Interview by Sean Boelman
Hulu’s new adult animated show, Koala Man, created by Smiling Friends creator Michael Cusack has an A-list cast led by Australian and New Zealand legends like Hugh Jackman, Sarah Snook, Miranda Otto, Jemaine Clement, and Rachel House. But fans of the show will be equally — if not more impressed — by its breakout star: Australian comedian Demi Lardner.
We at disappointment media sat down with Lardner to talk about her character in the show, why she hopes Americans will be subjected to bags of random junk, and the theoretical assassination of one of her more famous co-stars. Be sure to check out the interview below!
On Why She Loves Her Character
disappointment media: I think that the character of Alison really has one of the most interesting arcs of any character in the show. What spoke to you about this character's role and growth in the show?
Demi Lardner: I love Alison. And the thing that I love most about her is that she's a weird little psycho. And her growth is uncomfortable, which speaks to me because like, when I watch people kiss in movies and emotions and stuff I’m like [she shivers]. But obviously, it’s a good thing. And I think the amount of discomfort she has with her own goodness is very cool to me. And also, I don’t have to act much when I’m uncomfortable with it, because I just am.
disappointment: I think something that's really special about Koala Man is that the subplots are just as interesting as the main storyline. Other than your own character, of course, do you have a particular character that you found was particularly compelling or your favorite?
Lardner: So I'm extremely drawn to Liam, just always such a wonderful, little dork. But in a way, his growth is also more supernatural and strange. But they sort-of parallel each other. When she’s like “Man, I hate having feelings!” he’s like “Oh bloody hell! I’m all magical!” I find that really interesting as a person who, when I was a kid, would grab my dog and say, “Hey, if you can talk, I will NOT tell anybody.” It's kind of like that if it came true, and it’s relatable in a way.
disappointment: And you kind of mentioned the sibling dynamic that your character has with Liam in the show. It's really unique and not stereotypical. Did you find that to be particularly interesting to work with?
Lardner: So I have five sisters, and no brothers. It's like the version of when I got old enough to be friends with my sisters. And again, being uncomfortable with it and being like, “Oh man, I like you. Ugh. This is stupid.” I enjoyed playing around with that. Most of the things that made me uncomfortable were the things I enjoyed the most.
On the Universality of the Show
disappointment: The cast is full of Australian and New Zealand legends in the acting community. What was it like to be part of this extraordinary ensemble?
Lardner: It's so weird. Like one of my ex’s mom's got in touch with me to be like, “It’s like Sarah Snook, Hugh Jackman, and YOU are listed in this article. And that’s it.” And I was like, “This is crazy. You show your son. Show him now!” It's really wild. And I've been told to stop threatening the really famous people. So this is a joke, but I am going to kill Hugh Jackman.
disappointment: So the humor in the show obviously has some very Australia-centric moments, but it's also widely relatable. How did you kind of approach the humor in this series?
Lardner: I mean, I'm a comedian. To get wanky about it, it’s another language that crosses the ocean. [She makes an exaggerated vomiting noise.] It’s a good thing to relate to people with, though. So the humor, it is super Australian, but it’s also just super funny and there’s no denying that. I think it’s a really natural fit, and also you get to squeeze in the C-bomb and as much swearing as humanly possible. We are Australian, after all.
disappointment: But even though it is very foul-mouthed, it’s also very wholesome in a way.
Lardner: Yeah. And that encapsulates a lot of Australian families, honestly. At least mine.
disappointment: On that note, family is a really important part of this show. How did that theme resonate with you?
Lardner: It’s really nice. I think it’s important for shows to have that. It makes me think of Malcolm in the Middle vibes, you know, when you’d watch that and be like, “God, these guys are insane! And they hate each other!” And then you realize, actually, they love each other more than anything on planet Earth, and that is really cool. Zeroing in on that kind of makes it funnier because you know that they love each other, but you have the full range to be disgusting because you’re safe in the fact that they’re safe with each other and their feelings.
disappointment: Your character arc in specific, it starts out kind-of normal high school drama and then escalates, and by the final episode it just goes off the rails. What was it like evolving with your character?
Lardner: Extremely uncomfortable. I really enjoyed it because it made me uncomfortable. I think it was cool to have her be mad that she was feeling things. It made it easier to grow her character because she was uncomfortable. It was cool to let this little mean freak cry. Like she's so nasty and annoying and awful and then just having her completely split apart with the feelings was an interesting thing to do.
On Why America Should Appropriate Australian Culture
disappointment: I think one of the more heavily Australian elements in the show was the episode about showbags which was something that was completely foreign to me as an American. Why do you think that they remain an Australian phenomenon and why did you just cheer excitedly when I mentioned them?
Lardner: They’re so exciting! They’re trash! There's nothing in them that you actually want! But it's a bag from the show. I think it was called the “super idiot bag” that everybody wanted because you would get like a fake ass in a pair of shorts. And you'd be like, “Oh, it’s like me bum’s out! Isn’t that so cool?” It’s nothing! You're never gonna use them. You're never gonna wear them and it’s just the worst chocolate you've ever seen in your life. But it was so cool. They look so good. Oh man, I need to go to the show. It’s so exciting and trash. And then such a burden. Because you're walking around trying to go on rollercoasters and the Ferris wheel and stuff and you're like, “What am I gonna do with my bag?” Everything’s gonna drop out. The amount of awful little mood rings and Bertie Beetle candy bars that suck and everybody hates that I've seen falling from people's pockets coming out of roller coasters. It's amazing. It's so good. And the reason they will never make it anywhere else is because they are literal trash. You can do nothing with any of it.
disappointment: So apart from the show bags, is there something that you hope that international audiences and American audiences will pick up on from Australian culture from the show?
Lardner: Yeah, two things. Sausage rolls. You don’t know what is in them. It’s impossible to tell. You don't have a beef sausage roll or a chicken sausage roll. No, there’s just stuff in there. And that’s great. And the word c**t. I think it’s my favorite one. And it does sound different coming from Australian mounts but I would love to be able to walk around New York and say it without people you know pointing their guns at me.
Koala Man is now streaming on Hulu.