What a night.
So. What’s Stand Up For The Aunties?
Three years ago, give or take, I met Michèle A’Court – famed comedian, author and raconteur, dontcha know – on Twitter, and we just sort of gravitated toward one another. As our friendship blossomed, she said she wanted to do a comedy gig for the Aunties. I wasn’t sure when that would happen. Anyone who knows Michèle, and has seen that diary of hers (it’s an actual diary book paper thing) knows that she is INCREDIBLY busy. ALL THE TIME. And she was writing a book, so, you know. UBER busy.
So we knew it was going to happen this year, we just didn’t know when. And then. A date was decided upon by the Board – not too close to the election, but not too close to Xmas either – and Miche and Phil got going on organising comedians and venues, and ticket selling and all that stuff.
It was Michèle who brought this all together, and she did what she said she would, as she always does. Bringing some comedians together (who all happened to be women), who were doing this for free. Justine Smith, who is just one of the best comedians in the world for my money. Sera Devcich, who I’d seen at another fundraising gig, and said to Michèle, must have. And she flew up to Auckland from Wellington and paid for it herself. The Fan Brigade, Amanda and Livi, who are just breathtakingly lewd and gorgeous and funny. And Urzila Carlson. WHAT. Yes. Her. Who is extraordinarily sought after, and always somewhere exotic overseas, and she wanted to do our little gig. (I just about got on my knees in front of her last night. She is a GODDESS.) And if you have an opportunity to see any of these comedians live, just do it. Because they are absolutely bloody legends.
So, yesterday, all day, I was very very excited. And both M and I, I know, had a bit of an emotional day because we’d had this in our minds a reasonably long time. Before there was a Board, before there was the charity status. I was also emotional because I was bringing some very important people with me. People who I love and respect greatly, who are symbolic of the work the Aunties do, are indeed the people that the Aunties do the work for. 3 women who have impacted my life, and changed the way I work, and they’ll never understand just how much.
There was Kimi, who I met with her mum in the refuge at the end of 2013. She never spoke to anyone when she came into the refuge, but I noticed she watched me alot. Sussing me out. Then one day, she decided I was her safe person and she started to tell me about her pain. Ever since, I have been Aunty Jackie to her, and a member of her extended whānau.
There was Moe, who is one of the most amazing women I have ever met (and I’ve met a lot of amazing women, let me tell you.) She had left the refuge by the time I started working with the women there, and she was on her way to doing her social work degree. She’s almost finished now, and will be a qualified social worker very soon.
And my Rox, who I met in the refuge at the beginning of this year, and who has the most indomitable spirit. She calls me Mama J, and she’s the daughter I never had.
So these three incredibly special women and I made our way into town last night, and arrived at the Classic, where I was just about to faint from anxiety. It wasn’t about us doing well – the tickets had already sold out. It was that something we had talked about for so long was upon us, and I was so excited. So happy. So full of all this love, and I thought I might explode, there and then. I knew I had to make a wee speech, and I’m doing more of that, but I’m never prepared. I never do notes, I never have it clear in my head what I’m going to say before I say it. And I didn’t want to muck it all up by crying too much, which is something I am prone to do.
None of that happened. What did happen was a glorious glorious night of outrageous comedy, raucous laughter, and raising what seemed like an impossible amount of money – over $5000 – and I’ll tell you why that’s so important in a wee while. The kaupapa of the Aunties is: meeting need with aroha. Giving with love. And my, there was a lot of love in that room last night.
So to the thank yous. From myself, from The Board, from the women I work with and who your stuff and money goes to help their healing.
Thank you to: Michéle for organising this. For, from the moment I met you, getting what I was about, and what I needed to happen for my girls to get their stuff. For doing the do to make this night such a successful one for all involved. I love you.
Thank you to Scott, and the staff at the Classic Comedy Club, who let us use your venue for free, and you were so kind and loving! I wanted to particularly thank the lovely Aimee who was so welcoming, and so efficient in seating everyone, and to lovely Aiken who let me stand beside him at the door and greet everyone as they came in. I thought I was a pain in the bum, he thought it was lovely, so I guess that balances out. (He also did all the techy stuff, so cheers for that!)
Thank you to: Sera, Justine, Amanda, Livi, and Urzila. Really. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. For your support for the Aunties, for your love and compassion and heart. For your kindness in doing this for us and for the women. Thank you for being glorious, stroppy, sweary, piss your pants funny, beautiful women, all of you. Thank you for bringing the laughter. I watched my girl’s faces the whole time you were all onstage, and they could hardly breathe from laughing. On the way home, they said you should have a break in the middle of jokes, so people could catch their breaths. I don’t quite know how that would work, but I know they had the best night they’ve ever had, and they didn’t want it to end. And also: thanks you fellas for all the hotel toiletries – like, A HUGE BAG which Rox shouldered like a champion all the way back to the car. They’ll go to the Prostitutes Collective tomorrow.
Thank you Irene Pink, you beautiful human, for coming to do the auction for us. Thanks to your professional skills, we made over $1300. Which we did NOT expect! I have always loved your work as a comedian, but you also make a superb auctioneer. But you knew that. And particular thanks to the table of drunk ladies to the side of the stage who bought most everything at that auction. We love you. No, I mean it.
Thank you to everyone who bought tickets and made this event sell out in just 2 weeks. What incredible support for our work. What you have done, and why this is so important, is raised enough money for us to provide the most exquisite Christmas party for a community who needs one badly. Who has known enormous hurt, and pain, and need all the magic and joy we can give them. So there’s that. And we will be doing luxury food gift baskets for women, and some men, in that community, and for the women I walk alongside everyday in my work. That’s why this matters. We can bring a lot of joy to a large number of people with this money. And I don’t have to beg and scrape and plead for it. That’s a really big deal. You’re ALL Aunties now, by the way. Cos that’s how we roll.
Apparently all the comedians have decided that we’ll just do this every year. I hope so, I really do. Because it does the mauri good to spend a few hours laughing, and sharing that with a room full of loving strangers, and friends, is even better. Meeting needs with aroha. I think you all did that last night, and I am incredibly proud of you all. And so honoured that you chose our little charity to do it for. Thank you. So much.
I love your work.