Let’s put this right up front. Demi Lardner is 22 years old and in her first year of the Melbourne Comedy Festival she was nominated for Best Newcomer in 2016.
Demi’s set comprised a mix of well-crafted stories, odd truths and some straight up shock and awe! Demi handled the heat well, from the 30-degree ‘Vic’s Bar’ to the pre-show reviews that helped build up expectation of her comedy prowess.
I will try not to spoil the framework of Lardner’s show but I felt it could have been used to greater effect. There were two moments in the show where Lardner used external props, which were funny and used well. However, if combined into the narrative of the show, they could have had greater meaning and perhaps felt smoother.
Demi made the audience feel welcome, and adequately targeted those in the audience she knew. That said, and this isn’t something that would work for every comedian, but picking on audience members who are ‘making a scene’ could work to her favour. Infamous audience-interact’er Bill Burr makes a point of challenging anything that takes attention away from him. This style is not for everyone but from a quick look, Demi could take on anyone…verbally that is. In our audience, there was a particular audience member whose laughter was out of this world. That’s a good thing right? Well, it is if they’re laughing at the punch lines and not just to their own tune. It would have been great to see Demi interact with this audience member but I completely understand the need to stay on track, stick to the set and not get distracted by audience ribbing.
At some moments Demi’s comedy felt young, taking joy in the discomfort of others and enjoying ‘rude’ words. However, I was really glad I went to see her live and look forward to seeing her set develop in festivals to come.