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Psychiatrist By Day, Comedian By Night!


MELBOURNE – March 2024: In an absolute treat for non-cool parents and grandparents alike, Jo Ghastly is set to bring her much needed personal development seminar Jo Ghastly: The Cool Mum to Melbourne audiences on April 8th as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024. Jo Ghastly is the alter ego of New Zealand based psychiatrist, Dr Jo Prendergast - who is a comedian by night! Her unique style of comedy looks at the challenges of parenting and everyday observations of life.


Following sold-out seasons, with 5-star reviews at Adelaide Fringe and New Zealand Comedy Festival, Jo is bringing her hilarious alter ego ‘Jo Ghastly’ to the Double Tree Hilton in April 2024.  The show is based on Dr Jo’s own parenting disasters and developed from how she thinks her teenage children see her - embarrassing, trying to be cool and failing miserably, presented in the hilarious form of a celebrity personal development seminar.


“Comedians like to find the funny, silver linings in even the darkest times. If we have a nasty accident we think, “I can use this on stage” before we even hit the ground!” – Dr Jo Prendergast


The Cool Mum has a little bit of something for all comedy and storytelling fans - there’ll be light-hearted jokes, but also truthful, take-home messages.  The show includes fun audience interaction skits and hilarious video clips with Dr Jo’s own teenagers.


Don’t miss The Cool Mum – contrary to what Dr Jo’s kids think, it will be very cool! 


Dr Jo Prendergast is available for interview by arrangement. For more information, images and interviews contact: Contact Aisling Brady 


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “One show you don’t want to miss” Play and Go Adelaide.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Cool AF” See Do Eat Review.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I’m very proud” Jo’s Mum.


Dr Jo graduated from Otago University Medical School in 1992 and then moved to Sydney Australia where she gained her Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Fellowship in 2000. She started a NSW Institute of Psychiatry Child and Adolescent Fellowship in 2000 and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Infant Mental Health in 2001. Dr Jo worked in private practice at Sydney Clinic from 2001-2004 where she worked with pre-schoolers, teenagers and adults.


In 2004 Jo moved back to New Zealand with her husband and two pre-school children and took up a position at the Mothers and Babies Service in the public mental health service in Christchurch. She later worked in the area of rehabilitation for people suffering from severe mental illness. In 2013 Jo moved back into private practice where she worked with teenagers and adults with a wide range of mental health challenges. In particular, she developed expertise in the mental health of people who are gender diverse and in ADHD. She also started working in the area of childhood trauma and its effects on teenagers and adults. She was involved in the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) guidelines on assessment of Dissociative Disorders.


In 2021 Dr Jo was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer so she closed her private follow-up practice while under going treatment. Dr Jo spend 2022-2023 writing a Harper Collins commissioned book for parents about teenage mental health, When Life Sucks. Dr Jo continues to provide guidance on the effects of severe childhood trauma as an ACC assessor.


In September and October 2023, Dr Jo is touring Australia and New Zealand talking about her book When Life Sucks and performing her one woman show about parenting teenagers The Cool Mum. In her spare time Dr Jo loves the outdoors, especially horse-riding, skiing, hiking and swimming in the sea.


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