Nicholas J Johnson’s new show begins with the sentiment that “critics are jerks”. Well I never. In that case, Mr Johnson … No, I can’t do it. As much as I’d like to get him back, it just wouldn’t be fair. Some critics are jerks. And Today Tonight, Tomorrrow the World is too good a show to give it a bad review.
Based on his experiences appearing on everyone’s favourite “current affairs” show (and I use those quotation marks very ironically), Johnson takes the audience through the background and the reasoning that lead to him selling his soul to appear on Today Tonight.
Johnson is better known around the country as “Australia’s Honest Con Man”, and spends his time educating folks on how to avoid being tricked into parting with their hard-earned cash.
Which is, according to Johnson, why Today Tonight hired him; they wanted a con man to trick unsuspecting members of the public out of their money so they
could swoop in with their cameras and prove that everyone is a gullible idiot, presumably.
Johnson’s re-telling of his experience is not only entertaining and very funny, but also a fascinating look behind the scenes of how these television types operate.
I wouldn’t call it an expose, because really, who wasn’t already aware that Today Tonight was dodgy as all hell? But Johnson’s experiences certainly reiterate why the show is perceived as such a scourge on Australian television.
Aside from his con artistry skills, Johnson proves he’s also a damn good comedian. He’s warm and engaging, but at same time delightfully unpredictable. The moments in the show when he pulls the rug out from beneath you make for some of the funniest and most memorable.
You have to wonder whether this is a cathartic experience for Johnson; a way to finally be at peace with what those bad TV men made him do.
But since just after calling me a jerk he also made us all promise not to give away the ending, I won’t tell you how he eventually finds a way to sleep at night. But I will say it’s a cracker.
Today Tonight, Tomorrow the World is showing at Club Voltaite, North Melbourne until Saturday 6th October.
More information can be found in the Fringe Guide http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/today-tonight-tomorrow-the-world/