MICF – Demi & David – Comedy Show

by | Apr 25, 2024

By Jessica Taurins

Demi & David – Comedy Show (Grocery Store) is like the Wario Ware of comedy shows. Every minute, nay, every second is tied together as loosely as a Woolies bag worn as a t-shirt, with scenes lasting anywhere from a few minutes to six seconds.

(To be clear, the show is just called Comedy Show, but every time the duo refers to it, they call it Comedy Show Grocery Store, so it just felt right to keep the same cadence in this review.)

Comedy Show (Grocery Store), as part of the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, can best be described as well-considered sketch comedy that oozes weird insides like when you step on some kind of bug. There’s a running joke that the show is scripted – it VERY clearly is not – but everything ties together relatively neatly and there’s even a bit of a plot coming through.

Hosted by Demi Lardner – a comedy star discovered at a young age, whose husband showed up to heckle her during the show – and David Correos – a Filipino / Kiwi hybrid best known for appearing on silly TV shows like Taskmaster NZ and Guy Montgomery’s Guy-Mont Spelling Bee – Comedy Show (Grocery Store) is a wonderful blend of absurd Aussie and NZ humour about their shared grocery store, which is being run out of business by the Australian grocery store duopoly.

The show opens with high intensity wackiness and closes with pretty much the same thing. The pre-show songs are nightcore-esque remixes of depressing mid-2000s emo music, and there’s a note on the TV asking the audience to be chill with the show, which was written in only five days.

As soon as Lardner and Correos take the stage, Lardner disappears into the hallway outside the room, collects a bin, and climbs into it. Then, she’s stuck, and Correos carries her around like a miniature bin angel. They claim this is the only time she’s done that.

It’s just this kind of thing all the way down.

Lardner and Correos have an extremely similar energy, neither of them are a foil to one another but some kind of ever-increasing lightning rod of madness. When Lardner laughs, so does Correos, and so too will the audience. When Correos is distracted by thoughts of Digimon, Lardner questions if lions can have… certain human traits. The little imp energy radiating from the both of them is a joy to watch.

The mixed media aspect of the show is a real highlight. Each sketch is typically associated with a video, or a voiceover, or some music, which only serves to enhance whatever weirdness is happening in real life.

There is a segment where Correos plays voicemail recordings off his phone from ‘angry customers’ who haven’t received their ‘grocery’ deliveries, chuckling into the mic as we hear what the customers have ordered. Then, another segment where we watch a PowerPoint presentation on New Ways to Hold Cups, which culminates in a play argument where Correos makes references that Lardner is unable to understand.

Most segments involve some kind of prop or costume comedy – which gets a little Not Safe For Work towards the end there – including fish heads, an ibis costume, and a whole lot of eggs. There are also scripts to be shared with the audience, where my partner and another audience member were pulled up to perform ‘New Beetlejuice’, a script written by Lardner that reads exactly the way she speaks. The audience performers are encouraged to read words as written, spelling mistakes and all, and perform stage directions as read by Correos.

For a show written in five days, it’s pretty f-ing funny.

Correos and Lardner zip through some moments and leave space for others, like a character performing stand-up comedy in the slowest, most awkward, supremely cringy way ever. Lardner is a skilled absurdist and leaves space for the audience to feel some of the most intense (yet enjoyable!) discomfort in the world at this character trying their very best to perform their new stand-up routine.

To avoid the show running too long, the duo leave out certain sketches, which makes the show a little different every night. It would be fun to see the first and last performances to see just how much things change over the weeks.

The duo are gleeful in their performance, and both are shining, wonderful stars of comedy, settled on the ground before the audience to prance around for our entertainment. Comedy Show (Grocery Store) is very much not a typical comedy show, especially considering the show usually kicked off at 11pm, but for fans of silly, sometimes kind of yucky, weird wackiness, the show is absolutely worth a watch. As is anything Correos and Lardner do separately.

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