Demi Lardner on Alison & Australian Culture

ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke with Koala Man star Demi Lardner about the character of Alison and which Australian comedians she’d like to see in a second season. All eight episodes of Koala Man are now streaming on Hulu.

Spencer Legacy: What drew you to Koala Man?

Demi Lardner: Honestly … okay, so two things. I am in love with Alison. She’s a little psychopath. And also the Australian-ness of it — like genuine Australian-ness. We all love the Australian episode of The Simpsons, but it’s not Australian at all.

You guys don’t play knifey-spoony?

You know what? Because of how good The Simpsons is, so much of that episode genuinely made it into our lexicon. It’s so weird. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like, I say dollarydoos all the time and, genuinely, the, “I would’ve called him chazzwazzas.” The Simpsons made us more like their version of Australia. But yeah, like sausage rolls and show bags and stuff … having the classically dogshit Australian staff that genuinely sucks but we really love is really cool to me. The stuff that is not at all good, but we are like, “Yeah, but that’s us,” makes me really happy.

You mentioned that you really like Allison is a character. What was it that really stood out to you when you first read about her, that that made you go, “That’s for me.”

The reason that I think I love her so much — quickest little story, I did the audition to be Alison and was like, “Oh, she sounds cool. She’s a little mental case. That’s great.” She’s nasty. She’s awful to everybody. She begrudgingly loves her family, but like, that’s as much as she’ll give them. I did that and then I — not a plug — I have a podcast and I stream on Twitch and the casting people saw me and they’re like, “Okay, so Alison, she’s like a mean little psycho who’s always screaming. Let’s just go on Demi’s Twitch stream. Oh, she’s perfect!” I think I have an affinity with Alison. I appreciate the way she operates

Towards the end of this season, Alison finally finds someone she actually likes with Rosie, but she turns out to be a bit different than expected. How was voicing that more heartfelt scene at the end compared to the snarkier scenes?

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I really like doing stuff like that because it makes me super insanely uncomfortable. I do like the proper method stuff. Like, I was crying when Alison was crying and it kind of freaked out the people who were recording me. I had tears pouring down my face and they were like, “Hey dude, you can just, like, pretend.” I really liked it because it does make me insanely uncomfortable. So just going fully into Alison and being like, “All right, I’m just going to pretend to be here because if I have these feelings, that’s going to be very upsetting for me.”

This is really one of the first big premier primetime Australian adult animated series. So what’s it like to be part of such a monumental project?

It’s insane! What am I doing here? This is so stupid. There’s so many famous people in the show. And then look at me. I’m like third-billed! Sarah Snook and Hugh Jackman, what are you doing? Why am I here?! So dumb. It’s really cool though.

There are some crazy names on this show, just in general.

It’s so … it’s wild. And I’m getting — there’s pictures of me next to them on the articles and stuff. What is that?!

Allison’s really also very central to the “Handball Dingo” episode. What was recording that one like?

Oh, it was so fun. I’ve been saying this, I got a little gift pack from Disney and the producers and stuff with this electric tea mug and a bunch of tea and honey because when we did the dingo episode, I shredded my throat. I couldn’t talk for like a week, but I was having so much fun doing it and I knew that I was gonna do that as well and I was like, “Let’s record this bit last, guys. Otherwise I am going to ruin the episode. Alison’s going to sound like a smoker for the rest of the episode.”

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Michael Cusack has such a unique type of humor and he also does voice work, animation, and he’s more hands-on than most creators might be. So how is working with him in that regard?

It’s great. It’s so much easier to have that live direction and have him be also really good at being open to talk about different lines and stuff where we would be like, “Does that seem like Alison? “Or like, “Do we feel like that’s Alison?” Which is funny to be that about a cartoon. But,

“Would she call her brother cringe?”

“Would she say cringe? Does she like Fortnite?” It was kind nice to also have a little bit of freedom with that stuff as well. There were times where it would be like, “All right, we need a couple different lines here. Or it’s like a group setting or whatever, or we don’t really know what line is going to go in here with Alison. Why don’t you just say 50 things in a row?” And I was like, “Yes!” Because I get very energized and it’s good to be able to let out some creativity when you’re doing a job like this.

There’s so much brilliant Australian talent in Koala Man. If there was a Season 2, which fellow Australian creatives, comedians, or actors, would you like to see in the show?

Oh, my friends are gonna be so mad if I don’t say them! Man … so there’s a guy who has a bunch of different podcasts. He is my friend, but his name is Alexei Toliopoulos, and he’s the funniest man I’ve ever met in my entire life. I think he would do a really good job as … I don’t know. I reckon Dapto’s probably a place that still has Blockbuster or a local VHS store and I think Alexei could work there. Someone else who I think would be great is Sam Campbell. He’s another little weird freak, and he’d be good as, like, a rat or something. He’d play a really good rat.

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