We could all do with a laugh amongst the constant media coverage of climate change and Covid-19. A critical look at Australia’s media landscape in an age of unprecedented political polarisation and information certainly wouldn’t go astray, either.
YouTuber and political satirist Jordan Shanks highlights all these issues during his hilarious and thought-provoking Friendlyjordies Cancels The Media tour.
Shanks is a well-rehearsed yet humble presenter. His awkward pose and light-hearted humour soon turn serious and dark, just as this crash course on the history of modern media does.
Shanks begins somewhere in the Han Dynasty with the origin of newspapers. Audience members are soon introduced to Walter Lippman and the notion of a guided democracy, an apparent self-fulling propaganda model, famined farmers, and eventually ‘Emperor’ Rupert Murdoch.
A disturbingly accurate description of each state and territory leaves viewers in tears. Meanwhile, unashamedly distasteful jokes about the likes of Gladys Berejiklian and the late Quentin Kenihan have them laughing hesitantly.
Even more frank than his humour is Shanks’ political stance. An open Labor supporter, no conservative politician is spared from Shanks’ wrath.
Having previously delivered critically-acclaimed shows like John Howard REALLY Sucked, and Malcolm Turnbull: A Life, Shanks is well-acquainted with making nuanced and well-substantiated arguments against The Coalition.
Regardless of one’s political stance, you can’t help but admire Shanks’ rare ability to make young Australians care (or at least think) about politics.
The Rhino Room is the perfect venue for a show from Shanks. As we were herded up the stairs to the backdrop of psychedelic wallpaper, I couldn’t help but feel like I was at a dingy house party; paranoid stoners and all—minus the weed, of course.
In true FriendlyJordies style, we were ushered into the main venue and made to wait until the amusingly morbid show finally started, a few minutes behind schedule.
Albeit mockingly, Shanks has a profound ability to include audience members without singling them out. A true performer, Shanks is able to smoothly recover on the rare occasion that a joke doesn’t land well, too.
This rollercoaster of a show is brilliantly tied together with a final critical look at Australia’s homogenised media environment and sufficient anti-Murdoch humour. In an epic finale, Shanks encourages viewers to be more critical of media bias, guiding them towards independent news sources like Michael West instead.
Whether from Shanks’ profound ability to make such a contentious issue hilarious, or media bias itself, audiences are left reeling at the end of this entertaining, insightful show.