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Claire Hooper: Crazy stuff happens at Fringe

Festivals

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Some of the best nights of my life have been in Adelaide.

I can’t discuss most of them because too many respectable people are involved in too many evenings of out-of-character, unsavoury behaviour. Including myself.

I think that’s the magic of this particular city.  Shit gets cray at Adelaide Fringe. For example, one Sydney friend spent just 24 hours in town and found herself at midnight dancing under a bridge to the drumming of a group of painted, half-naked, LSD-affected middle-aged people. I wasn’t there for that one, but I, too, have had some truly off-the-hook moments late at night during the Fringe.

My most shameful moment in Adelaide actually happened during daylight hours.

I knew life would change when I had a baby, but in June last year she was only four months old and I was still in denial. I had dragged her with me for a run of comedy shows around SA and finished with a Sunday afternoon show at the Arkaba.

Afternoon – a great time for a baby! I could take her along, pop her in someone’s arms while I was on stage, and barely have to be away from her.

Could somebody please travel back in time and explain to me what a bad idea that was?

So much screaming. There was nowhere in the venue that she couldn’t hear my voice, because it was amplified, and nowhere in the venue where we couldn’t hear her voice, because she’s a baby and can scream as loud as a microphone. And, of course, she was screaming; she could hear me swearing nearby and yet for some reason I wasn’t picking her up.

I was booked to do 40 minutes but I’m pretty sure everyone there wished it was over after five.

Earlier that day I’d been in the Goodwood Road Salvos and bought myself a mug that said World’s Greatest Mum for $1. I kept thinking of that mug while I was on stage, wondering if I should return it and get my dollar back.

I kept the mug. I’m bringing it with me to Fringe 2015 to remind me not to bring the baby to any gigs. And I’d recommend you leave yours at home, too, because it’s Adelaide Fringe and shit gets cray.

Comedian Claire Hooper’s new show recalls the weird and wonderful world of school camp, from illicit hook-ups and Kumbaya, to collapsing tents and dehydrated mashed potato. She will be performing School Camp in The Cupola, Garden of Unearthly Delights, from March 2-15.

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