Comedy Chat: Zoe Coombs Marr

Zoe Coombs Marr is known for her work with independent company Post; she’s also known as Dave. Dave’s gross and may well be a bit too close to some young stand ups in town. If you’re a comedian and think you’re nothing like Dave, perhaps you should see him.

Zoe Coombs Marr, Dave
Zoe Coombs Marr, Dave

What MICF shows are you most looking forward to seeing?
Number one on my list is Adrienne Truscott’s Asking for it: A One-Lad!y Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else!. I saw a short excerpt last year and it was brilliant. Gutsy and horrible and hilarious. I’m also looking forward to David Quirk’s show, and Isabel and Rachel’s Edge! at Tuxedo Cat. Their show last year was one of my favorites and they’re a hilarious couple of weirdos. Actually I’m really excited to see all the shows at Tuxedo Cat. It’s jam packed with hilarious weirdos.

What makes MICF different from all the other festivals?
The posters at MICF are much more likely to feature people photographed from above looking confused/bemused/baffled/fed up and holding props. Also the pressure to write hilarious responses to interview questions is significantly higher at MICF…


What’s an absolute must do for you in Melbourne?
I’ve discovered this lovely little place and I always end up there for pizza after shows, it’s kind of tucked away, outdoor dining, very quaint, traditional home style Italian, a real foodie joint. You probably haven’t heard of it. Golden Tower on Swanston Street?

What comedians/performers have influenced you the most?
I’d really like to say something cool like Andy Kaufman and Lenny Bruce, or David Cross and Sarah Silverman, or even Sue-Ann Post who I saw on tv in the 90s and was totally in awe of.

But, to be honest, as a kid, I was just completely obsessed with The Young Ones and Bernadette Peters in Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. And as far as influence goes, I think that might explain why my aesthetic is somewhere between a gay man’s vision of a Broadway diva witch and drunk students hitting each other with cricket bats.

What’s advice do you wish you’d been given before your first gigs?
That “go to bed Jessica” joke is very good now but it’s not going to last.

Do you do still your own flyering?
No. I’ve never been any good at it. As I always say, “I would rather be punched once quite hard in the face than have to flyer for a week”. I get really anxious and sweaty and in my experience that actually repels audiences.

What’s the best (or worst) thing a review has said about you or your show?
Oh how to choose!? Probably “genius” is the best. But what’s worse? “Puerile”? “Infantile”? “Hellish”?  What about “This will make you want to kill yourself”? Is that the worst? I don’t know. Hey, why not come to my show? You can tell me if it’s hellish or puerile!

If you could invite anyone to see your show (and you know they would come), who would it be?
Ok, if I can have anyone, I’ll want them to contribute something. So I’d have to say Stadler and Waldorf, the two old grumpy guys from The Muppets. Hands down. Can you imagine having them in the audience?

“These jokes aren’t half bad”
“No, They’re ALL bad!”

What comedian (alive or dead) do you wish you’d seen live?
Probably Andy Kaufman. Also, while we’re playing hypothetical time travel, I’d really love to see a young Bette Midler in a gay bathhouse performance please. Thanks time machine.

When did you realise that being funny is the career for you?
The moment I came to on the floor of a vet clinic after passing out during Year 10 work experience and knew I couldn’t be a veterinarian.

What’s the best heckle you’ve received?
I’m not sure if it was intended as a heckle, but once in a quiet moment of a show, a three-year-old said very loudly “oh god no”.

Is there anything you’re not prepared to joke about?
I don’t believe there’s any topic too taboo to be a joke, as long as you know what you’re doing and your joke is actually funny. Probably the only thing I stay away from is jokes about friends, family members and girlfriends who are in the audience. But that’s more of a self-preservation thing. 

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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