We chat to the rising comic before she takes to the stage with her show, Heartbreaker.
Lauren Bonner has something of an enviable dating track record. She’s never been dumped. “I’ve definitely dumped a few people,” admits the 27-year-old, “but have never been sat down and dumped myself, which is, I mean, thank God, I think it would be terrible.”
She’s had a ghosting, though. “I’ve definitely been rejected. I tell a bit of a story in the show about where not a ‘boyfriend’ but kind of a little, you know, ‘a something with someone’, they didn’t quite dump me but definitely no longer contacted me,” she says.
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Bonner has taken these experiences and turned them into stand-up material for her show Heartbreaker. Of course, like the rest of the comedy community, she suffered a different type of heartbreak last year when the festival was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
“I felt so ready to do it and just, like, primed. I’d just done a week and I was ready to roll and then it all just kind of came crashing down,” she recalls, referring to the week of shows she’d done in Brisbane to warm up.
However, when she speaks with Beat she’s just flown in from Sydney and is looking forward to – finally – making her Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut. What she’s presenting is her best work yet.
“It’s a real stand up comedy hour of pretty much all the jokes I’ve ever written and have been working on and honing in clubs and stuff for the past few years,” says Bonner, who studied theatre and performance at uni.
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While she lives and gigs mainly in Sydney, she’s also performed in Gold Coast, Perth and Auckland, plus done her time on the road doing some gigs in regional NSW. “I quite like the regional gigs because sometimes they are really hard but I think that’s what makes you better as well.”
Bonner recalls one of these hard gigs, which she did with three other comedians, in northern New South Wales.
“We did the show in Mullumbimby to two people. Yeah, that was the whole audience… and we did it. I think once you’ve done 20 minutes to two people in Mullumbimby, you can kind of feel like you can do anything,” she says.
Those experiences paved the way for Bonner to appear on SBS’s The Feed, ABC’s Tonightly and having her own regular segment on the breakfast show on triple j. She’s also worked other jobs in her time – admin, Uber driver, parking valet, “lots of retail” – and it’s all become grist for her comedy mill.
“I’m not like a big, really deep philosophical comedian,” she says. Heartbreaker is not really a narrative or themed show, she says, preferring instead to focus the jokes across a wide range of topics, like family, work, and as per the title, sex and dating as well. “It’s definitely a lot of material that touches on all sorts of things. So there’ll be something for everyone.”
Does that include material about being a parking valet?
“I think, surprisingly, I don’t have any jokes about working in the parking valet,” Bonner admits. “I don’t know, there’s nothing funny about having to deal with really rich people all day, every day. It kind of just makes you angry.”
Lauren Bonner hits the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from Thursday March 25 until Sunday April 4 (bar Monday). Grab tix here.