Comedian Urzila Carlson targets the Unacceptable

Urzila Carlson.
Urzila Carlson.

TURMERIC lattes and deconstructed flat whites are two things targeted by comedian Urzila Carlson in her Perth Comedy Festival show Unacceptable.

“It’s just about all the unacceptable stuff that we see every day that we accept,” the South African-born, New Zealand-based Carlson said.

“I’ll cover everything from racism and homophobia, which of course is unacceptable, but also the little things like people picking their nose or stopping in the middle of the footpath and texting.

“And then I cover things that are acceptable, that I think we don’t get enough credit for, like how baby boomers complain about millennials on their phones and how the parents are terrible for letting them do that.

“But when they were kids they’d just run around the street all day and their mums wouldn’t know where they were until dinner time. How is that more responsible parenting? At least we know where our kids are all the time because we’re taking 10 billion photos of them.”

Carlson, a mother of a three-and-a-half year old and seven-month-old with her partner Julie, said she moved to New Zealand in 2006 because she was sick of the crime in South Africa.

“I used to work for community newspapers where you get to see a lot of what goes on in your community and not everything made it into the newspaper,” she said.

“I realised I didn’t want to raise kids in this country.”

She saw an advertisement promoting immigration to New Zealand and moved three months later, where she also changed careers from being a newspaper production manager in South Africa to working in New Zealand advertising.

It was there a colleague suggested Carlson begin stand-up comedy and signed her up for an open mic night in 2008.

“It was the scariest thing I’d done in my entire life,” she said.

“I got a call the next day to say I was through to the next round and initially I said I wasn’t interested, but I don’t believe on missing out on any opportunity because I don’t want to ever live with regret. So I went back, it went well and then I was hooked.”

Saying “yes” has seen Carlson’s career grow stronger with every stand-up show, television appearance (Have You Been Paying Attention?) and even a book, Rolling with the Punchlines.

“It’s been amazing and a total blur,” she said.


What: Urzila Carlson – Unacceptable

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre

When: May 20 and 21