Michael Shafar 50/50

By Lisa Clark

Michael Shafar was diagnosed with testicular cancer 2 years ago and of course as a comedian some of the terror was probably leavened by ‘I’ll get some great material from this!” and so he has, but the main thing that will live with you after seeing 50/50 is that Michael Shafar is a fabulous comedian.

This is not a heavy, heart wrenching comedy festival show at all, in fact it doesn’t feel like a very cancer heavy show. Michael deftly weaves the story of his cancer experience lightly through his show and only occasionally drops a bit of terrifying information and quickly moves on to more jokes almost before you’ve had time to register it. How many tumours?! Oh…

Up the top he jokes about all the little annoying things you have to put up with while going through cancer, like strangers asking personal questions and wanting to hug you. I also learned about the drug Ketamine which proved useful seeing the next comedian of my evening Rhys Nicholson.

Michael comes across as pretty cheerful for someone who’s been through hell and back. Even when he’s angry at things, like antivaxxers and smokers, he remains pretty chipper. He also talks about giving up his law degree to do comedy and other non cancer related things and the laughs keep rolling. I can see the influence of Wil Anderson’s style here and if you’re a fan of Wil’s you will, no doubt, enjoy Michael’s work.

He is still in his 20s but Michael seems more mature, he has been around the comedy scene for a while and is a confident, talented comedian. If you have been through cancer, or a loved one who’s had it, this could be a great catharsis for you, but go along anyway, it’s just a very good comedy festival show.
$2 from every ticket sold will be donated to Cabrini Hospital in Malvern where Michael underwent his treatment.

Michael Shafar performs 50/50 at the Victoria Hotel til Apr 21


5 Good Reasons To See Michael Shafar 50/50

  1. Michael Shafar is a comedian and joke writer for The Project on Channel 10. Australia’s best and only TV show.


  1. He just performed his new show 50/50 for the first time at Perth’s Fringe World and sold out every show and got a sweet ★★★★1/2 review.


  1. The show is about getting testicular cancer a bit over a year ago. Don’t worry, he’s fine. This isn’t like his Make A Wish or anything.


  1. Seriously, the show is very funny. It’s not a Ted Talk.


  1. It’s on 28 March – 21 April at Victoria Hotel. $2 from every ticket sold in Melbourne is being donated to Cabrini Hospital where Michael underwent all of his treatment and surgeries. Keep the receipt and claim it as a tax deduction.

Michael Shafar performs 50/50 at The Victoria Hotel


5 Good Reasons to See: Michael Shafar – A Work In Progress

1. It’s a Work In Progress show, which means it’s all new material!

2. It also means you’re in charge of whether the material gets used again. If you laugh, the jokes live another day. If you don’t, the jokes are euthanised. You have the power!

3. All of the new material is very raw, very personal and (mostly) very funny. If you’re into dark comedy, you’ll have a good time.

4. The show is at The Lithuanian Club, and according to my contract Michael is not allowed to make jokes that glorify the Soviet Union. Let’s see if Michael can adhere to that very clear clause.

5. Opening night tickets are only $15, for those of you who want to see the show at its rawest and cheapest.

Michael Shafar – A Work In Progress is on at The Lithuanian Club Sept 14 – 21

5 Good Reasons to See Michael Shafar Jewish-ish

1. Jewish-ish is Michael Shafar’s debut solo show and he is definitely not writing this in third person.*

2. You might have seen me – I mean, Michael – on SBS’s RAW Comedy National Grand Final, representing Australia in the Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World Competition or Channel 31’s The Leak. He also writes jokes for Channel 10’s The Project.

3. You can check out some of Michael’s stuff here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swsuqLLpYfk

4. I have had – sorry, Michael has had – some very nice reviews. Funny Tonne said “he is really very good” and the Herald Sun said “Mel Brooks would have been proud.”

5. Come along and see Jewish-ish at Trades Hall from March 30 – April 23 at 8:30pm (7:30pm on Sundays). The first few preview shows are cheap and tickets are available here: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2017/shows/jewish-ish

*Just kidding! It was me all along! Gotcha!

