Michael Shafar 50/50
The Piglet @ Gluttony (Yes he knows it’s an ironic location for a Jewish comic)
(Reviewer Sarah List)
I want to be the reviewer that Michael Shafar can proudly quote on fliers ‘An audience member clapped once – just a single clap’. It certainly did not reflect the quality of Shafer’s show 50/50 at all, it was just a particularly funny moment during the performance that drew a lot of laughs. In fact this was a hilariously awkward, personal show about living on the bright side of a cancer diagnosis in your mid 20s, reconciling your faith, whilst trying to please your family.
Apparently cancer diagnosis is a circumstance that particularly prompts unsolicited hugging (a horrifying prospect for a guy that struggles to cope with hugs from his girlfriend, let alone strangers), yet frustratingly your chemotherapy card cannot be used to purchase the fried chicken that you suspect gave you cancer in the first place. Roll this into a Jewish upbringing and the pressure from mum to freeze your sperm because ‘otherwise the Nazi’s won and your granddad died for nothing’ – and the fact that she accompanied you to the clinic (with your girlfriend) when you made your ‘donation’ to the freezer – you can’t really put into words how horrifying the experience must have been at the time. It’s lucky it makes for a good story in hindsight. Apparently a lot of people told Shafer that laughter is the best medicine, but he himself thought that the chemo was probably the safer bet, and happily he is now cancer free.
Michael Shafar is a writer for The Project, and he’s obviously spent a lot of time honing his craft in preparation for this show. Some of the myths he’s had to bust since his diagnosis are truly mind boggling (yes you can replace your lost testicle – no, it’s a falsie, not someone else’s donated testicle) and make for great topic fodder. The jokes are well written and flow at a quick pace, and this is the kind of show that really anyone would enjoy to kick off a great night at the Fringe with friends. I truly can’t recommend this show enough.