Fringe 2015 review: "Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths"

"Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe. - Photo via Jon Bennett
Photo via Jon Bennett
"Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe.
Australian comic Jon Bennett has traveled the world pretending things are his cock, done a one-man show about his incarcerated meth-addict brother, and generally done everything possible to make his conservative father embarrassed of him. Using the PowerPoint-based presentation style he perfected in his last two hit shows, Bennett has come back with another hilariously hyperactive rant that practically ensures he’ll be written out of the will.

"My Dad’s Deaths" details with mirthful meticulousness the many ways Bennett’s dad has very nearly bought the farm – ironic, as he’s a pig farmer – from falling off a ladder on the day of Jon’s birth to choking himself unconscious on soda water bubbles to contracting a disease from drinking pig urine. When he wasn’t busy having near-death experiences, Bennett’s dad busied himself making his son’s life a living hell, in the way that only someone who is simultaneously your parent, teacher, coach and minister could do.

Bennett’s father wanted him to be a bush poet, like Aussie hero Banjo Peterson, but Jon wasn’t cut out to write endless unrhymed verse about horses; birthday poems that liken childbirth to “masturbating with a baby-sized dildo” are more his speed. But as side-splittingly outrageous as his material may be, the love he expresses for his dad throughout the jabs is genuinely touching; as their relationship develops, I became emotionally invested almost to the point of tears, until the twist-ending epilogue pulled the rug out from under me.

Embarrassing (and being embarrassed by) our parents is a universal experience everyone can identify with, and Bennett’s take on the topic provided some of the biggest belly laughs I’ve had all Fringe.

Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths
Venue: Yellow
Length: 70 minutes
Rating: 13 and up
Price: $11 


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