Urzila Carlson has spent a lot of time in hotel quarantine and lockdown over the past 18 months.
Dividing her time between hotel rooms in Australia and New Zealand and watching her hair return to its natural state has given the award-winning comedian a lot of time to think.
Her musings have formed the basis for a new show, It's Personal, which she's bringing to Australia in 2022.
"I'm just going to flop it all out on this tour, pretend I'm on a TikTok story and discuss all of the stuff that I personally find funny and what's been happening to me, personally," she says from - you guessed it - a hotel room in New Zealand. Auckland, to be exact.
"People don't realise this, but Auckland's weather is tropical, it gets very humid here, so I have this massive grey bush on my head. You should see my regrowth," she remarks, pointing the camera at an impressive head of hair via Zoom.
"Yeah, I know, I've got massive hair. I get it chemically straightened once every six months.
"They're talking about opening the hairdressers soon and I can't bloody wait."
Carlson has become one of the biggest names in comedy in Australia and New Zealand. It's Personal arrives hot on the heels of her last tour Token African, as well as her hour-long Netflix comedy special Overqualified Loser (released in 190 countries) and Comedians of the World.
She was the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival's People's Choice award-winner and has been a panel member on Network Ten's The Masked Singer Australia for the past two seasons.
Carlson is also a regular on Ten's panel show Have You Been Paying Attention?.
She was awarded the 2019 Reilly Comedy Award by the Variety Artists Club of NZ, and she's been named best female comedian at the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards six times. Carlson also won New Zealand International Comedy Festival's coveted People's Choice Award (2014 and 2015); Sydney Comedy Festival's Director's Choice Award (2017); and was a nominee for the Helpmann Award for best comedy performer in 2018.
I'm not a 'ranty' comic - they make me nervous with all that screaming.- Urzila Carlson
She made her feature animation debut as the voice of Honkus in Ozi, alongside Donald Sutherland, Laura Dern, Ru Paul and Amandla Stenberg, which is due for release in 2022.
That's an impressive resume, but one you won't hear Carlson harp on about. Her job is making people laugh. It's as simple as that.
"I'm not a 'ranty' comic - they make me nervous with all that screaming," she says.
"Because I've spent so much time in lockdown, isolation and hotel quarantine, I wrote a show that's quite personal to me.
"Right now, everyone is so aware of personal space, personal hygiene and personal information. People are like 'my body, my choice; should I get vaccinated; and should I share my medical details with people' and I just had a good long think about that, and the fact we're living in a society, and I'm like 'OK but if I've got a wicked headlice infestation you want to know about that and that's also a medical condition'.
"It's like we flop everything out, nothing is personal, nothing is private, everything goes on social media but you aren't allowed to ask anyone about anything but you also have to know everything so you don't hurt or offend anyone.
"It's a tricky situation but it's all our own fault."
If she sounds frustrated, that's because she is. Professional athletes getting preferential treatment during the pandemic is a particular thorn in her side.
"We [New Zealand] were one of the last countries to get the vaccine because COVID wasn't so bad here but our athletes got vaccinated first because they were going to the Olympics to represent New Zealand," she says.
"Now, at at that time I was heading to Australia for a tour, and I said on Instagram that it was interesting the athletes were offered a vaccine but not me, even though I was representing New Zealand overseas as well, and the Prime Minister commented on my post.
"She said something like 'it's a volume thing or it's a supply thing' and I'm like 'right, it's just another example of the arts getting f- -ked over, really."
Was she surprised that Jacinda Ardern commented on her post?
"New Zealand is small and everyone is aware of everyone else so no, I wasn't that surprised in the least," she replies.
"And look, I am loud, and I am unapologetic about it. God, there's enough people whispering weirdly as it is."
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