top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Michael Shafar – Well Worth the Chemo (touring) - 60 minutes

He’s such a naturally funny guy, quick witted, endlessly talented and responsive. With his boyish charm and relaxed attitude, he welcomes audience interaction.-

Michael Shafar’s material is fresh. He observes the world around him from an obtuse perspective. He delves into what many may regard as taboo subjects and gets away with it.

In his sights are, in no particular order, religion, Hitler, the Queen, sex, gay dreams, ISIS, Sky News and much more.

I am seeing his 23rd and final show at the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, on the last night of the Festival.

It is the sixth time Michael has appeared at the Festival and his shtick is easy to warm to.

He takes pleasure in touching raw nerves.

Straight up, he tells us he married Amanda – who he has been with for 14 years – four months ago.

He picks out a couple in the theatrical space that have been together for a lot longer and asks them each – individually – for their best piece of advice.

Their answers are met with universal praise and laughter, and Michael is away, having instantly connected with the crowd.

Next up, TV playing coitus interruptus, the experiences of a mate turning 30, what a hangover feels like and why women should be encouraged to drink and drive.

Michael and Amanda’s bedtime routine gets a look in, as does calling out a single guy who boasts about having sex four times a night.

Being proudly Jewish, Michael is delighted when the next “spectator” he “picks on” (all in good fun) is a German.

Advertisements for sexual dysfunction and thin condoms are fair game, as are shark nets in Western Australia that he manages to link to antivaxxers.

He talks briefly about the fact that he had testicular cancer and that his oncologist came to his last show, revealing the amusing message the good doctor sent him afterwards.

He tells the tale of a heckler on the Sunshine Coast and, as a Jewish man, what he thought of when confronted by a Palestinian anaesthetist.

Michael’s crazy aunt, seven missed calls from his wife and a comparison between the Queen and Hitler are next on the chopping block.

Australia’s Republican push and reverse colonisation in the UK, courtesy of the Commonwealth Games, are rife for his comedic touch.

In that vein is knocking off members of the Royal Family (again, enter audience involvement).

Michael manages to work Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Ghislaine Maxwell into the conversation, before moving onto woke websites.

Drag queens, Sky News, the NBA, Kayne West and white supremacists are brought up, as is Michael Jackson.

Michale poses the question what – if any – adjectives are acceptable when using the word “Jew” and calls out the dictionary definition of “a person of colour”.

A hilarious routine about famous fantasy characters precedes observations about religion, abortion and why we haven’t heard from ISIS in a while (think COVID-19).

Talking about disappearances, Michael explains why the meerkat ads were pulled from our screens for a month.

He also dishes on how Australia changed its tune during its World Cup heroics in Qatar.

He gives a free pass to a gay, kosher, Jewish friend, before explaining his homosexual dream and his first crush at the age of six.

Michael finishes on another high when he gives the perfect riposte to the controversy that blew up in the NRL last July.

I speak of the fallout after seven Manly Warringah Sea Eagles’ players refused to wear pride-themed jerseys in a match and received criticism and support for their boycott.

Michael Shafar is clearly highly intelligent, well read and contemporary. He has an innate ability to pick apart foibles and bring hilarity and joy to those in his company.

It is a gift that I am pleased to have been witness to (the last three times he has appeared at the Comedy Festival, I might add) as I chortled freely and regularly throughout his diversified hour-long routine.

He is a man at the top of his game that is well worth seeing and hearing.

Michael is taking the show on the road. He’ll be playing as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival on May 4th and 5th and the Brisbane Comedy Festival between May 25th and 28th.

For a full list of locations, venues and to make bookings, go to


bottom of page