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carl and me

I spent a night with Carl Barron and he came back in the morning

Kristen Henry

I did stand up comedy at the Canberra Theatre Centre before one of Carl Barron’s gigs and then had the ‘captain of funny’ critique my comedy show, on my radio show the next morning.

He told me I had balls and, at one stage, accidentally touched my bum.

But let me start at the beginning.

I’ve always had a bucket list. A ‘wish list’ if you like of things and experiences I want to do in my lifetime, so that at my funeral they have some excellent stories to tell.

Enter Fashions on the Field at Melbourne Cup, shake Bert Newton’s hand and to go on a cruise and sit at the captains table, to name a few.

The idea is to challenge myself – to feel alive. It’s not necessarily about the outcome, but the process. Well, that’s what I told myself when it came to this item on the list…

To have a crack at stand up comedy.

I pushed this one to the side for years, because it sounds really dreamy, right? How fantastic to get up in front of strangers and for them to listen to you and find your tales hilarious.

Affirm that you’re not alone, that you’re relatable and engaging. Here’s the thing; it’s bloody hard. Not to mention frightening!

There were warm up gigs; a retirement centre (I still have concerns some didn’t have their hearing aids up), Year 8 students at Caldwell High (‘Ya Mum’ jokes are still a hit) and the food court at Westfield Belconnen.

When they told me I’d warm up the crowd for Carl Barron, I panicked. Didn’t sleep, hardly ate and looked high and low for my funny without avail.

When I met Carl, it was nice to hear that he felt the same when he first started. He was a roof tiler who here and there told some jokes. He can’t remember ever having an “ah-ha” moment (as Oprah calls it) where he felt like he’d made it. He slowly, simply became a joke teller who here and there climbed onto roofs.

He loves documentaries. “Did you see that one about the models?” he asks. Before I can answer he flies into a story about young girls overseas who are getting operations to be taller. He’s mesmerised and mesmerising.

When the radio mics were on he joked about being swooped by magpies whilst walking around our lake and told me comedy must be performed at night with alcohol to get the best effect.

Carl with Kristen and Rod from Mix106.3

Carl with Kristen and Rod from Mix106.3

When the mics went off, my co-host Rod and I almost fell off our chairs when he thanked us for the interview. Was he kidding? We all knew he didn’t need the air-time, the guy has sold out shows in Canberra. Also, lets be honest, who would voluntarily get up early when you didn’t have too?

He thanked us for listening. He told us he struggled at times to do interviews or certain shows because he didn’t feel like people took a breath. He questioned at times whether people listened.

Carl Barron helped me find my funny. I think in the process I found Carl Barron’s massive heart.

See Kristen’s brave performance on the steps of the Canberra Theatre here.

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Kristen Henry is a Breakfast radio host for MIX106.3 and can be heard from 5.30am each weekday on “Kristen and Rod for Breakfast”. By night you might catch her on the telly for WIN TV Canberra, where she’s the Entertainment reporter. In her spare time, Kristen teaches dance to little boys and girls, loves to bake up a storm and is slightly addicted to Law and Order SVU. More about the Author

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