Political Asylum’s U.S. Election Comedy Special – A satirical guide to the upcoming U.S. election

By Lisa Clark political-asylum-pic

Political Asylum has been a regular part of the Melbourne Comedy scene since 2009 with a monthly show and elections specials, it has also always been part of Melbourne Fringe Festival. This year at Fringe they could not help but do a special about American Politics and the extraordinary shenanigans leading up to this year’s American Presidential Election. This is probably influenced by the fact that two of the main producers of Political Asylum have been living in the U.S. for the past couple of years.

The atmosphere in the main room at The Lithuanian Club was set beautifully with the American flag flying on screen, red white and blue balloons and streamers (Go Doggies! Oops the AFL finals are on, sorry) and American political music playing, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan etc. Host Toby Halligan was energetic and firing on point with great snark and sharp observations and carried the ninety minute showcase well.

First up Laura Davis who just keeps getting better every time I see her, slaying the crowd with her material about gun control and then her magnificent feminist gear which though slightly off point was so stunning she had the audience gobsmacked and delighted. This was followed by Michael Shaffer who really impressed with his relaxed on stage persona and smart up to the minute jokes about things that have just happened in American politics. I look forward to seeing more of Michael in the future.

Impressive up and coming Alanta Colley changed the pace of straight standup to present us with a hilarious political quiz a bit like Who Am I from Sale of The Century but without the home viewer. It was a fantastic way to expose the politician’s appalling and ridiculously inappropriate CV. Am looking forward to seeing Alanta’s own show later in the festival.

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall changed the pace again, for his delightfully daggy, “Meanwhile in Canada”. A Canadian expat, Alasdair celebrated Prime Minister Trudeau and focused on the contrast of the sanity of Canadian politics verses its disturbing next door neighbour. He used the big screen for his accompanying pictures well.

It was time to welcome back Matt Kenneally from his two years studying in America. He had a lot to joke about with his only glitch being his ignorance about the rise of gun violence in Melbourne over the past year. Not to the extent of the US but worrying none the less. He’ll soon pick things up and anyway, this was about America and there he knew what he was talking about. He knows people who are voting Trump and why. He shared the terrifying heart of the election. It’s great to see Matt on stage again doing comedy about politics where he has always shone.

It’s also fantastic to see Jess Moir on stage bringing her bubbly personality to political comedy again. Not sure why I’ve not see her for a while but she’s an intelligent endearing comedian and I hope she does more in the future. Then the traditional finale with the not quite so bubbly but still amazingly energetic Grandfather of Australian political comedy Rod Quantock. Still able to surprise and have fun while making caustic observances and inciting revolt. He’s a legend.

I loved that the comedians stayed on topic and were making astute jokes about recent incidents rather than hashing up old tropes. I particularly appreciated the lack of lazy ‘jokes’ about Donald Trumps hair. These were good political humourists, they went for the policies and the quotes.

This was the first of two Political Asylum’s at Fringe this year. The main team (Toby Halligan, Mathew Kenneally, Jess Moir, Alanta Colley and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall) are a solid group worth getting out for and the guests which will be different for the next performances will be just as good as tonight’s I’m sure. What better way of spending a night at Fringe than laughing at America.

Political Asylum’s U.S. Election Comedy Special is on at The Lithuanian Club – Main Theatre Sept 16 and 17 at 8.30pm


5 Good Reasons to See 3 Course Comedy

1. 3 Course Comedy features Michael Shafar, David Rose and Tim Hewitt, who are three of Melbourne’s best up-and-coming comics. They are nice boys and good mates.

2. Michael will be opening the show and he is fully Jewish. David will then follow and he is half Jewish. Tim will then close the show and he is not Jewish at all. Progressively, the show becomes less Jewish. Following this pattern, there’s a good chance that the Pope will perform the encore.

3. David was once heckled by an old Jewish lady with a recipe for chicken soup because he is too skinny.

4. Michael refuses to confirm whether or not that lady was Michael’s grandmother.

5. 3 Course Comedy sold out its entire run at Perth’s Fringe World. For $15 you get to see three gigs from three rising stars on the Australian comedy scene.

3 Course Comedy  is on at Pleasance House Comedy (Level 4, 178 Collins Street) April 5-17