As the old saying goes: laughter is the greatest medicine. Michael Shafar treats us all with an extra strength prescription of comedy in his recent show, 50/50, as he reminisces on a time when a dose of laughter wasn’t quite strong enough alone.
After leaving his old profession of a lawyer, Shafar moved into world of creative arts, starting a career in comedy. He works as a TV writer on Channel 10’s The Project and has had previous success on stage as a stand-up comedian. He’s now back at Melbourne Comedy Festival touring his latest show, 50/50, which delves into his biggest challenge thus far – his cancer diagnosis.
In an interview with Perth Now about his latest show, Shafer says;
“I talk about mortality and being forced to confront my own legacy and of course I go into detail about the treatment I underwent. Having said that, it’s still very much a comedy show. In fact, I think it’s far funnier than my other shows because I’m more honest and vulnerable than I’ve ever been before.”
In 2017, Shafar was diagnosed with testicular cancer and told he had a 50% chance of survival (hence the title of his current show). He’s gone through chemotherapy, the loss of a testicle, and – worst of all – sympathy hugs from near strangers, but he’s made it through to remission and now he’s here to shed light on the topic of cancer while still making light of it.
Shafar manages to toe the line brilliantly – touching upon sensitive topics like cancer while still keeping the mood bright and jovial. He can find the funny in anything and he welcomes you to laugh along as he recounts some of the hardest and most awkward moments of his treatment.
Previous comedy shows and sketches of Shafar focussed on various aspects of his life, such as his Jewish heritage, which is still incorporated in this show. However, 50/50 is a tighter topic show, mainly focussing on his diagnosis and his life after treatment. This hour-long set works as both insight into a horribly common disease and as inspiration for those facing their own diagnosis
50/50 is being performed every day at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in Victoria Hotel until 21 April and will move to Sydney Comedy festival from 26-28 April at the Factory Theatre.
Buy tickets to Michael Shafar’s 50/50 here.
Money raised by the show will go towards Cabrini Hospital, where he underwent his treatment.
To donate to the hospital’s new oncology wing click here.