Adelaide Fringe 2019: Michael Shafar 50/50

Review by Maxim Buckley

Venue: The Piglet at Gluttony

When: 19–24th of Feb

Cost: $20.00

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Image by M. Shafar via Adelaide Fringe.

‘Is this the best start to your day?’ is a line Michael Shafar repeats consistently throughout his show, referring to his friends who run marathons and simply can’t keep it to themselves.

Though Michael’s comedy show 50/50 isn’t on in the morning, it certainly is the best start to your Fringe season.

If you’re like me and you can find humour in the darkest of places, Michael Shafar is for you. When diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer, Shafar was given a 50/50 chance of survival, which he instantly turned into a joke by asking the ultrasound technician whether or not his testicles were pregnant.

50/50 is a romp through Michael’s life since that diagnosis, with enough back story sprinkled in there to make it all feel relevant. The show explores what its like to be the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, how it feels to be diagnosed with cancer at age 26, the trauma that comes with losing a part of your body and the weird things you must attend to in the lead up to something like this, such as going to the sperm donor bank with your fiancée and her mum. The show has you laughing from beginning to end, often at times where you almost feel embarrassed that you are laughing and quickly look around just to make sure you’re not the only one. The show certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

If you find jokes about death, sex, expensive procedures and spelling competitions a bit off putting, perhaps give this show a miss. However, if you like low brow comedy about testicles and many jokes about existential crises, this show is for you.

Also, make sure you give Michael a hug at the end, he loves hugs.

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