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Demi Lardner : Look What You Made Me Do

When Demi Lardner speaks with Beat, it’s not too long after she’s just had her head flushed down the toilet by a housemate. She’s in Adelaide, performing as part of the Fringe Festival there, sharing accommodation with a group of other performers. “They went out so I put all their clothes in the fridge. That’s kind of what I do when I’m home alone, rearrange everyone else’s stuff,” she says.

She didn’t just stuff them into the fridge, however. They were labelled and neatly stacked, she says.
 
“I put all of his modesty clothes, which are his shirts, in the top shelf and then leggy shirts, which are pants, on the second shelf and then all the shoes on the bottom. And he was none too happy,” she says of how that went down when one returned.
 
“He picked me up and flushed my head in the toilet, so good times, good friendship,” she says with a laugh. While she calls the fridge stunt a “newie” (“I was kind of proud of myself for getting it done so promptly”) she says she usually just blows up photos of herself and sticks them on the walls. “A huge picture of me staring at them while they sleep, sometimes dressed like a clown. Sometimes it's a picture of me and my dad. That’s kind of my thing."
 
Lardner says the toilet flushing has been the most dramatic reactions she’s had to a prank so far. “He did it very calmly with no words, just picked me up, tipped me upside down and gave me my just desserts."
 
She says driving the sharehouse shenanigans is the fact she’s mid-season and “going insane and trying to get it out in as creative a way as possible.”
 
Lardner, known best as a stand-up, who last year was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival, is shifting gears with her latest solo show Look What You Made Me Do. Inspired by “all of the step Dads I’ve had in the past and how weird and nuts they’ve been,” Lardner is playing a 46-year-old man trapped in his own basement, on the phone to a life insurance agent.
 
“It’s more sketchy and not really stand-up,” she says. “It’s really odd, so sometimes it takes a couple of minutes for people to adjust to me yelling and handing them jars of my breath and stuff. It’s really fun though."
 
Working behind the scenes with Lardner on this show as director and co-writer is Aunty Donna’s Mark Bonanno. “He’s maybe a bigger weirdo than me, so it's been really cool,” she says. “I love stand-up, but I’ve always felt more like a weird little actor-y boy than a stand-up so I’m having a lot of fun with this show. It feels like what I’m supposed to be doing all along.”
 
By Joanne Brookfield
 
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall - Backstage Room
Dates: Thursday March 30 - Sunday April 23 (bar Mondays)
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: $18 - $26