The sky’s the limit for New Zealand comedy superstar Melanie Bracewell

The sky’s the limit for New Zealand comedy superstar Melanie Bracewell

Words by Joanne Brookfield

Bracewell will bring her show The Rumours Are True to Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2021.

Melanie Bracewell was once as sweetly innocent and naive as the rest of us as kids. After school with her friend Jodie they would make movies.

“She had a video camera. And that’s all we needed,” recalls Bracewell. “We didn’t write it, it was all improvised. That’s how I thought they made movies – they just put the camera on and then they went, ‘Okay, act!’ So that’s what we did,” she laughs.

Although the intention at the time of their creation was purely for their own entertainment, Bracewell will be presenting edited highlights for the amusement of her live show audiences.

“I do a bit of a deep dive into my childhood in the beginning of the show. It should give an insight to why I am like I am,” she says of her brand new stand up show The Rumours Are True, that she’s presenting as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2021.

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While 11-year-old Melanie might not have understood the finer details of film and television production, she certainly does now. At only 25, with her natural wit and zinging one liners, Melanie Bracewell is a media star in her homeland New Zealand and is fast becoming one here in Australia, thanks to stand out appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention?

“I think I have Urzila (Carlson) to thank because they took a punt with taking a New Zealand person and she did such a good job that they were like, ‘Hold on a second, there’s funny people in New Zealand?!” she quips.

Bracewell was clearly destined for success the minute she stepped on stage. Starting stand up in 2014, she won the 7 Days Comedy Apprentice that same year. In 2015, she won NZ’s Raw Comedy Quest, in 2016 Best Newcomer at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival and in 2018 went home with their prestigious Billy T Award.

She’s been a commercial radio show host, regular on 7 Days and NZ’s versions of The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention?, appeared on a string of televised gala appearances and behind the scenes, she’s also been a writer on all those shows as well.

“I tend to say yes to everything,” she says. Hollywood shouldn’t be too far off, given her track record so far. She has also worked on four seasons of Jemaine Clement’s and Taika Waititi’s Wellington Paranormal, the spin-off horror-comedy series from their hit film What We Do In The Shadows, which has just been picked up by HBO.

With her impersonation of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern blowing up the internet, she’s already had a taste of global attention, and while her Jacinda won’t be making an appearance in The Rumours Are True, Bracewell says the show is about “working my way through being a public figure and it’s never taking myself too seriously, essentially. But it covers a whole broad range of my life”.

“I’m very grateful that I get to be silly for a living,” she says. No doubt her 11-year-old self would be as well.

Melanie Bracewell appears at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2021 from Tuesday April 6 until Sunday April 18 (bar Monday). Grab tix here.