Judith Lucy's delivery is unmistakably, caustically dry, dry as the Perth summers she knew growing up in the west.
It's a voice reflecting her state of mind: capable of remaining ironically distant and detached while simultaneously dissecting with precision the foibles of the Australian psyche. And this time she's turned her attention to the state of relationships in the country - specifically her own.
Judith Lucy vs Men is coming to Ballarat in February. In her show, Lucy puts a pertinent question to the audience: should she simply give up on dating and, in her words, shut up shop.
'Should Judith hang up her vagina for good?'
The comedian spoke to The Courier about what inspired her and her 30-year career in getting to the heart of what matters in Australia. And making people laugh in the process.
"Basically, I had an absolutely appalling breakup a couple of years ago," Lucy drawls down the phone with candid brevity.
I made the rather foolhardy move of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and reviewing... just my entire history with menJudith Lucy
"And I mean, as usual with me, it's all true. I did deal with this breakup a little better than I did with breakups in the past. I did a lot of yoga and that sort of stuff, because I realised that sad, angry drinking gets you nowhere.
"Happy drinking, I'm still a big fan of, so no one be alarmed. I haven't, you know, become a teetotaller. I did have one particular day when I just went out with a couple of friends and I got incredibly drunk. I drank for about 10 hours. And who knows what I said to some gentleman that evening.
"Anyway, I woke up the next morning, unsurprisingly with an absolutely shocking hangover. You know what hangovers are like: you're already riddled with self loathing and shame and paranoia and anxiety. And I made the rather foolhardy move of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and reviewing just my entire history with men, just all of it, I mean, from primary school, on you know, not just relationships or sexual encounters. I just thought about everything, even how I used to get on with my father and my brother.
"And I came to the rather alarming conclusion that the history was a very, very poor one, and that I should just accept it was time for me to shut up shop. And so that's where the inspiration for the show came from.
"I just thought well, I reckon it's time for me to hang up my vagina but let's see what the general public - no, let's see what AUSTRALIA thinks. That's the show I just basically give them a potted history of that history that I ran through in my head in bed that morning. And the end of the show people vote on whether I should ever date again."
Judith Lucy says perhaps Ballarat could be the town where she discovers where her future really lies.
"Look, basically, my demographic and my circle of friends largely consists of women and gay men. Whatever it is that attracts women and gay men to me, at the same time seems to repel a great deal of straight men. That's just the unhappy fact, really. I mean, of course I know some great straight men.
"As part of the show, I get the whole audience to put their hand up. And then I get women and all members of the LGBTQIA community to put their hands down.
"This already leaves us with very few hands up. And then I say, okay, that obviously leaves us with a few straight men; so guys, put your hands down if you've come with someone from the first group and it was their idea. That generally leaves us with maybe five or six people with their hands up. And then look just for fun I do generally say, and this is just for me, keep your hand up if you're in a position to do so and you want to have sex with me.
"And I have done the show many, many times and I look I generally do wind up with one or two hands up - but I'm yet to have sex with an audience member and that's really disappointing. Maybe Ballarat could be the place."
Underlying the laughs which any really good comedian wins from their audience is a tightrope act, a balance between humour and truth and the comedian's beliefs. Lucy agrees that the best comedy is born out of emotional fact and vulnerability, walking a line between what's funny and what's dangerously open, as in Hannah Gadsby's recent show Nanette. Does being on stage ever get any easier?
"I guess, once I finally worked out what on earth I was doing, and really found my voice, I realised my interest was to explore my life as a way of exploring life in general. If I have any appeal, I think it's that I talk very openly about stuff that's happened to me.
"The hope is that if people do like what I do, it's because they relate to it. I've talked a lot about my family - I feel like everyone's got a crazy family; I've talked about death, you know, all of that sort of stuff. And it's all stuff people have either experienced or will experience. And I guess I have always had this ridiculous idea that we're all in this together. That's why I've never had a problem with being really honest about that.
"I also really love it because I feel like that gives you a real connection with the audience. One of the things I love most about the job is that relationship. It also quite often means people will just come up and tell me stuff about themselves. You know, it's like they'll share their stories, and I just absolutely love that.
"Generally speaking, when I've when I've talked about difficult things that have happened in my life - I am answering your question, I'm sorry, I'm just taking a very long, convoluted way of doing it - one thing I get asked a lot is if I find my work 'cathartic'.
"And I don't most of the time, because I feel like you've really got to have sorted your shit out before you talk about it on stage, or it's just not very funny. But interestingly, and this is where I come back to what you say about getting up in front of people... this is actually been one of the most difficult shows I've ever done in terms of the writing process and performing it every night.
I guess, once I finally worked out what on earth I was doing, and really found my voice, I realised my interest was to explore my life as a way of exploring life in generalJudith Lucy
"My number-one priority is always to make something funny - because that's my job - but in terms of really being vulnerable, without sounding like a wanker - this show has actually been the most difficult one for me to do."
Watching Lucy perform, audiences see someone willing to explore her own personality deeply, and to excoriate herself in public. Is this why they feel a familiarity with her, because she represents something we all do - albeit with far, far better comic timing?
"I find the whole truth and honesty thing with comedy obviously really fascinating. I mean, I think an act like Lano and Woodley is incredibly honest, even though they obviously reveal nothing about their private lives. I still believe you get something from Col and Frank on stage that's incredibly truthful, which is why they so enduringly popular.
"I've never really thought about it to this degree, but I suppose when I am writing about stuff, I'm less likely to go outward in the examination, and I'm more likely to go inward. I mean, to be perfectly honest, the reason that this show has been so difficult for me in some respects is because, I mean, if you just looked at what it was on the surface, I'm sure it would be easy for a person to go, before they saw the show, I'm sure it would be easy for them to say, 'That's Judith just getting on stage and bagging men for an hour and 15 minutes'.
"Actually what took it out of me was really examining why I put myself in these different situations, and why I put up with certain sorts of behavior. So it's actually been looking at my part in all of it, that's been a difficult thing.
"And I'd like to think the three or four straight men who come to the show consider their behaviour as well."
Judith Lucy vs Men is coming to Ballarat on February 14 - (a 'perfect' Valentine's Day date) at Her Majesty's Theatre in Lydiard Street. Bookings athermaj.com