If you’ve attended any festivals or comedy gigs in Perth recently you may have seen a brightly coloured gorgeous woman wandering about the place. She’s very famous so you’ve probably heard of her. She goes by the name of “Famous Sharron” and is a real Perthonality! In fact we recently interviewed Sharron. You can read that interview here…Famous Sharron
This week we chatted with Bonnie Davies, creator of and the face behind Famous Sharron.
Hi Bonnie, thank you so much for meeting with us and sharing your story.
First of all, can you please tell us a bit about your background?
I’ve been in comedy for about 6 or 7 years now. I have done quite a bit of stand-up and MCing or hosting gigs. I also run Bootleg Comedy with a small team: we are a production company for comedy. We run Bogan Bingo and other comedy gigs and are affiliated with The Big Hoo Haa. Now Famous Sharron comes under the Bootleg banner as well.
Let’s talk about Famous Sharron.
People always reference Dame Edna in comparison to Sharron which is a huge compliment as Dame Edna is a massive superstar but the inspiration actually came from Fez Faanana from Briefs (an Australian, all male, boylesque, circus and comedy group) and his ability to be himself and be Australian; glamourous but also bogan. Raw but fabulous- I think what he is doing is amazing and not something I have seen much in the Australian arts landscape. I’m an MC and a host myself personally, but my work is very tiny now. My gigs have been dramatically reducing as Sharron’s exponentially increase. I very rarely get asked to do things as Bonnie anymore, people only ask me if they know me personally. I used to do stand-up as myself but then when Sharron came on the scene I did one or two more gigs as me but then I just thought why would I bother? Everyone wants Sharron and then it’s like we’re competing for the same spots which is crazy- it’s self-sabotage. Plus I love Sharron- I love doing her and being her. My friends and family were very worried- they all said “what if Sharron takes over?” but it’s been awesome. A wild ride.
And how did Sharron come about?
Originally there was a big Hollywood burlesque gala on in Perth and they were looking for an MC, they were looking for new talent and the producers had heard of me so one came to meet me and chat to me about the show. I’m pretty casual, I’m not very glamorous. I don’t even do my hair properly and they were looking at getting Marilyn Monroe impersonators and all sorts of glamorous superstar types so I said “Do you want me to do a character?” and they said they would love that. My only conditions were that she had to be Australian and she had to change costume constantly and they were on board with that. The Australian thing was important because so many of the MCs are doing accents from the UK or US and really we have great talent here so I wanted her to be an Aussie.
So, Sharron was created!
Originally she was a talent agent for the Hollywood stars, so the idea was that she would bring on all these stars at the burlesque gala. I was actually standing backstage as Sharron with borrowed glasses, random costumes I got from my housemates and my own wardrobe and whichever big dresses I could find. Originally she was quite 1950s- not a lot like the Sharron that is out there today. I had my own hair in a beehive, no wigs or headpieces. I had 2 jokes. Kids in the car and Morley Galleria- that’s it. Not much of a plan. I improvised the whole night and before I went on stage, I was backstage going “what the hell am I doing? Why did I think this would be a good idea. I’m such an idiot.” It was a massive show, there was about 300 people there. But during it, I realised she was a hit! I couldn’t believe it. People were calling for her from the crowd and everyone just connected with her so much. I said at one point that I had a husband called Darren and the audience were yelling out “Dazza!” And I was all, “Oh you guys know him!” It just went so well.
So did the character of Sharron just take off from there?
Not really, she was only ever for that one night, but almost immediately after that gala, in 2012, I went to Edinburgh for the Fringe Fest. I took a show that wasn’t Sharron and I had such a hard time. I went too hard, too soon. It wasn’t comedy and it wasn’t very well prepared for something that wasn’t comedy. It was a serious and personal story about me growing up as a kid and it didn’t go that well because I marketed it as comedy- when it was really a drama or storytelling piece. I’m glad I did the show but I got sick over there so I pushed through and finished the run and then I put that show away. I thought to myself, I’m going to try Sharron again when I get home. Something about her connected with the audience. So I took her out and she did the Beaufort Street Fest, Christmas Pageant and a few other festivals for next to nothing. Then in February I launched her at Fringeworld and that was that. Fringe is a really good launching pad. And then from there Sharron became a thing! I can’t imagine not having her in my life now.
Are you surprised with how well Sharron has been received and how many times she has been booked?
Yes. Constantly. Everything has been a surprise. I kind of thought that it could happen but I had no idea it would happen so quickly. I’d been in comedy for 6 or 7 years before so I feel I was well prepared. I think having done stand up for years was a good base for Sharron dealing with hecklers and talking to the audience. Plus having contacts in the industry helped in the early days. And now I’ve even brought on a PR company and a marketing person to help because it’s just a lot of work.
How did you decide on the name Sharron?
It was just an Australian name. A surburban name, which was accessible and easy. Shazza! I didn’t really think about it that much because it was just for that one show. But it suits her and now it’s stuck. Famous Sharron, the second “R” is silent. That’s just coz it was funny.
What’s in the future for Famous Sharron
Oh there’s heaps on….
- A show this weekend downstairs at the Maj- A circus and burlesque show called “Le Carousel Bleu.”
- Then there’s Sharity- Sharron charity- Wrapping presents for Mission Australia.
- Hosting the Christmas Pageant.
- Trivia Death Match – at Lazy Susans.
- Famous Feast, which is a Christmas party/ feast with Sophie Budd the renowned chef.
- Hosting multiple comedy gigs at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den.
- Plus FRINGE WORLD is coming up…. obviously it’s all rumour and gossip at the moment- as no shows are announced- but Shazza was crowned “Queen of the Fringe” by media last year… so watch this glittery space….
(see link below for more information on these events)
Last question, what is your favourite season and why?
Ooooh, it’s a draw between spring and autumn but I think I like spring because everyone comes alive again and they remember that they’re alive. It’s also a contemplative time as summer’s coming, and the New Year, so we think about where we’re at and what’s coming up.
Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?
Just that if anyone is thinking of getting into comedy- then Bootleg can give advice and mentor. We provide support ad-hoc. We keep a list of what’s available and what nights are run where for people getting into the comedy scene. I feel like too many people learn a lot here and build a career and then move to Melbourne and it is all gone. So we try to foster new talent and help people out.
Thank you so much Bonnie.
We look forward to seeing you and Famous Sharron around the place.
The Bootleg comedy website is here- Bootleg Comedy
Famous Sharron’s website is here with more info on her upcoming gigs- Famous Sharron
and Sharron’s facebook page is here which includes her famous selfies- Famous on Facebook
Have you seen Bonnie Davies or Famous Sharron out and about?
Are you going to any of the upcoming events?