South African-born Carlson, 44, has lived in New Zealand since she migrated to the North Island in 2006.
When – pandemic permitting – she’s not touring the world as a stand-up comedian, Carlson lives quietly with her wife Julie and their two children.
“Quarantining was like a holiday for me,” she adds.
“I’d wake up, do my sit-ups and press-ups for an hour … OK, so that didn’t happen but it was a good time to catch up on my TV, reading and admin.”
Carlson had to complete the mandatory hotel stay ahead of her stint as a judge on The Masked Singer, and again when production on the show was paused due to a COVID-19 scare on set ahead of the finale.
Here, Carlson tells WHO about her experience on the show and reflects on life in lockdown ...
How did you end up getting the role on The Masked Singer. Were you a fan?
Mate, I’d never seen the show, but how lucky am I?! Not everything during the pandemic is all bad.
When Lindsay Lohan couldn’t return as a judge because of the travel restrictions, I felt like I’d been handed the golden ticket.
I was like,“Oh, you can’t travel international, Linds? Don’t worry, girl! I got you.”
If you hadn’t seen the show before, how did you prepare for your role as a judge?
I hadn’t seen the international versions of the show because they’re geoblocked in NZ. But I had watched a bit of it on YouTube and what I’d seen looked so fun. How good are the costumes?!
But when I was asked to step into Lindsay’s shoes– her stilettos, in fact! – I started my research. I went full CSI.
In what way?
Rather than focus on the voice, I’ve been studying people’s height and body shapes. So if some big, muscular guy is in the costume, he could be a rugby player. If the person looks like they could run underneath a coffee table, it’s probably Dannii Minogue trying on a costume!
I also studied lots of Instagram accounts. If certain Australian-based celebrities had big gaps between posts, could it be because they’re at a photo shoot in a hammerhead costume? See? I told you I went totally CSI on this.
Would you have been tempted to get into costume and sing on the show?
I’m going to let you in on a secret: Mate, I’m so tone deaf, I lip-sync to ‘Happy Birthday’. No-one wants to hear me sing, so it’s not going to happen. I’d love to have a go in the costumes though.
Who or what would you like to dress up as?
I’d really like to be an octopus, Urzila the evil octopus!
Who do you think the show appeals to?
Mums, dads, kids and grandmas can watch the show. There’s no rogue swearing. My kids can watch it – so long as they don’t get freaked out by the masks.
Plus, it’s like an investigation and cooking show all in one because it gets hot in those costumes.
You’ve been at home with your family during lockdown. How was it?
I was at home for seven months. I spent lots of time with our kids to stop them from going into a tailspin over not seeing much of their friends and homeschooling.
I also caught up with all my aunties in South Africa over Zoom. It was great to have that time off, but it has also been awesome trying to guess which celeb is the bushranger.
The Masked Singer finale airs on Monday September 14 at 7.30pm on Network Ten.