Interview: Rabiah Coon Talks Comedy Show “Nice Try”

Rabiah Coon is bringing her comedy show “Nice Try” to the Camden Fringe in a double bill featuring both Coon and Stephanie Lorence, who will perform her show “Clown Nipples”. The duo are raising money for Refuge and the MS Society charities, so audiences are promised both laughter and doing some good all in one. Here, Rabiah chats about her influences, her hopes for the piece and the joy of performing as part of the Camden Fringe for the first time. The double bill will play the Etcetera Theatre from 8 – 11th and 15th August.

First of all, how are you and how is the preparation going for “Nice Try”?

I’m doing pretty well. Thanks for asking and thanks for chatting with me! Preparation for “Nice Try” has been a big learning experience. There is so much more admin than I realized but for the show itself, I have the main bits constructed and I’m ready to share them with an audience! It is always evolving.

This show sounds like a pretty relatable gem, even if the tales being told are to the extreme. When did your relationship with calamity begin? Are we talking from childhood or adulthood here?

Ha! Thanks. I start out the show with an anecdote from the day I was born and we go from there. Sometimes I think I’m willfully ignorant about the dangers of doing certain things so it is good I find the humour in them! 

And what prompted you to put these experiences together for a comedy show?

My comic style is observational but a lot of my material ends up being personal narrative. I have written about a lot of things from my life in a more serious way where the funny side isn’t appropriate. Over the years, from being diagnosed with a chronic illness to just being perpetually clumsy, I’ve used humor as a coping mechanism. I feel our personal stories are important and can be useful to others, and this is a new medium for me to tell mine.

Now your own disasters are at the centre of all this, but there must surely be a long list of innocent bystanders, friends and/or family involved along the way. Has anyone ever refused to forgive you for being entangled in an unfortunate event?

I think my mom worries when I say something like, “I’m going skydiving tomorrow,” because knowing me it isn’t going to go smoothly but for the most part people accept me for who I am. I’m the one paying the medical bills in the end!

Has anything ever got to the point of real danger – the kind that has been more scary than funny?

I joke about it now but I think the most recent time is when I fell off a segway at the start of a city tour. My knee hurt a lot and I was worried I’d need surgery (again). I was out of town so ending up on crutches really changed the plans for the rest of my trip. 

In the show, you also touch on your diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis and how it may have contributed to your eventful tales (with 50% of profits also going to Refuge and the MS Society charities). Would you say there’s anything resembling a serious message somewhere within this show?

Absolutely. I am talking about my experience with MS in the show but also know I have been very fortunate so far. I talk about a few scary things that have happened as a result of the MS but juxtapose those with some anecdotes that are humorous. It is a bit of a see-saw. There could be 5 other people in the room with MS as well who have had completely different and also more difficult experiences so I try to acknowledge that.

“Nice Try” will be your Camden Fringe debut (complete with BSL Interpreter, which is great to see). What does this event mean to you as a first-timer?

This is the realization of a goal I once thought was unattainable. I want to talk about the subjects and it is hard to do that in a 5 minute open mic set. I plan to grow this into a longer show and have ideas but I’m really proud of this 30 minutes and also as someone who lives in Camden I am so proud do to this in my own backyard. Even this is an example of the show’s title, “Nice Try”. I’m giving it a try.

Do you have any advice for fellow calamitous folk as they go about their own precarious lives?

Take care of yourself and take the precautions that make things safe for you. Also, learn to laugh at yourself when you fall. It takes away some of the sting and shame!

And just before you tootle on with your day, tell me a little bit about your other project, the “More Than Work” podcast.

Thanks for asking about the podcast. I created this podcast to tell others’ stories and to encourage listeners to see their self-worth as greater than just their job title. A lot of us suffer from burnout or lose self-esteem because we only identify as our jobs. Life is more than that and I talk to guests who have careers in areas that reflect their values or have found a way to pursue things outside of work. The first episode tells my story.

Finally then, in just one sentence, why should audiences come and see “Nice Try”?

Audiences should come to enjoy laughs with me and my fellow comedian Stephanie Lorence who is performing her half hour show “Clown Nipples” on the same bill, and and leave feeling good that they had fun but also donated to charity!

So there you have it! You can catch Rabiah Coon’s “Nice Try” in a double bill with Stephanie Lorence and her show “Clown Nipples” at the Etcetera Theatre from 8 – 11th and 15th August 2021. You can find your tickets here.

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