Demi Lardner stands onstage as the audience files in, with a lampshade on her head. Once everyone’s seated, she takes it off to reveal… well, that would be telling, but safe to say it results in raucous laughter less than a minute into her show.
As the show goes on, the audience realises that Lardner has undoubtedly earned the numerous awards given to her by the Sydney comedy festival, the Melbourne comedy festival, and even the Edinburgh Fringe itself. Her humour seems effortless, but an awful lot of planning has gone into this 45-minute show: nothing onstage is unintentional. Taking themes which many comedians explore as a matter of routine – family, tv tropes, wordplay – she subverts them beautifully and touches on more serious topics without killing the mood, before leaping on to another sketch about kangaroos or card tricks.
In terms of audience interaction, Lardner walks the fine line between endearing and uncomfortable, always falling on the side of the former. She utilises the entire space, and it’s almost exhausting to watch her bounce around the aisles with unwavering energy, only to stop immediately and slide back into a more relaxed skit. It’s pleasantly clear that she really enjoys what she does, too: immediately after the show finishes, she rushes outside to say goodbye to the audience and sell her colouring books (a steal, at just £3).
Lardner’s humour is bizarre and unpredictable, but none of it ever falls flat – whether she’s dressing up as a turtle or sharing biscuits with members of the audience, she always does so with such an amusing mixture of self-confidence and self-awareness that it’s very difficult not to laugh along with her, as she realises the true ridiculousness of the sketches she’s performing.
If you’re looking for high-brown comedy, then I Love Skeleton may not be for you. But if you’re looking for, well, anything else – she’s on at Assembly George Square Studios, from 8:05pm.