Adelaide Fringe Q&A: Felicity Ward

The stand-up discusses returning to Adelaide and landing the lead role in The Office

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 4 minutes
Published 01 Mar 2024
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Felicity Ward image courtesy of the Garden of Unearthly Delights

This is your first tour in five years. With a show titled I’m Exhausting we assume you haven’t been resting for all that time – what can audiences expect from the show?
Oh, I’ve spent plenty of time on my arse, don’t you worry about that. But let me tell you what audiences are not gonna get: a message, a storyline, a heartfelt moment, a guide to being mentally well, a casserole recipe.

All I’m interested in is making people laugh until they weep. Or wet themselves. A soiled seat is the biggest compliment I could get. Having said that, someone dislocated their jaw in one of my shows once. And while I was sympathetic, I was absolutely delighted.  

You’ve had a lot of success at the Edinburgh Fringe over the years, are you looking forward to returning to Adelaide Fringe and how do the two compare? 

I would say the biggest difference between the two festivals is that in Adelaide I can wash my hair in my hotel room and it will be dry by the time I’ve walked to the Garden of Unearthly Delights. In Edinburgh, I wash my hair in my hotel room and it will be dry by the time I get back to London a month later and even then it will smell like wet dog. I love Edinburgh, but Adelaide is a carnie festival in a park. What’s not to love? 

How was supporting Maria Bamford on tour?

It was like being an elf and welcoming Santa Claus to stage every night. A dream come true. She’s my idol. 
You’ve spoken about anxiety in past shows and in your 2014 documentary Felicity’s Mental Mission. Have you noticed a change in audience reactions on the subject of mental health compared to earlier in your career? 
Oh completely. Number one, everyone talks about it now on stage. No one winces, or is worried if a comic talks about their mental illness. When I did it felt tense, and I had to relax the audience with jokes. And I also want to recognise that Maria Bamford and Ruby Wax and Luisa Omielan were all talking about it before me. 

I talk about anti-depressants and post-natal depression a little bit now (I’ve graduated from my Generalised Anxiety Disorder lol).

Congratulations on landing the lead role in The Office! The UK and American versions of the sitcom are strikingly different in tone: David Brent is an egotistical prat, whereas Michael Scott is more childlike. How would you describe your character Hannah Howard and is the new sitcom distinctively Australian? 

I would describe her as an absolute chump. Which is the best variation of dickhead to play. As for whether the show is distinctively Australian, well you’ll just have to watch and see (I think I’m contractually obliged to keep my mouth shut about it until it comes out).

How is the new show reflecting changes to office life in a world still reeling from the pandemic?
To answer a question you haven’t asked, yes I did carry a bluetooth speaker in my handbag on set so between takes I could pump music for everyone to hear. The thing about being the lead in the show is I wasn’t sure if people were genuinely enjoying me dancing and singing and being an idiot, or if they just didn’t want to say anything to bring me down. MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO ME!

And finally, how is your inner-critic or, as you sometimes call her, Beryl?

As always she’s as loud as I am sad. I’ll say this, when I get to Adelaide Fringe, I’ll barely hear her at all. 



Felicity Ward: I'm Exhausting, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, until 17 March