MICF: Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience

I’ve heard of double-dating but this is ridiculous.

Dave Warneke & Sam Peterson
Dave Warneke & Sam Peterson

Dave Warneke makes us feel like we’re the most beautiful audience in the world for one very special night of passion and romance in Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience, appearing at The Tuxedo Cat as part of the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Warneke is looking for love, and what better place to find his one true soul mate than in a room full of people who have paid money to spend time with him. Ever the charmer, he sets out to woo the collective with an evening that is structured like an archetypal date. We are treated to loose interpretations of a romantic dinner, a film, drinks at a bar, and the standard getting-to-know-you small talk. There are also a few typically Warneke elements to the evening, such as board games ‘back at his place’ and, of course, a world record attempt.

In order to successfully execute such a daring courtship, Warneke employs the use of an online survey generator that the audience access via their smartphones at various points throughout the show. A series of multiple-choice votes are cast and the events of the evening progress according to the majority favour.

During the course of the evening, Warneke also receives ongoing ‘assistance’ from his faithful wingman and manager, Sam Peterson, who also takes the opportunity to capitalise on the evening’s immense potential as a commercial networking tool.

The fact that the basic mechanics of the show rely heavily on the audience’s interactions with their phones means that there is the inevitable risk of focus being misdirected away from the performers onstage and much of the show’s crucial intimacy lost. Thankfully, the technological element is diffused early on through strong character establishment, and metered throughout with ongoing offerings of intimate stories and personal confessions from both performers and audience.

Dave Warneke Dates The Entire Audience feels like an unusual blend of traditional stand-up show and weird social experiment. Warneke’s hapless honesty and geeky charisma (complete with piano key suspenders) are endlessly endearing, and definitely make him the kind of young man that you would happily take home and introduce to your mother.

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