"I lost my mother and wonder how much that affected the way I am with women and deal with my relationships."
For a comedian, David Quirk is a compellingly serious bloke. When we've seen him perform, and now on phone, his voice is a strange mix of exasperation and hushed excitement, like he's always thinking too hard but occasionally pleased with the results. It doesn't come off as rude, but it does sound exhausting, as though the effort required to formulate a response is audible in its delivery.
He takes time to establish how best to conduct the interview — will we both be Daves or Davids? (followed by a semi-divulged theory that there are too many Daves in comedy, and a lot of Davids, though the oversaturation of the latter isn't quite as bad, hence his "stage name") — and, the formalities dealt with, Quirk presses on.
'There's a lot of stuff about white noise; for the last eight months I've been sleeping with rain sounds and white noise."
All of this consideration could perhaps make Quirk an unlikely candidate for the Festival Of Half-Baked Ideas, though it was there in a Brunswick bar that he tentatively stuck the fork into a meatless roast of comedy plucked cautiously from the oven for the new event, designed to give comics the opportunity to test run shows ahead of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
If the show — felicitously titled Approaching Perfection In David Quirk — wasn't fully cooked then, Quirk was at least working with all the right ingredients: ie. new material developed across a period of months as Quirk toured the US opening up for Jen Kirkman (of Drunk History infamy).
"She was really cool about me doing it. Unlike here, really, in my hometown, in sort of decent rooms, they'll say, 'Just do really well tonight, don't mess around,' but Jen was like: 'Do whatever you want, if you've got new stuff, do it.' So I told her these stories, and she was like, 'Dude, great!' and amazingly I was doing brand new material in a country I rarely perform in, and it was a really nice thing."
The title Approaching Perfection In David Quirk doesn't just refer to the notion of a comedic craft, to the lifespan of a show or tour that is painstakingly assembled over months or years before it occupies a stage for an hour or so. Things are a little darker than even that peek behind the curtain. With thematic concerns including the content of chemists, bettering sleep habits and his treatment of women, 'approaching perfection' also seems like an optimistic mantra of sorts, a motto for a state of being or becoming based in self-betterment.
"There's a lot of dark material in the show. It's about me truly looking at my life and the way I've dealt with women. I lost my mother and wonder how much that affected the way I am with women and deal with my relationships. Then there's a lot of stuff about white noise; for the last eight months I've been sleeping with rain sounds and white noise. I had to spend a night at Christmas sleeping in the same room as my dad and he snores at night, so it felt like he was going to die, so I played this white noise, and I basically had this vision…"