2019 Fringe Festival Review: Why John Howard REALLY Sucked

Image Courtesy of the Adelaide Fringe

Who: Friendlyjordies

Where: Rhino Room

When: Until March 2

How much: $35

‘I won’t be getting any good reviews for this show,’ the comedian on stage quips. ‘My reviews won’t even have words. It’ll just be a picture of that alien from Star Wars going “it’s a trap!”’

Jordan Shanks, known to the Youtube world as friendlyjordies, has mastered the art of tricking people into learning about politics. He has been rapidly building a following based on his expert mix of irreverent Aussie satire and sharp political commentary backed up by impressive research. Shanks now brings his brand of comedy to the stage in ‘Why John Howard REALLY Sucked’, a show that does exactly what it says on the tin – disproving the oft-repeated myth that John Howard and the Liberal Party were the best economic managers Australia ever had.

Shanks’ show mimics the form of his Youtube videos: his set is timed to a fast-paced slideshow alternating between crudely-Photoshopped jokes and damning statistical evidence showing the many economic mistakes of the Howard term. Thanks to his approachable and outrageously hilarious delivery, Shanks’ analysis never feels dull or overly intimidating. The speed and fluency with which he can switch between profanity-filled imitations of bogan Aussie mums and insightful analysis of hard economic data is truly impressive.

If you’re a Liberal voter, be warned – Shanks pulls no punches in his takedown of the party’s shortcomings. John Howard, Scott Morrison, and Peter Costello are absolutely skewered in this show, along with the Murdoch press and mainstream media. The audience howled with laughter at pearls of cutting wisdom such as:

‘A surplus is like a BMW. It’s alright to have – if you’re a wanker – but if the person driving it looks like a drug dealer, you have to wonder how he got it.’

It’s a brand new show, so at times Shanks is a little wobbly, but I am sure time will smooth out the rough edges. It certainly did not detract from the entertainment value. ‘Why John Howard REALLY Sucked’ has already sold out its current run, but keep a close eye out for future shows. If you’re a lefty keen on political satire (or a masochistic Liberal voter), don’t miss this. You’ll leave in stitches and you will almost certainly learn something, too.

4.5/5 stars

Tamika Glouftsis

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