Dave Maher is no stranger to death – although he’s standing right in front of us, on the tiny Just The Spare Room stage, there was a time in his life where things could’ve gone very differently. In 2014, after years of self-described alcohol abuse, Maher fell into a month-long coma, awaking to find his friends mourning him. With this as the subject matter, it wouldn’t be entirely accurate to call Feed Wolf Ice Cream a comedy, per se; it’s perhaps more aptly described as a sombre, thought-provoking piece with light-hearted moments.
The whole premise is that we’re in the afterlife, and Maher is here to show us the ropes. It’s a pretty loose theme, but serves as an effective springboard to other topics, such as an autobiographical account of his coma. As the show unfolds, we gain a deeper understanding of his life leading up to the coma and his recovery. Maher is incredibly honest, with a disarming openness that makes you feel like you’re in the company of a close friend, not a stranger. He also manages to cover a lot of death-related subject matter, from funerals to eulogies to consciousness (the latter is interpreted through the lens of pigeons, with amusing results).
The audience interaction is a little hit or miss; one scene, where Maher attempts to help an audience member recreate a favourite childhood memory of theirs, goes on for slightly too long, but there’s a discussion at the end of the show among audience members which forces us to come to terms with our vision of the afterlife – something that most people think about, although try not to dwell on – and gives us an insight into others’ interpretations too. It’s philosophical and the more introspective you are, the more you’ll get out of it.
Feed Wolf Ice Cream is absolutely worth a watch. By far the best parts of the show are when we’re just chatting to Maher, reflecting on the nature of death and passing – although the show’s byline states that it’s for “those who want more from their comedy than one guy standing still on a stage with a microphone.” I’d be more than content just to watch Maher do exactly that, as he muses about life, death, and everything in between.