I first heard about Jude Perl when the singer from Toehider, my favourite Aussie band, retweeted one of her jokes on Twitter. I followed her instantly as it was the funniest Twitter account I had ever seen (that was before Donald Trump started using it too). I instantly became a huge fan of her music, which at the time was just the EP 3am and some sick-ass covers on Youtube (Virtual Insanity, anyone?). I was blown away. When she started acting, I was in France, far away from any show she was doing in Melbourne, but I followed her closely on social medias and Youtube. A few years ago, Jude Perl got into music comedy. I see her as a female version of Tim Minchin, a very specific but at the same time broad form of art I had never seen in France, my home country.
My top 3 favourite recent tracks would be “Is it Just Me?” the cute and absurd “Our Love: a Power Ballad” and above all, the mildly politically engaged “I’m a good person” in which you inevitably will recognise yourself. Or is it just me?
I’m pretty excited about going to my very first Melbourne Comedy Festival this year (from March 29th to April 23rd). Hundreds of comedians from all over the world playing in Australia’s cultural capital city (yep that’s us, sorry Sydney). And I got ten times more excited to see that Jude was going to be there again this year. It took me a few minutes to ‘instant buy’ tickets and I found myself halfway into writing her a message begging her to accept to talk to Lot’s Wife. Here we are. She said yes.
Hey Jude, how are you today?
Jude Perl: I am feeling good and mildly gassy.
That’s awesome…I guess. You were Monash student, that’s pretty cool. What did you study and what kind of memories do you have from Monash University?
Jude Perl: Yes indeed, I studied music at Monash. I have lots of happy, strange and emotionally erratic memories of Uni. My best memories from Monash were playing in the funk ensemble (which is as cool as it sounds) which was run by Tony Floyd (amazing drummer and all round magnetic ball of energy). I learnt an enormous amount about musicianship, song writing and performing from Tony Floyd.
Cool! Were you a good student? And, most importantly, did you know about Lot’s Wife?
Jude Perl: My grades got steadily worse over the duration of my course, I’d say on average I was a solid 6 out of 10 student. I did not know about Lot’s Wife and I am currently filled with regret for that.
It’s not too late to start reading it! You’re a comedian as well as a singer-songwriter, musician and the face of a sugar company. When did you start music and when did you start acting?
Jude Perl: I started performing (playing piano and singing) while I was in high school. I was constantly changing my mind with what I wanted to do when I was younger, eventually I focused on music and started doing gigs and working as a musician. I did some acting in school and I loved it, but like my previous answer, my enthusiasm probably exceeded my skill. I was always obsessed with comedy, and had secretly wanted to do that since I knew what stand up comedy was. I did it for the first time in 2014 and it just seemed to make sense to combine my passion for music and comedy.
From your videos and presence on social media, you seem to be a nerdy oddball. You always point at the weirdest stuff in everyday life in an interesting way, just as if you were an alien watching us from afar. Would you say you’re playing a character or are you really an eccentric person?
Jude Perl: I think I’m mostly being myself. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not really sure who I am. I promise I’m not an alien. Or maybe I am. I don’t know. I need to sit down.
So in 2012, you’ve released an EP called 3am and the single “Girls and Boys” became pretty big. How did you feel about that reception?
Jude Perl: It was really exciting, especially it being my first single, first EP, first video. I loved getting to do the interview and live performance on Fox FM.
I feel like “Girls & Boys” was the first song I wrote that was dipping my toes into being a bit silly with songwriting, which eventually lead to music comedy. I’m really grateful and proud for how it turned out.
Recently you’ve sold your soul and your image to the Sugar Company, who financed your debut album Modern Times. How was this experience?
Jude Perl: I am contractually obligated to tell you that working with the Sugar Co has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and without their help I’d probably be repeatedly walking into piles of sawdust for no reason.
OK that’s…very interesting. Can you tell us about your new show, Roommates: the musical?
Jude Perl: Yes. Yes I can. So this is my third solo comedy show, I’ll be performing twelve shows from April 11th – 23rd at the Malthouse Theatre. The show explores how different parts of ourselves interact using the metaphor of a share house.
Do you have any inspirations or heroes at the moment in the Melbourne scene?
Jude Perl: As you know, I’m a massive fan of Toehider [note: a progressive rock band from Melbourne] and I’m super excited for the new album coming out this year. There are so many comedians in Melbourne that I love, and especially leading up to the Comedy Festival next month, so much to choose from. I especially love Anne Edmonds, the Chimp Cop crew (Adam Knox, Timothy Clark, Rosie and Ben Vernel), Kirsty Webeck, Celia Pacquola, David Quirk, … ahhhh there’s too many to mention!
For our readers who don’t know anything about you, what would you suggest they check out first?
Jude Perl: I have a few playlists on my Youtube channel (youtube.com/judeperl). One of them is called ‘Jude Perl: Selling Out’ and the other is ‘Jude Perl: Comedy (live)’ If you don’t like any of the videos on these playlists, then your standards are just ruthlessly high and we can’t be friends.
I’ll definitely be checking them all out as soon as I’m home. For those who can’t wait, can I put you on the spot and ask you to tell us a lame joke?
Jude Perl: Alright. This is the first joke I remember writing as a teenager: “There are people out there who will have sex with anything that moves… But I say, why limit yourself?” I’m not proud of it… I’m sorry…. please come to my show, I promise I’ve gotten better.
Yeah you have gotten better. We’ve been talking about your past at Monash and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival happening now. What about your future plans? More music? More comedy? Both? Or maybe something different?
Jude Perl: I’m mostly focussing on comedy and music comedy at the moment, I have been enjoying it immensely. Without sounding cliché, I feel like I can actually be myself and say the things I want to say in the comedy world.
That’s awesome. I’m looking forward seeing you doing more and more stuff, and of course handing you a hard copy of Lot’s Wife Issue 2 at your April shows!