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Little Esther Loves Rifling Through Audience Members' Bags

17 September 2015 | 4:15 pm | Cyclone Wehner

"I really just get up there and I talk about all of the things that are wrong with me."

"I really just get up there and I talk about all of the things that are wrong with me — and usually people will laugh at those things because they have the same problems too," US comedian "Little" Esther Povitsky chuckles. "And I like to go through people's bags at the end of my show and get to know my audience. It's really fun to kind of roast whoever's stuff I'm going through and get to know them. I'm just gonna poke fun at the different kinds of things that us crazy people carry around in our wallets or our bags." Povitsky's Antipodean trek will be her first-ever outside the US. "I just hear that everyone there is really fun and you guys have a good, healthy, fun attitude towards entertainment — and that's what I am excited about."

"Amy Poehler is one of the nicest, most amazing people I've ever met and she's a comedy legend."

Povitsky's "Little" handle is apt. The 27-year-old, a former child model for American Girl doll catalogues, speaks in a girlish voice that's a bit Cyndi Lauper, a bit young Madonna. Like Madge, she's a Mid-Westerner, hailing from Skokie, a 'village' outside Chicago. "It's kinda a mix between a small town and a suburb," Povitsky says. "It's close enough to Chicago that you feel like you can get away to the big city when you need to, but it also has a really nice community." And culturally? Back home "there are hot dog stands on every corner" — but, infamously, requesting ketchup ('our' ubiquitous tomato sauce) is a major etiquette fail. "In Chicago most hot dog stands will not let you eat ketchup. If you ask for ketchup on your hot dogs, they will refuse to serve you!" Regardless, while the city has "great people", Povitsky (jokingly) says that she's "bored of" them. She now resides in Los Angeles and aspires to travel more.

Povitsky owes much of her growing international profile to podcasting, the rising star notably hosting the cult fave Weird Adults With Little Esther on the indie network Feral Audio. She initially recorded podcasts for her "existing fans", but soon realised that they were bringing new ones to live gigs. "It has been by far the best tool and the best part of my career, I think, just for getting my voice heard — and getting these fun conversations out there and having people get to know me."

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Povitsky has appeared on talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!. This year she joined Last Comic Standing as what one blog called a "secretly famous" contestant. Yet the self-described "theatrical comedian" is also pursuing a side-career as a (comic) actor, her biggest coup a role in the mockumentary TV series Parks And Recreation. "Parks And Rec was definitely a very special experience. That cast and that set, the energy there is like nothing I've ever experienced. Amy Poehler is one of the nicest, most amazing people I've ever met and she's a comedy legend — she's just the perfect person to me. Getting to know her was so fun and something I feel really lucky to have done. I feel really fortunate to have been part of that series because it's so great — it's so funny. I don't think there's another show that's better — to me at least."