Funny Girl Jackie Loeb
Jackie Loeb

Jackie Loeb returns to her hometown to get us laughing

“I guess what I considered to be embarrassing as a child, I would now consider comedy gold,” says comedian Jackie Loeb. “My family’s eccentricities, idiosyncrasies and all the other ‘ies’ have provided a solid foundation for my comedy.”

Indeed ever since regaling her primary school chums with her rendition of a song about fungus, Loeb has been making people laugh. Her first real gig in the biz was 21 years ago when she fronted the stage at Sydney’s Comedy Store (then on Cleveland St).

“I got on stage, did my Tracey Chapman impersonation, did my chipmunk impersonation and probably showed my tummy. Not much has changed in terms of my repertoire. But it felt amazing to have a voice and to be rewarded with a free soft drink. Although I don’t remember formally being asked back…in my mind, I was bloody brilliant!”

Today Loeb’s shtick is a lot more polished and she admits that her comedy style is constantly evolving. “My routine is an ever-changing fictitious autobiography,” she says.

“In it, I have been married to an alien, had kids, worked in just about every industry, attended a juvenile detention centre and lived inside a supermarket.

These days I am basing my routines more on substantiated self-truth. My style is more on the Cabaret side. I am an all-singing, dancing, self-deprecating, rockin’, frumpy, sexy, middle-aged woman who is Vegas (with a bit of North Shore and Marrickville thrown in) to the core.”

Since her very first gig, music has played a large part in Loeb’s routine, in fact, she once aspired to be a jazz muso.

Today however she has to satisfy her dreams of musical stardom by banging out the occasional song during her comedy gigs. Her latest show, So Much to Celebrate is sure to embrace her love of belting out a tune or two. So what can audiences expect from the show?

“Love and laughter. Inappropriate touching, prolonged eye contact. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll concert without the band,” she smiles. “Lots of colour and movement. I don’t stand still for very long.”

As for the show’s premise, if you can’t tell by the title, it’s all about celebrations. “It’s a happy fun show where I pretty much pay tribute to myself (in part). I celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, turning 40, relocating to LA, returning to Sydney and 20 years as a stand-up comedian! It’s the show that has been festering inside me for 20 years.”

Living in LA, Loeb has come to realise that comedy is universal. “I just have to do my routine with an American accent so they understand,” she quips. “That’s not entirely true, but I have learnt to slow down. I think Aussie humour is more rapid-fire. It’s also more aggressive. In the US, it’s more storytelling and anecdotal.

“I dunno. I don’t really pay attention! I am very courteous like that. Sometimes they piss themselves at jokes that only get mediocre laughs here, while some of my more highbrow top shelf PHD engineered jokes only get a mild response.
“I don’t understand the science of it. Someone falling over is funny in any country or language.”