Zoe Coombs MarrAward-winning stand-up comedian Zoë Coombs Marr is set to return to Sydney  with Trigger Warning.

Tagging along is the meat-headed stand-up persona Dave who is trying not to offend anyone.

Speaking to LOTL, Zoë says she almost pulled the show from the comedy festival. “I thought it was just too bonkers,” she says. Fortunately, she didn’t pull it and the show completely sold out during the Melbourne Comedy Festival run, including multiple extra shows.

The popularity of the show saw Zoë awarded the 2016 Barry Award for Best Show and the 2016 Golden Gibbo Award for Best Independent Show.

Zoë says her aim is “always to induce a kind of hysteria, that ‘Please stop I can’t breathe and may have an accident’ type of funny.” Trigger Warning succeeds in this, with one review from the Herald Sun writing “wet-your-pants brilliant… Zoë Coombs Marr is a genius.”

Sydney audiences won’t want to miss the return of Dave. While much of Dave’s material has remained the same, the world is changing around him.

“Dave’s stuck with his sexist jokes—Lots of difference-between-men-and-women, can’t-find-the-clitoris fare, but the audiences have moved on and he’s come up against a lot of hatred.” Zoë says. Adding insult to injury, Dave finds himself “surrounded by progressive ‘absurd’ comedians like Sam Simmons who are doing much better than him.”

Doing what any out-of-date comedian would, Dave enrolled in Gaulier’s Clown School in France. Trigger Warning is Dave’s attempt at making a silent clowning show that won’t offend anyone.

The audience will witness Dave unraveling, revealing a clown within a clown within a clown. “There’s even a bit of me in there,” Zoë says.

Dave will be familiar to all audience members, even if this is the first time they are seeing him. Zoë believes the realistic nature of Dave happens because he’s familiar.

“We’ve all met or seen a Dave. And I think that’s because there is an accepted stand-up persona that a lot of guys take on, which they are performing as much as I am performing Dave,” she says, highlighting that the only real difference is gender.

“You can see this thing which is familiar, but it’s undermined because I’m a woman, and then it makes you wonder about that familiar thing in its natural form.”

The complex parody nature of Dave is what keeps him interesting. Zoë notes that if Dave were “just one note” she would have dumped him already.

“It’s because he embodies that attractive or accepted persona, that dominant male voice, but it’s constantly undermined.”

Zoë recalls how she felt her voice was drowned out when first beginning stand-up, feeling like the only voice people would listen to was the male voice. After fighting this for a long time, Zoë decided to take on the voice herself, but made him vulnerable.

The bond between Zoë and Dave is another factor which keeps audiences intrigued. “As a character, I feel like I know him very well, and I do really love Dave…” Zoë adds that Dave is “actually quite endearing and he’s surprisingly (and embarrassingly) close to my own persona.”

Following the limited shows in Sydney, Zoë will be taking the show to Edinburgh and London. However, Dave does not have any set plans for the future, with Zoë saying, “It’s possible Dave doesn’t come out entirely in tact… or does he?”