Unlike most comedians who sit offstage and wait until it’s time to make a grand entrance, comedian Michael Shafar was already plonked on a stool on stage as audience members began to pile in. With a big grin plastered on his face, he keenly greeted everyone as they took their seats. For anyone unfamiliar with Shafer’s comedy style, this earnestness probably didn’t prepare them for what they were in for: a riotous hour that just manages to toe the line between offensive and hilarious.
Before the show, other audience members were discussing how it was their second or third time catching Shafar’s set – and it doesn’t take long to understand why. He’s a brand of comedian that is getting rarer and rarer to come by these days, and if you’re among those who fear comedy has gotten too politically correct, this show will put those fears to rest.
Shafar, who is Jewish, kicks things off with a Holocaust joke; this sets the tone for much of the rest of the show, which flits from topics like pedophiles and the Catholic Church to anti-vaxxers and critiques of the Australian government. He capitalises on his own misfortunes ranging from getting (and beating!) cancer and, what was possibly the best bit of all, a severe case of mistaken identity caused by something getting lost in translation.
This may sound like a lot, but Shafar isn’t just saying these things to be risky: he has whip-smart observations to make, and there’s rarely a moment when the audience isn’t recovering from side-splitting laughter.
Want to know which shows have us LOLing in the aisles this year? Check out our guide to Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022.