PORT REXTON, N.L. — “Me nerves is gone, the youngsters got me drove …”
It’s a familiar refrain to those on social media who have followed Tina Randell’s character’s antics over the past few years. The “Oh me nerves” character is the over-exaggerated, stereotype of a single mom with a house full of kids who’s at her wit’s end.
And while the character has been gracing the stage as part of the annual Revue for years, this summer, audiences will get a chance to share in the hilarity with Randell’s own solo show.
Port Rexton resident Randell told The Packet the character was born as a way to comment on the news of the day in Revue each year.
She says about four years ago, during a particularly cold Newfoundland summer, she posted a short, funny paragraph on Facebook from the point of view of the character — ridiculous complaints about the weather and the many kids.
“It went mad!” Randell recalls. “It was like 600 shares! And I was like ‘interesting…’”
From there, she tailored her posts to the holidays and seasons, growing her following. She even started doing some videos of her little spiel. Her first video got over 600,000 views.
The character now has fandom all over the world. She’s had people reach out to her from different countries, both young and old, who love her posts. Some even think she really has 16 youngsters.
“They’re sending me personal messages saying that I’m a bit of sunshine in their lives … and I make them homesick if they’re from here and away … It’s things like that that make you go, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m doing this for.’”
Randell says when the character came on stage during this past year’s Revue performance, upon immediate recognition the place erupted. This happened everywhere they performed across the province. She didn’t even have to start with her first line.
“That character was late in the show before she appeared and I was on stage probably 15 times before she appeared — and when she showed up, before she spoke, the place went up.”
All this popularity has now led up to an extensive tour — with dates all over the province.
She’s extremely happy with the response thus far. The Clarenville show sold out in only 48 hours. Dates were rapidly being added for different venues.
She’s been busy writing new material, and working in some of the greatest hits, in preparation for the summer full of shows.
“I’m steady writing down one-liners you might hear someone say which turns into a monologue.”
She can become distracted when deep in the writing mentality and laughs when she admits she’s put groceries away in the cupboard that should’ve gone in the fridge while thinking about her show.
Despite her extensive acting experience with Rising Tide and other performances, she hasn’t done a one-woman show like this before.
To help out on her trip around the province, she actually has a sponsor with Hickman Nissan who are providing her with a vehicle to tour in.
And all while caught up in the planning and writing, her loyal fan base continues to support her.
She recently received a message from an 11 year-old who wants to be a comedian like Randell.
Randell says she’s looking forward to seeing people like her in person at her shows — when previously, she’s only interacted with them via a message on social media.
The character has taken on a life of her own, with a grassroots effort from a local performer. And there’s only more growth to be had.
“I’ve got such a following in the Maritimes, I’m really going to make an effort to try and go there next year.”
The first date this year is June 1 in Random Island, with many more dates following.
For a complete list of dates, go to “Tina Oh me nerves Randell” page on Facebook.