Melbourne Jewish comedian, Michael Shafar won over our snorts (and our hearts) earlier this year at Melbourne International Comedy Festival with the highly rated show Kosher Bacon. Returning for a trial of shows as part of The Melbourne Fringe Festival, A Work In Progress is Shafar’s latest upcoming hit that is said to be taking a darker, more personal comedic theme. We caught up with Shafar to unveil what to expect as well as how you can go in the draw to win a double pass to the show!
Kosher Bacon was reputed with success after a number of rave reviews and sold out shows (rightfully earned too!) how do you plan to top it with A Work In Progress?
This one will be a pretty different show. It’s a lot darker and way more personal than my last show, so it’s got a lot more depth. I’ve been trialling the material at comedy clubs over the last few months and it’s definitely the funniest stuff I’ve performed.
You have described this show as “very dark and very personal” – what inspired you to bring this to the stage?
I always write about stuff from my personal experiences, and over the last 12 months I’ve had a pretty tough time dealing with some health issues. It’s been pretty cathartic bringing it to stage and finding humour in it all.
Your last show was filled with jokes about the life and culture of you as a Jewish man. Will there be a similar theme with this show?
That will still be there to some extent because I can never fully separate my Jewishness from my comedy. But, it will definitely be less of a theme this year. I’m trying to evolve as a comic, and part of that is talking about new themes and ideas. I feel like everything I’ve wanted to say about my Jewish identity I’ve already said in previous shows, so now I’ve got different things to talk about.
What’s the best thing about being Jewish.
The chicken soup.
You gave up life in a court of law for a stage of people laughing along at your misfortunes and witty stories. What’s the best aspect of your job?
Just being on stage. It’s my happy place. Even if I’m having a bad gig, I’m still having fun on stage (which is probably a bit concerning actually).
Have people ever reacted badly to your comic content?
Yeah definitely! But bombing on stage is just part of the process. I once did a gig for a volunteer group that works with elderly Jewish people. I thought the gig was for the volunteers, but when I arrived it became clear it was for old Jewish people. Five minutes in a lady in the front row turned off her hearing aid and went to sleep. So, yeah, that’s a bad reaction.
How do you deal with hecklers (good or bad hecklers)?
Most hecklers are actually well-meaning and think they’re helping the show. I usually just remind them that I can handle the jokes myself.
You’ve performed at The Comics Lounge in North Melbourne and have put in a good word about Catfish Comedy in Fitzroy. As a regular in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs, what are your favourite places/things to do?
The Comic’s Lounge and Catfish Comedy are really fun gigs, I definitely recommend everyone check them out. Most of my favourite things to do involve eating. If I’m doing a gig at the Lounge, I almost always pop across the road to Salt, which does really good fish n’ chips. Catfish also does really good cheesesteaks. There’s an open mic at Caz Reitop’s in Collingwood on Wednesdays, and I’ll hit that up purely so I can get Biggie Smalls afterwards.
Your Twitter page alone is filled with hilarious content. A personal favourite of mine includes:
My phone just automatically reset itself while I was on the toilet, so for 30 second there I was stuck with my own thoughts. It was horrible.
Just introduced myself to my new neighbours, a lovely old Russian couple. Here’s the opening exchange:
Me: Hi, I’m Michael. I just moved in next door. Nice to meet you.
Lovely Old Russian Couple: Are you Jewish?
Me: I love North Caulfield.
What’s your favourite thing to rant about?
I don’t think I rant about anything in particular, I just use Twitter as a way of throwing a thought out into the ether and see if anyone finds it funny. It’s pretty much the open mic of the Internet.
Excited for the show! Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
It’s a pretty dark show, so if you’re into dark humour you’ll have a good time. If not, maybe give it a miss (or bring a hearing aid that you can turn off).
Michael Shafar will be perfoming A Work In Progress from 14th-21st of September at the Lithuanian Club – The Loft in North Melbourne.
For tickets click here
For your chance to win a double pass to the show click here
Huge thanks for Michael Shafar for being a part of this interview.