Some of you may remember an Australian country music artist who went by the name TJ Dennis. She released three albums, she played a great live show and appeared at festivals around the land. Well, TJ Dennis gave away the country music and became comedian Jenny Talia – and she’s bringing her tour F.O.C.U.S. back to Australia from her current home, Chicago. Jenny is the daughter of Kevin Bloody Wilson, so her comedic credentials are well in place. She’s also fresh off a tour of the United Kingdom, so her new line of work keeps her busy indeed. Not so busy, though, that she didn’t have time to answer some questions before she arrives …
Your TJ Dennis voice was very different to your Jenny Talia voice – is it hard not to slip into ‘TJ singing mode’ when you’re performing your new material?
The comedy stuff is not so much sung, as it is ‘spoken in tune’. I’m sure every now and thing my real singing voice comes through. Just enough to keep my Nanna and Mum happy.
Of course, the question any country music fan would ask is: how on earth could you abandon country music???
Oh no, I definitely didn’t abandon it. I still listen to it, write it, go see it live. I just don’t perform it myself. The comedy stuff has me crazy busy and completely satisfied
Your comedy material seems to have a distinctly Australian bent – how do audiences in the northern hemisphere respond to that?
They’ve been exposed to a lot of Australian culture over the years. I really don’t change my show at all, I maybe just try to slow down a bit. Us country sheilas can talk pretty fast when we get revved up.
How much of your year is devoted to performing and how much to writing material, and is it hard to achieve a balance between the two?
To actually sit down and write a new album, it would probably be a month of seven days a week writing. But the ideas are always swimming around inside my head. I have a successful blog on my website
and I write a column for my local paper in Chicago, so in one form or another, I’m always writing. Performing, I’d average about 120 show per year. Then I like to put up songs on my YouTube channel when I’m not touring (and when YouTube isn’t kicking me off for being too rude).
You grew up in an ‘entertainment family’ – did you ever consider doing anything else for work?
Not really, I formed a duo with my brother when I was just out of high school and have pretty much made my living from music since then. I always said I’d get a ‘real’ job when I grew up. So far, so good!
The tagline of your show talks about you giving your ‘girl’s point of view’ to an audience – what’s your point of view on comedy and female performers? There’s the odd person who says that ‘women aren’t as funny as men’ …
I’m sure that’s probably said by a really un-funny man that hasn’t been laid in a while. My audiences are usually at least 50% men. If you like your humour Aussie, funny and politically incorrect, then you’ll like my show. Whether you have a penis or not.
Just so your Australian audience members can recognise themselves: who do you want to see at your shows?
As long as you’re over 18, you’re fine by me. I get doctors, teachers, truck drivers, stay-home mums … a bit of everything. For the most part, I’m just up there saying what a lot of Australians are thinking. And in a world where political correctness can be suffocating, you’re welcome to breathe easy at one of my shows.
Jenny’s tour dates:
Friday 13th June 2014 | 8pm
St Mary’s Band Club, OXLEY PARK NSW
411 Great Western Highway, Oxley Park
(02) 9623 1211 | www.stmarysbandclub.com.au
Saturday 14th June 2014 | 8pm
Davistown RSL Club, DAVISTOWN NSW
19 Murna Road, Davistown
(02) 4363 0199 | www.davistownrsl.com.au
Friday 20th June 2014 | 7pm
Fly By Night Musicians Club, FREMANTLE WA
1 Holdsworth Street, Fremantle WA
(08) 9430 5976 | www.flybynight.org
More tour dates to be announced in the coming weeks
For more information, please visit www.jennytalia.com