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Fringe review: Why John Howard REALLY sucked

Adelaide Fringe

If you’re a staunch Liberal supporter, a Murdoch press journalist or a fan of Kylie Gilles, it might be best to skip this Fringe show by political analyst-comedian Friendlyjordies. Everyone else should hurry up and see it. ★★★★ ½

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Jordan Shanks, who goes by his YouTube alias Friendlyjordies, launches into his stand-up routine by providing the reviewers in the audience with a helpful tip.

“I don’t expect there to be any words, just zero stars and a picture of that Star Wars alien with a caption saying ‘It’s a trap’,” the satirist quips.

I’m not sure my editor would be pleased if all I filed for a review was a meme. Nevertheless, it is true that people who have not spent the last few years religiously following Shanks’ popular YouTube channel would find the show a little perplexing.

Blending overtly subjective political analysis with social commentary and caricatures, he delivers a slick, in-your-face stand-up routine that leaves his supporters crying with laugher and his detractors recoiling with anger.

The show’s message and delivery is not surprising given the nature of his controversial YouTube videos. Objectivity is thrown out the window, with Christopher Pyne snidely compared to a BuzzFeed journalist, Scott Morrison labelled an overly-serious deputy school principal and John Howard condemned for having a “surplus fetish”.

Along the way, Shanks throws a plethora of statistics and dollar figures at the audience to back his view that under Howard’s term as prime minister, Australia’s economy was left to ruin.

It’s not just Liberal politicians who are the target of his jokes, with mainstream journalists and publications also receiving a barrage of abuse. Channel 7 Morning Show presenter Kylie Gillies is compared to a breakfast bar, The Advertiser is called out for alleged bias, and it’s revealed Kerri-Anne Kennerley has a surprising connection to McDonald’s.

Shanks does a brilliant job at translating his video comedy to the live stage and his memory for statistics is commendable. While the political analysis and overt bias may turn off some audience members, the show’s originality and his smooth delivery makes it well worth seeing.

Friendlyjordies presents – Why John Howard REALLY sucked is at the Rhino Room tonight and tomorrow night. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.

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