Review: Axis of Awesome

6 April 2016

“Since we’ve been here last, one of us has made a change… Lee is bald!”

Yeah. They know what you’re thinking. With this song about the stigma and stupid questions about baldness, Axis of Awesome opens their Don’t Ever Not Stop Giving Up show in this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The song ends with “Oh, and Jordan’s a woman now”. Jordan came out as transgender in February with a video titled What’s Happened to Jordan’s Beard? The group are happy to make jokes about the change throughout the show, such a song about making pop songs more gender-inclusive (i.e. It’s Raining Bodies).

The show itself is an hour of making fun of other people’s songs, raps about Will Smith’s movies and their classic hits. This was my first time at an Axis of Awesome show, though I’ve been a fan of the group for a while. Their comedy is very much about creating catchy songs out of honestly not very clever jokes (I mean that as no insult, smart jokes are exhausting), making fun of the serious and popular, and making fun of themselves.

There were some cringey moments, like Lee’s parody rendition of Johnny Cash songs in a way that sounded like his voice was breaking, much to the audience’s discomfort.

Axis of Awesome have been doing this for a while and aren’t afraid to try new things that don’t always work. But their charm is that they’re always ready to make fun of this. After the Johnny Cash bit, Lee laughed: “Thank you for applauding – most people just clap because it’s over.”

The moment that perhaps best summarises this new show is Jordan singing the popular ‘Birdplane,’ after saying that the song, though somewhat of an anthem, had never really meant anything until recently. Of course, reticent to leave anything on too poignant a note, Lee followed this up with “and of course the meaning is that Jordan is now a woman. Bird… and plane… yeah, you get it.”

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