Em Rusciano: Force of Nature
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Em Rusciano: Force of Nature

During Em Rusciano’s career she has been described as exceeding all expectations, sharp and hilarious and an irrepressible force of nature. While this is true for Em’s shows, it’s also a pretty accurate way to define her life.
Our interview happened to be in the middle of a very busy schedule. Talking to me in a huff as she dropped off her kids to school, Em listed off the numerous events she had attended just days before. A trip to Sydney saw her perform at the autism stand-up show for Autism Australia, then there was a trip to Yeppoon (QLD) for an important talk on postnatal depression over morning tea sweets. That same night, Em then hosted the black tie ball for beyondblue.
Her hectic schedule was broken slightly by a trip home before she headed back out to Karratha for two days to talk to teens about the importance of R U OK? Day, which then took her back home to host the Fashion Aid show in Melbourne. Amidst all of this Em has been writing every day and preparing for her Geelong show with fellow comedian, and friend, Joel Creasey.
“I don’t balance it, that’s the whole thing,” Em adds with a laugh. “Anyone that says they do are liars. I just try to prioritise stuff in order of what needs to be done.”
For Em that means taking care of her children, updating her blog posts and keeping her twitter fans happy. Though her life wasn’t always likely to end up this way. After a stint in the second season of Australian Idol, and after a period as an elite athlete, Em fell into a career in radio and things just snowballed from there.
“I was really grateful for [Australian Idol] and I wouldn’t have a career without it,” she says. “I didn’t come out of it expecting a record contract or anything, so I think that’s why I was better placed.”
Slowly Em began to make friends in the right places and landed a small role on The Project. Knowing she was partial to a good joke, Charlie Pickering suggested she take up comedy. With full faith in her abilities, Charlie attended her first show at a small 20-seat venue in Melbourne. Em has since established herself as a comedian and even sold out a show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“Wil Anderson has been a big supporter as well. At the end of his sold-out gig he said, ‘You must go see Em Rusciano, I can’t recommend her enough’. The very next day all my shows were gone,” Em says.
Joel Creasey also saw her talent and as a 12-year-old boy voted for her in Australian Idol. The appreciation quickly grew and there wouldn’t be a day that would go by where he wouldn’t try and sneak a listen to Em’s radio show on Fox FM. This was while Joel worked at Nova FM. Now with the same management the pair are longtime friends. “We’re joined at the hip!” Em interjects.
The friendship is certainly helped by the sense of humour they both share.
“It’s very similar to mine. It’s kind of catty and self-deprecating. We’re both storytellers. Joel and I don’t really get up and do one-liners. As a result I wouldn’t call us traditional stand-up comics,” she says.
Separately the comedians are worthy of seeing without question, but together they are bound to be a completely different experience. Em even says that the show will elicit many laughs, and be so full-on, that “people may need to have a stiff drink”.
When&Where: The Playhouse Theatre, GPAC – October 30
By Amanda Sherring