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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Interview with Reuben Kaye

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‘There’s a profound joy from being naughty’, says Reuben Kaye about his show at Bruns Picture House on New Year’s Eve.

The Filthy, the Funny, the Fucking Fabulous Reuben

An evening with The obscenely intelligent, beautifully filthy, and rib-crackingly funny cabaret superstar Reuben Kaye is the only way to bring in 2021. He spoke with the Echo ahead of his NYE show at the Bruns Picture House.

Reuben, how was 2020 for you?

2020? No, 2020 was fine for me (reaches for cask wine and thorazine). Honestly? 2020 was rougher than driving a tractor through a toddler’s birthday party.  But what else is gonna bind us together than one massive shared trauma… that’s what my therapist says, but also she lives on a houseboat so I don’t know if I can really trust my mental health to someone with a chemical toilet.

What did you find out about yourself you didn’t know before?

That I don’t need to chew to eat an entire leg of lamb.

How do you continue to reinvent yourself ? Have you always had this wonderful fluidity in your presentation?

I am, and will always be fluid. Which to be honest is just so much work to clean up. I’ve always identified with sharks. If they stay still they can’t breathe, so they have to keep moving to survive.  That’s me. I also have sandpaper skin, three rows of teeth and am the reason surfers keep disappearing.

I like to believe that Australia has changed – have we? Are you starting to see more people embrace and be inspired by the authenticity you bring to stage?

I’d like to think so. And to be honest the most flak I’ve received in my life has come from regional UK or the US. Not from Australia so much, so that’s growth… right? I think Australia has a reputation for ‘traditional values’ (which is a lovely euphemism for bigotry) that is slowly being dismantled as we all rocket towards the future. That’s exciting. Also name a neighbourhood where the LGBTQ+ community hasn’t increased the value of property in the neighbourhood. And cash will always win over morals. At least I hope so. Otherwise I’ll never break even.

I love that you’re filthy. I actually love the word filthy – do you ever get people come and tell you they were shocked? What do they say?

If people are shocked, they are delighted that they were shocked. There’s a profound joy from being naughty. From indulging, from laughing at something you shouldn’t laugh at, but secretly want to.  It’s liberating. And if my act leaves you open mouthed just remember… an open mouth is just an opportunity.

Transformational moment of 2020?

The transformational moment of 2020 for me will be when the clock strikes midnight on 31 December. When 2020 transforms into 2021 and we leave this year in the dust where it belongs.

What should people expect from this NYE show?

A stern look from their doctor the next morning. We’re doing the greatest hits of Reuben Kaye and we are going to raise the roof!

And also your Butch is Back?

The Butch Is Back is my return to glory! It’s camp, it’s fast, it’s emotional. And I cannot wait to bring this brand new show to Brunswick Heads. We’re going to give the Picture House a wonderful last season before the renovations! God knows those walls have seen a lot. If those walls could talk, they’d be in therapy…

NYE, Thursday 31 December 9pm. Show goes 3.5 hours.
BYO champs. Tix are $130 on brunswickpicturehouse.com

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