Growing up in the country does something to you. For Geraldine Hickey, it made her an avid lover of sport in a town where, well, there wasn’t much else going on at the time. And while everyone (including Geraldine) in Albury was a lover of football, she was developing another passion, and one that’s placed her on stages all over the world.
“The only comedy I’d seen was what was on TV and whenever the roadshow came through,” she says of her early experiences with standup.
In 2001, instead of watching the RAW comedy roadshow go past, Geraldine got involved in it. The competition took her to Melbourne, where she competed on stage in the RAW Comedy National Finals. While she mightn’t have won, the exposure to the city marked a change in the trajectory of her life.
“I’d always had plans to move to Melbourne. But it was never anything definite and so I went back home [after the heat] and packed everything and moved out two weeks later,” she says.
Now over a decade since her spur-of-the-moment move, and Geraldine is facing the early morning wake ups of a “breakfaster” on triple r’s morning radio show (“I love it so much”). Her knowledge of football is still used, as is her “blue” humour refined from years on stage.
“I feel that with my time on stage it has made me much more able to talk on radio. I think it works both ways in that I’m not afraid to fill up space with saying things,” she says.
Known for making jokes about anything and everything, perhaps Geraldine’s most memorable moment on radio was the time before she was even a host, rather a guest to the program.
“I was coming in for an interview to the breakfasters during comedy festival time and I woke up early went up to get on my motorbike. The ignition was broken because someone had tried to jam a screwdriver in it,” Geraldine lists as the beginning to her mad public-transport dash to the studio.
“I was so stressed about making it there and what I was going to do that I told the guys off air, and at the end of the interview they kind of just said, ‘Well this has happened, maybe there’s some listeners out there who can help her out?’ I didn’t know what anyone could do but the phones lines all just lit up.”
And help out they did, with one listener lending a bicycle for Geraldine to use for several months and another fixing the motorbike itself. It’s a rare occurrence but it was one that fuelled Geraldine in her love affair for radio.
With the perks of radio fulfilled, the only thing left to experience is for Geraldine to talk-down a heckler just like she would on stage as a comedian. And we’re sure that day will come.
Written by Amanda Sherring