Review By Michelle Sutton
Rosie Waterland shot to fame several years ago for ‘Rosie’s Recaps’, her witty commentary on The Bachelor franchise that immediately became iconic, spawned many nicknames and in-jokes and ultimately led to The Bachelor’s audience expanding exponentially. Suddenly people who previously thought themselves above the reality show began to enjoy it and follow along just to read and revel in Rosie’s delightful recaps. This revealed Rosie’s superpower: she can make anything cool by making it funny.
In her sold-out stand-up show as part of Sydney Comedy Festival she has the audience in stitches by sharing her cringiest, drunkest, most embarrassing stories. She sits on a couch that is draped in an elaborate colourful carpet with pot plants and a coffee table with wine before her. She makes jokes about everything- from her “mentally ill-alcoholic-drug-addict” parents to her adventures with laser hair removal and messy nights at Vic on the Park in Marrickville. She seems like a friend that has come around to your place on a Friday night to eat Thai food and drink rosé while you laugh at yourselves. Her comedy is like an honest chat with your girlfriends, free of judgement and pretence. Refreshingly, Rosie is not trying to out-perform other comedians or be anything other than herself.
Rosie has released two best-selling books as well as the critically acclaimed podcast ‘Mum Says My Memoir Is a Lie’ which delve into her unstable childhood and unpack the psychological and emotional impacts of it. In ‘Kid Chameleon’ she shares funny stories of times her people-pleasing desire borne from trauma hindered her in behaving in socially acceptable “adult” ways. These stories are humorous and relatable to fellow millennials who also may struggle to feel like competent, mature adults in the way our capitalistic western culture demands. Rosie cleverly paints a picture with these jokes of a child, teenager and adult who felt she had to shape-shift to become what other people needed her to be. Rosie’s comedy and story-telling is her reclamation of power. By narrating the story of her life she is able to come to terms with the events and relationships that shaped her identity as a child, decide where she stands on them now and the person she wants to be going forward. Although Rosie’s life began with a uniquely dark and challenging childhood and adolescence, her story of fighting tooth and nail for self-determination is a universally relatable one especially for young women navigating the world. Her comedy proves that she is not defined by her difficult upbringing, although it does provide in her words “a good line” and an amazing contrast for her many pop culture references and bubbly personality which round out her casually fearless performance.
Rosie Waterland has sold out two shows at the 2021 Sydney Comedy festival for good reason: she resonates with the self-deprecating survivor in all of us. ‘Kid Chameleon’ shows us that Rosie is ready to move on to her next chapter, with strong insight into her trauma and determination to continue living her present life out loud, unapologetically with a great sense of humour and glass of sparkling wine in her hand. She is an empowered woman we can truly appreciate in 2021. She uses the freedoms she has to live the comfortable, sometimes sloppy, sometimes outrageous life she has built for herself from blood sweat and wit. She is forging her own fresh feminist comedic path and if that path includes telling poo jokes and sex stories while sitting glamorously on the couch, so be it!