Three Minute Squiz With… Em Rusciano

Em Rusciano is a comedian, writer, singer, television and radio presenter, and all-round force of nature. About to embark on a new comedy tour, The Rage and Rainbows Tour, and with a new baby to attend to, we have no idea how she found time to take on this week’s Three Minute Squiz…

How and where do you Squiz?
I do it when I can, there is no set time, I’m free flowing with my Squizing.

Your website says you have “a finger in every piece of the performing pie”. We like pie so that must be amazing. And a little messy at times… What discipline do you enjoy the most?
That’s like making me choose a favourite child! Each of them feeds the different parts of my brain in perfect ways. I do them all because I love them all, but look twist my arm and I’ll say live performing. Singing and storytelling in outrageous outfits is my happy place.

You’re about to go on tour with The Rage and Rainbows show. What can we expect?
An unleashing, understanding and ultimately joyful unloading of the rage the women you love (and you if you’re one) have been carrying around, but perhaps not really sure why. Five original songs (some of which were written with Kate Miller-Heidke), an eight-piece band and 12 classically trained dancing vaginas. If nothing else, I can promise you that. They cost me a fortune, I got stung in shipping from the States; then customs held them hostage. They’ve had a harrowing journey to the stage, to say the least.

Describe your perfect audience.
My audience is pretty much it. Women and gay men who are out for a good time, they’ve frocked and sequinned up and are primed to sing, laugh and cry. I also enjoy the few bewildered straight men who are dragged in, I like seeing them crack their first smile and realise that they’re going to enjoy themselves.

Congrats on your new bub Elio. Two questions: A) How tired are you?  And B) Do you and your partner have it down pat with number three?
A) Not as tired as I was getting up at 3:30am every day last year for work. I’m just so glad that he’s here that the getting up and the lack of sleep doesn’t bother me at all. Plus my other two kids are 17yo and 12yo, and I can’t get them out of bed. That serves as a reminder that it won’t be forever.

B) It’s early days, he’s only four months old and I think we’re yet to scar him emotionally. So yes… So far, so good! I guess we know what we’re doing now, we know what to expect and we’re much calmer about having a newborn than we were 17 years ago.

We don’t think we’ve ever spoken to anyone who was featured on the big singing talent shows. What’s your enduring memory of it?
Crying. Begging people to vote for me. Ricki-Lee eating a steak a day! Australian Idol is one of the reasons why I’m where I currently am. I’m not ungrateful in any way, but would I allow my kids or anyone I cared about to do it – NO. We were the early days of singing shows, it was the wild, wild west. The thing I’m most thankful for is the fact that Twitter wasn’t around when I was on the telly. I wouldn’t have survived all those opinions on my performances!

And you’ve written a book where you describe yourself as a “needy overachiever”. What’s your advice for those of us aiming for greatness?
I get asked ‘How can I do what you do’ a lot, as though I have a secret to share. The truth is, I’ve spent 15 years working at it every day. There is no magic bullet or hack. If you want to write, write. If you want to make music, make music. You have to make your own magic, the world owes you nothing and you’re not entitled to success.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Tina Fey, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Peggy Guggenheim.

Your favourite book/writer?
Roald Dahl shaped so much of my childhood, he’s the writer I read the most as a kid. I was a weird, eccentric, creative human and I felt like he wrote just for me. The BFG is my favourite*.

What would be your number one fantasy duet scenario?
John Peter Farnham. He and I in matching acid wash Driza-bone jackets with flowing blonde mullets singing Two Strong Hearts into each other’s eyes (with the accompanying actions of course)…
*Not that I’ve given it THAT MUCH THOUGHT.
**I think about it all the time.

The best piece of advice your parents/a good friend gave you?
I have two: Do it from love, not for love. And say what you mean and mean what you say.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Prudence. I’ve never been once for cautiousness, I like to say yes to stuff that scares me a bit.

What’s your worst and best habit?
Worst habit: I leave the little modesty paper on top of the butter when I open the container. I don’t know why but I just can’t bring myself to peel it off first go and bin it.

Best habit: I make my bed every morning, it makes me feel like I’ve got my sh*t together when I get home each day.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
Look it’s not very interesting or hard-hitting but we separate our recyclables here into a yellow bin and I’m not convinced they ACTUALLY get recycled once they reach the tip!

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