life in an unabashed and brazen manner in her Australian debut show, Suffer Fools!.

Fern Brady

Brady has moved on from being the “worst stripper the UK had ever seen” and is transitioning into a loud, funny comic who recounts her tales with crude language and a thick, “working-class” Scottish accent.

The 31-year-old discussed working as a stripper to fund her Islamic and Arabic history degree at Edinburgh university; stalking a skinny socialite; fantasies about her tiny Irish boyfriend; and serving breakfast to sex offenders in a halfway house.

“I think pedophiles like eggs because it’s the youngest you can eat an animal that’s still socially acceptable,” the comedienne said with a sly smile.

Brady is a strong minded, quick-witted and well-read feminist whose show shines in the wake of the #metoo movement.

The young comic critiqued Joanna Lumley’s comment that wolf-whistling is a compliment by comparing it to being dry-wanked over on public transport.

“I’m supposed to react like a southern belle,” Brady said, pretending to swoon while being harassed on the London underground.

She also tackled topics including abortion, sexual assault, and being “a little bit mental”.

“I’ve been mental since before it was cool,” Brady said, attributing her ruthless honesty and lack of social etiquette to undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome.

The show started a little slow and the audience took a while to warm up to the tall Scottish woman on stage.

Brady opened with deadpan delivery and demeanour, however, as the show wore on she became more animated, embracing her aggressive personality and assertive charisma.

The show focused on anecdotes described in gory detail and crass language, including her drunken trips home akin to “a Greek odyssey”, which involved the brunette “spewing down [her] tits”.

While anecdotes and life stories were the theme, Brady’s one liners bumped the audience’s energy, although often were not given the attention they deserved.

“The Catholic contraception method … my skin’s never looked better,” Brady said, pausing for the audience to catch on.

Brady’s stories were not always laugh-out-loud hilarious, yet always interesting in their absurdity and compelling in their coverage.

Oh, and the fantasies about her tiny Irish boyfriend? They involved pushing her fingers into his eye sockets.