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Q&A/The Fringe Sessions/Comedy/Fringe World Festival

From sex worker to comedian

30 January 2019

Bella Green has worked in brothels, strip clubs, peepshows, dungeons, massage parlours and adult shops… and she’s here to tell the tale. Her debut show Bella Green Is Charging for It combines stand up, sketch comedy and storytelling to provide a window into the world of sex work… and she’s got some surprising answers to the questions you didn’t know you had. Seesaw caught up with Green to find out more.

Bella Green on stage.
Bella Green

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be a comedian?
Bella Green: I’ve wanted to be on stage for as long as I can remember, but I wasn’t sure how or why. I didn’t know I wanted to do comedy until I was about 30. I had no idea I was funny, I just knew my Facebook statuses were good.

S: Tell us about your training…
BG: I used to tell jokes to anyone who’d listen at the brothel where I work. When I realised I wanted to be a comic, I took some improv. classes for confidence and then I hit the open mic comedy circuit.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
BG: I don’t know that I have a creative practice! I just scrawl weird joke concepts into a notebook at 3am while eating gnocchi in bed.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
BG: I love destigmatising sex work. Showing audiences that sex workers are just regular people is so fulfilling.

S: Career highlight so far?
BG: Being nominated for Best Comedy at Melbourne Fringe 2018.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
BG: I opened a stand-up set with a joke about roller derby and a nice middle-aged man yelled out that his daughter played derby and did I know her? Turns out I do! I then moved into my sex work material and the poor guy was so horrified. I almost had to reassure him that his daughter isn’t out turning tricks.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
BG: Perth is my hometown. To quote Kendrick Lamar “I was contemplatin’ gettin’ on stage / just to go back to the hood, see my enemy, and say where you when I was walkin’?”

S: Tell us about your show Bella Green is Charging For It
BG: Bella Green Is Charging For It is a journey of stand-up, storytelling and sketch through the surprisingly mundane but always hilarious world of sex work, where the heels are high, the carpet is sticky and the customer is probably wrong. I’ve worked in brothels and strip clubs, peepshows and dungeons, massage parlours and adult shops, but my most degrading job of all was the three months I spent in a call centre for a “Big Four” bank. The show will answer all the questions you never thought to ask about sex work. Like, why is paying for sex so similar to ordering a salad? What really goes on in a peepshow? And how can you get away with wearing uggs while being a cold, hard dominatrix?

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
BG: I can’t wait to hit up that silent disco.  I’m also very excited to see Two Girls, One CuckRose, Donna and Nick are all brilliant up-and-coming stand-ups.

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
BG: The swings! I used to launch myself off the swing set at the park as a kid and pretend to have broken my arm for any stranger that walked past. I was born to be on stage.

Bella Green Is Charging for It plays Deluxe at Yagan Square, 5 – 17 February. 

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked for over a decade as an arts writer and critic. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. Since July 2016 Nina has also been co-editor of Dance Australia magazine. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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