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September 2018

Sydney Morning Herald

Jonathan Pie, the angry British TV reporter created by actor Tom Walker, has become a viral sensation online thanks to his erudite rants about the state of UK and world politics.

But if fans of Pie’s blistering attacks attended his Melbourne show expecting he would turn his attention to the sorry state of Australia’s parliamentary representatives, they may have been disappointed.

Pie freely admitted he knew nothing about Australian politics (it meant he didn’t “have to rewrite the whole show” he confessed). But he wasn’t entirely telling the truth. Although his early focus remained on UK politicians, he had done enough research to throw in a few lines about Bronwyn Bishop, the same-sex marriage plebiscite and the state of offshore detention centres.

It didn’t really matter – when Western politics has become so partisan and driven by ideology, Pie’s attacks on right-wing thinking translated easily to a local audience.

That said, after taking on the low-hanging fruit that is Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, Pie reserved some of his most cutting remarks for left-wingers and the rise of political correctness. In a very funny segment involving his “Woke-A-Lator”, he took on the rise of terms like “mansplaining” and “cultural appropriation”.

The show climaxed with a segment that succinctly and scathingly summed up how mainstream and social media combine to convect outrage daily, using Pie’s own show as an example. Although the Twitter reactions Pie displays to the outrage he has created are fake, he recently had his own real-world experience on this subject, after posting a video complaining about a comedian being charged with a hate crime over a tasteless joke.

Beyond the material, credit must go to Walker’s incendiary performance, which starts off intense and relentlessly builds to an explosion of anger and will leave audiences exhausted.

Pie may not be the modern-day Bill Hicks, but in a world seemingly gone mad and getting madder by the day, he offers a thought-provoking, occasionally controversial and often very funny take on the world.
★★★★½