‘A whirlwind, a dream, a miracle — my Mt Everest’: Comedian Danielle Walker on her new show The Lady Upstairs

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‘A whirlwind, a dream, a miracle — my Mt Everest’: Comedian Danielle Walker on her new show The Lady Upstairs

danielle walker
words by Joshua Jennings

Set for a long run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Lady Upstairs is a hilarious new hour from one of Australia's most buzzworthy comics.

If you’re new to Danielle Walker’s comedy (if!) but think she looks familiar but… but… but… haven’t put your finger on it, herein may be the salve for your welty itch.

Walker played Marigold Brewer in Gold Diggers, the ABC’s breakout comedy about two ratbag Sydney sisters who travel to the Australian Gold Rush in 1853, in search of newly cashed-up buffoons.

The Lady Upstairs

  • March 28 to April 21
  • The Victoria Hotel’s Banquet Room
  • Tickets are on sale now

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Equal parts silly, quirky and unexpected, her new show, The Lady Upstairs, is about revoking control of her life to the little voice in her head.

The preview for the Lady Upstairs states: “There’s a lady in my head who runs the show. I’m just her mouthpiece.” What’s the nicest thing you have to say about this lady in your head who runs the show?

Nicest thing? I NEVER SAID ANYTHING BAD ABOUT HER. I love her and she pays my bills!

What else can you say about her?

She really loves pickled things: onions, garlic, cucumber and olives. Anything pickled, she looooooves — except fish or eggs, or worst, fish eggs. YUCK.

How would you describe your experience of getting The Lady Upstairs ready to perform?

A whirlwind, a dream, a miracle — my Mt Everest. An amazing feat. An extravaganza of ideas that has set my soul on FIRE. 

Is your approach to performing the show today much different from the first few times you performed it?

Oh yes, very much so. When I first started performing the show, I hired one of those dunking pools where you sit on a tiny seat above a pool, and people throw little sacks at a target and if they hit it, you fall into the pool.

I told the crowd that if they didn’t like a joke, they should dunk me. I performed three times a day for three months, and not a single person ever threw a sandbag, they were so enraptured. I ended up losing a lot of money on hiring the dunking pool, so now I just do the show on a stage with a microphone.

Your first show, Bush Rat, came from the nickname your grandad gave you. Did the nickname take off in wider circles?

No. Well I hope not. It’s special because it’s only used by my nanna and grandad.

What’s top of mind for you in terms of subject matter for comedy today, compared with your early comedy performances?

I really make an effort to talk about topics that nobody else is willing or has the balls to talk about! Like legless lizards (okay Mr Snake trying to get me to be his friend).

Your list of awards and nominations for comedic performance is extensive. How formative has the Pinder Prize (from MICF 2022) been in your continuing evolution as a comedian?

It was more than formative in continuing my evolution —  it completed the evolution. Each of my fingers swelled for a week and my skin started peeling to reveal 10 little microphones.

I didn’t connect you with Gold Diggers until I saw a post about it on your IG account. What’s your sense of how quickly people who know the show tend to recognise you from the show?

I don’t really notice people recognising me unless they come over and talk to me. I just assume I’m being stared at because my dog is a cutie patootie. 

What’s an example of somewhere you have been recognised from the show that’s caught you by surprise?

The vet, after my dog choked on a chicken neck and I was crying (dog is fine).

What’s your experience in comedy been like since Gold Diggers’ first season finished screening?

People were so confused about how I climbed out of the TV.

You were selected as part of the 10 successful teams for the 2023 Fresh Blood initiative. What was the experience of making Going Under like? 

It was fun, we got to write and make something we really love.

How has the feedback been?

Very veeeery good, people are talking about Oscar season A LOT!

In order of most to least, who are you most enthusiastic about performing in front of: family, friends, other comedians, fans or random walk-ins. Why? 

Always fans, walk-ins and comics! I don’t want the pressure of family or friends who might not be the same demographic as my fans stressing me out and clogging up the seats strangers could be in.

How decorous is the average audience that attends your shows?

My audience is beautiful. They are very polite and kind and slightly socially anxious like me.

2024 is still pretty new. What else do you have planned for this year after your MICF shows?

I’m taking my sisters to Pig Island in Thailand for their birthday (they’re twins). And fingers crossed on the Oscars!

The Lady Upstairs kicks off at MICF on March 28. Get tickets here.