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Lefties lining up for laughs

BY RYAN O'SHAUGHNESSY
Moonee Valley Community News


SITTING comfortably in her pyjamas on a couch at her Coburg home, Age writer Catherine Deveny seems far removed from the jocular, razor-tongued columnist who regularly raises the hackles of those with rightist tendencies.

She doesn't swear much, unless absolutely necessary, is measured in her approach to the big issues and is proud of her leftist leanings.

''I'm very left and always vote Green,'' says Deveny.

''I'm moderately extreme I guess you could say an 'inner-city People's Republic of Moreland lefty'.''

As a guest panellist at the Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate on Friday, she will take the stage for a night of solidarity with her like-minded brothers and sisters.

The panel will feature comedy ringmaster Rod Quantock, Nelly Thomas, Courteney Hocking, Wendy Little, Shiralee Hood and Adrian Whitehead.

The topic is ''Should we always look on the bright side of life?''

If you think Deveny is keen to use the opportunity to espouse her ideological slant, think again. She will argue against the Monty Pythonesque topic. ''It's only because it's easier to write jokes for,'' she says. ''Most people know me as quite an optimistic person and quite happy, but I don't think we should look only on the bright side of life because if we do there won't be much change.''

Although Deveny earns her keep as a writer, she won't have any problems getting a few laughs.

''I started as a stand-up [comic] and moved into writing for television, newspapers and radio.

''I also worked as a monologue writer on Rove for five years.''

But does she read Green Left Weekly?

''Yes, of course. It's a good little rag.

''A lot of people tend to read things that reinforce their own beliefs and we [the left] do it, too, except I think we have a better ability to laugh at ourselves.

''That's what this debate is all about. All gorgeous lefties - we're just there for a laugh and a drink.''

Solidarity aside, Deveny warns the evening could turn sour due to the high oestrogen levels on the panel.

''There's a few girls, so let's just say there could be a scrag fight on by the end of the night.''

No stranger to a bit of a niggle herself, Deveny has, in recent times, raised the ire of right-wing darling Andrew Bolt.

So, would she consider inviting him to join the debate?

''I'm sorry - who? Is he one of the dads down at the school?''

And will we see Deveny on the bow of a Greenpeace ship ramming Japanese whalers?

''Well, I would if I could be bothered getting off the couch.''

The Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate is on at Brunswick Town Hall, corner Sydney and Glenlyon Roads, Brunswick on Friday, May 16 at 7.30pm.

Tickets: 96398622 or 0433695693.

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