Claire Hooper’s Familiar is a show for parents or those who want justification for why they don’t want or have children. As a young twenty-something, the idea of long-term relationships getting to a point where I’d need to wipe my significant other’s butt is exceptionally foreign but Hooper certainly has a way of putting things.
From mother-in-laws to death, Hooper’s perspective on life is wonderfully refreshing. After ten years of avoiding certain things in her comedy, she’s finally opening up about all the wacky quirks that come with long-term relationships. There’s vasectomy talk and fart jokes – to the dismay of Hooper’s manager – and a lot of those things that parents seem to talk about: Hooper’s response to food at a café has evolved to “yum”.
It’s an intimate telling of what changes when you become a mum. There are words and dance moves that make your 18-year-old self cringe. There’s the acceptance that you know your partner well enough but sometimes you can still get it wrong. There’s the horror of teaching your children about death.
Opening up about your family as a comedian is gutsy, let alone the quirks of your mother-in-law. Hooper reveals a piece of comedy gold given to her upon meeting her fiancée’s mum many years ago. Hooper has a knack for entwining heavier thoughts into her largely upbeat show, talking rather provokingly about death and what that means at different stages in our lives, as she’s observed via her family members.
Despite a smaller room than one might imagine Claire Hooper performing to, the audience offered hearty responses and created a surprising amount of volume. Hooper has a charismatic stage presence and her years of experience allow her to settle into her show like a true pro, allowing for pauses and a more relaxed pace.
Hooper ends the show recommending other artists on during the festival, including up-and-coming women. It’s wonderful to see that sort of support and it finished the show on a truly lovely tone.
It’s an enjoyable evening, though probably not one for a first date.
Claire Hooper’s Familiar is on at Melbourne Town Hall’s Regent Room as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until Sunday 23 April.