Alexandra Hudson on Making Lemonade: ‘They never tell you this stuff is possible when you’re a kid with a disability’

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Alexandra Hudson on Making Lemonade: ‘They never tell you this stuff is possible when you’re a kid with a disability’

Alexandra Hudson
words by Josh Jennings

Comedian Alexandra Hudson reflects on her speedy rise to fame and the power of comedy to open up the conversation around ableism and disability.

As a kid with cerebral palsy, Alexandra Hudson never received a memo that a life in comedy was an option. Now however, she is making a name for herself with comedy that’s all about living with a disability in a non-disabled world.

Her new show, Making Lemonade, subverts antiquated notions of what this means. 

Making Lemonade at MICF

  • March 28 to April 21
  • The Westin Four
  • Tickets are on sale now

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

You started performing comedy mid-2020. What is one way four-odd years in comedy seems like a long time? And what’s one respect in which it seems like no time at all?

One way it feels long are the long hours I’ve spent driving up and down the Pacific Highway each week — from Ballina to Brisbane — for spots. So I have spent way more time on the Pacific Highway than I have on stage.

The way it feels like no time at all is how I went from not even knowing I wanted to do comedy before late 2019, to going to Edinburgh in 2022, to perform all-disabled content. They never tell you this stuff is possible when you’re a kid with a disability. This life is wild.

Making Lemonade explores your experiences as a person who lives with a disability in a non-disabled world. Can you give some examples of the sorts of experiences you’ll be talking about?

I’ll be talking about the benefits of having more in common with my 97-year-old nan than my fellow triplets, what it’s like having a nondisabled identical twin and only having sex in Queensland.

What are a few examples of some of the things you are enjoying most about this show?

The gasps of fear from the non-disabled audience contrasting the laughs of those who resonate.

How willing people are to come along for this ride — it’s been really enjoyable getting to know my audience and inviting them into my world.

I’m enjoying getting to shake up the misconceptions and take audiences to unexpected places.

What are a few examples of some of the misconceptions people have about you that you find most interesting to talk about to audiences?

One of the biggest things is how low the bar is set. Non-disabled people don’t think much of us, so it sets up loads of opportunities to take advantage of this for my own gain.

How has comedy changed the way you mediate these types of experiences? 

It’s allowed me to reimagine a lot of my difficult experiences and turn them into things where having a disability is something to be proud of — so that’s how I approach joking about it. I will never make fun of disability, even when I can acknowledge some things that are a bit odd or funny about me.

What are a few examples of some of the experiences you’ve had in comedy in the past four years that are most resonant for you?

Anytime I perform in accessible spaces to people who get it, the response I get, and the feeling, is unmatched.

You took joint first place in RAW Comedy in 2022. How has your perspective on that achievement evolved since then?

It’s still one of my most perfect performances, where everything lined up at the right moment. It’s a very nice reminder of what I’m capable of.

You finished working as a support worker in March last year and committed yourself fully to comedy. How do you feel about that decision almost a year later?

I sometimes wonder where my next paid gig is going to come from, but I have always had a sense of urgency about how I approach working life. It started the exact same way when I was a sole trade support worker — I just continued to show up, each and every week. First for one client, then two, then four….

So I’m always asking for spots. I’ve learnt from the last few years that, if I always show up, so does paid work. So I just try to give myself as many opportunities to perform to keep the momentum rolling.

What’s in store for the rest of 2024?

I think a full run of Edinburgh is on the cards, heaps of gigs around Australia and trying to change a little law affecting disabled people in Queensland. If there are any Queensland legal experts reading this, I need your help.

Alexandra Hudson performs Making Lemonade at the Westin Four from March 28 to April 21. Get your tickets here.