Time Out (Melbourne) - - THE BEST MEDICINE - Laura Davis: Cake in the Rain, Fort Delta, Stop 59, Capi­tol Ar­cade (Base­ment Lvl), 113 Swanston St, Mel­bourne 3000. 1300 660 013. www.com­e­dyfes­ti­val.com.au. Tue-sat 10pm. $15.30-$25.30. Mar 29-Apr 22.

of not,” adds Laura Davis, “un­less you’re mak­ing it par­tic­u­larly hi­lar­i­ous and shiny and easy to di­gest, which is kind of the job you have to do.” In her last three con­cept shows, the Perth-born, Mel­bourne-based co­me­dian has at­tempted to push the bound­aries of where com­edy is al­lowed to go and what the per­former­au­di­ence re­la­tion­ship might look like. The first in­volved telling the story of an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship while forc­ing the au­di­ence into an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship with her; the sec­ond was an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis per­formed live by a ghost; and the third was about the brav­ery in vul­ner­a­bil­ity, per formed blind­folded on a lad­der. All three dar­ing and dark shows dived into dan­ger­ous wa­ters, but also car­ried au­di­ences to higher ground. Her new show,

Cake in the Rain, is about “heart­break and the end of the world and how we tend to find more mean­ing in neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ences than what we do in pos­i­tive ones”, and will in­volve au­di­ence in­put (“not crowd work; an easy, hon­est con­ver­sa­tion”). “My goal has al­ways been to speak to the au­di­ence as though I’m speak­ing to one per­son I know very well,” she says. “I al­ways thought if I could write a re­ally good joke about stub­bing your toe and tell it enough times, the next time peo­ple stub their toe it wouldn’t be quite as bad – they’d say, ‘ah-ha, I re­mem­ber that joke!’ I don’t have a joke about stub­bing toes but I do have them about ex­is­ten­tial panic and heart­break and lone­li­ness. And that’s what I wanted – if I could write some re­ally good jokes about feel­ing lonely, then ev­ery­body who’s feel­ing lonely could go, ‘me too!’. Look­ing back at her decade-long ca­reer, Davis finds that com­edy has helped her, too. “I find it com­fort­ing. I suf­fered from huge amounts of anx­i­ety when I was grow­ing up and weirdly enough, stand-up was al­ways the thing that I could do. It seems coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but to some­one with anx­i­ety, be­ing able to have a con­ver­sa­tion where you con­trol ev­ery sin­gle [part] of it and how you’re per­ceived is – on a yucky level – what ap­pealed to me. And it has changed the per­son that I’ve grown up to be.”

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