Cheeky Kate is ready for comedy festival's Gladstone stop

ON THE ROAD: Kate McLennan’s keen to head to Gladstone for some knee-slapping fun.
ON THE ROAD: Kate McLennan’s keen to head to Gladstone for some knee-slapping fun. Contributed

THE 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is stopping in at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on Sunday, May 11.

One comedian who is very excited is Kate McLennan, an actress and stand-up performer who will have you in stitches.

Kate is the only female on the tour, joining Adam Rozenbachs, Greg Behrendt, Elbow Skin, Nath Valvo and Amos Gill, set to visit pubs and venues all over Australia.

The Observer caught up with Kate this week in Melbourne, on her break from performing.

Q. Tell us about the roadshow.

A. It's my third time doing the roadshow. It's a bit exciting when you get a tap on the shoulder for it.

Q. Describe yourself in one sentence.

A. I'm a bit cheeky, I look like I shouldn't be saying the things that I'm saying. I may seem very cute and innocent but I'm not.

I'm 34, getting old.

Q. Was comedy a career path you wanted to follow when you were younger?

A. I always wanted to do performing. I kept getting cast into comedy roles and one of my friends said after about four years of doing that, "you know you are good at comedy?" It was one of those times when it takes someone else to tell you what you are good at.

I've been an actress for 13 years. Only in the past few years I've been doing stand-up.

My mum and dad are wondering when I'll give it up and get a real career!

Q. Is it tough always trying to make people laugh?

A. I suppose the more you do it, the more you learn what routine to do in what environment.

Some gigs I won't have any nerves but sometimes they will kick in a bit. It doesn't hurt to have a sip of red wine before you go on stage to settle the nerves.

Q. Any obstacles you've had to overcome?

The challenge is to just keep going. When you are on your own, there's no-one to high five you on your way out of a good or bad gig.

I actually did a gig at a high school, and it was Best Comics' Worst Gigs. My car broke down on my way to the gig, which was all about being a loser at school. I finally get to this school and it was hot and I was crying. It was one of those days where everything went wrong. A hundred kids were staring at me. I was the loser at school.

Q. Where do you get material from?

A. I'm always eavesdropping on conversations on public transport. When I'm out at family events I listen in on the jokes and everyone says, "you're not writing that down are you?". You never switch off.

Q. What other plans have you got this year?

A. Hopefully in October I will start a new online project. It's a piss-take cooking show called Catering and I am doing it with my friend Kate. She has a lot of eating requirements and I make her eat a whole lot of stuff she can't.

I'm just doing little bits and pieces of stand-up. The year is starting to fill up.

I'm at the stage where I should have kids but, on a roadshow, it's not the ideal place to have a kid. I keep pretending I'm 26, I'm still having a good time. I'll do all that stuff in two years.

Q. Why do you love what you do?

A. It has to be the people I work with, there's some funny idiots around. And you can't beat standing in a room of people you don't know and making them laugh.

I use a lot of stuff that comes from dealing with mum and dad. People relate to what you are saying - I really love that.

Q. Been to Gladstone before?

A. When I was 22, mum, dad, my sister and I came to Queensland in a caravan. We stayed at Agnes Water/1770 on the beach and it was beautiful. We got a boat out to Lady Musgrave Island and we vomited the whole way.

It will be nice to come back in a professional capacity.

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