Adelaide Fringe 2022: Friendlyjordies: A Tale As Old As Rome

Who: Jordan Shanks, aka friendlyjordies

What: Comedy/ Political

When: His Adelaide Fringe season has ended, but friendlyjordies has upcoming live shows across Australia.

Where: Top of the Ark, Arkaba Hotel

It’s somehow weird to say, but I feel like I’ve grown up watching friendlyjordies. Since I first came across his Yilmaz content as a teenager, his Bachelor reaction videos have helped me get through early covid-era hotel quarantine, and his legal battle against former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro (The Bruz Saga) last year (along with other insightful investigations) has confirmed his status, in my mind, as a political satirist and journalist well worth paying attention to. So I was super keen to see him live.

His latest stand-up show blends two of his personal, long-standing passions, the fight against political corruption and media bias and ancient Rome. Jordies takes us through some of his favourite Roman stories, particularly focussing on Marcus Aurelius, Cicero, and Caesar, and draws some thought-provoking parallels between ancient and modern-day politics. Don’t be alarmed if this sounds a bit high-brow – Jordies keeps it balanced with a healthy dose of his signature dumbass voices, deliciously politically incorrect burns (this time directed towards today’s historians) and a dodgy photoshop-filled PowerPoint presentation.

However, to me the live show didn’t feel as hard-hitting and hilarious as many of his YouTube videos – perhaps that’s because this is still a fresh show, perhaps there was too much class clown humour for my taste, maybe Jordies could have slowed down slightly during the critical moments of his argument to keep the audience following every point. At times the show had a workshop vibe, with Jordies asking the crowd to suggest a new end line to one joke which didn’t quite land – these self-aware moments were endearing, though.

Jordan Shanks has done an awesome job of re-engaging young Australians with political discourse, and I’m excited to see what shit-stirring he gets up to this year. This show is a satisfying experience for fans and a great way to support the guy and his team, and I’m sure it’ll get even better as the tour goes on.   

4 out of 5 stars

Katerina Grypma

P.S. Did you know Caesar is the root of the German ‘Kaiser’, Russian ‘Tsar/Czar’ and Iranian ‘Shah’? Not something I learnt from the show, just a fun fact picked up while reading afterwards. Huh.

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