Adelaide Fringe 2020: The Anti Expert’s Guide to Everything

Who: The Chaser Quarterly and The Shovel

Where: Gluttony – Rymill Park

When: Until 23 Feb

Tickets: $30, here

Expertise is out, “Goop” is in, and “dumb people are the key to human progress”, according to this blazing satire from The Chaser’s Charles Firth and The Shovel’s James Schloeffel. These two veterans of political comedy team up to parody the rampant pseudoscience, anti-intellectualism and conspiracy theories of the modern era. From the Murdoch media to conspiratorial Facebook groups and Scott Morrison to Gwyneth Paltrow, no self-appointed ‘expert’ is safe from this timely and topical show.

Dripping with scathing sarcasm, Firth and Schloeffel parody the gullible masses skeptical of education and expertise. Doctors? Who would trust that kind of Big Pharma-funded elitism? Historians? Far too obsessed with ‘facts’ and ‘details’! Although obviously satirical, one can’t help but wonder how many people out there would earnestly believe the conspiratorial nonsense Firth and Schloeffel invent. Surely this is a case of life imitating art? To prove this point, Firth and Schloeffel try their hand at spearheading a ‘Big Sultana’ conspiracy theory online and demonstrate how terrifyingly easy it is to manufacture fake news.

In a world where a deeply-felt opinion is considered more valuable than years of education, ‘The Anti Expert’s Guide to Everything’ is an accurate, piercing, and hugely funny work. If you’ve ever despaired at the state of public education and political discourse (or just want to cackle about bullsh*t vitamins and dumb politicians), this show is for you. You’ll leave with a ton of laughs, a greater understanding of anti-intellectualism, and even a highly credible homeopathy degree. It looks official, so surely it’s trustworthy, right…?

4/5 stars

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