Fringe Review: Harmon Leon’s Big Fat Racist Show

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Presented by Harmon  Leon
Reviewed 5 March 2017

Harmon Leon is an established comedian, author, and writer, who is recognized for his contributions with several well-known media publications, and for his past ‘infiltrations’ of reality television programs to relegate his experiences.

Harmon has since progressed into infiltrating racist hate groups under the pretense of being interested in their beliefs, such as white supremacist organisations, gun enthusiast clubs, and notably, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. His reasoning for doing so was, “so you don’t have to!”, which presumably, translates into his intention to share his firsthand confrontations with the inner workings of extremist groups, from the perspective of an outsider. Subsequently, Harmon retells his discoveries with a comedic twist. He makes sure to tell us that this is a show about racism, and not just a show that consists of racist jokes.

Although the unique concept had the potential to be interesting, the conclusions that Harmon drew were shallow. I wasn’t expecting philosophical discourse that would facilitate world peace, but I expected more than a summation that was essentially “don’t be a hater” and “racism is bad.” His discussion was equivalent to a twelve year old discovering the social justice warrior segment of Tumblr, and realizing, ‘hey … thinking you’re better than someone else because you’re white is … not very nice?’

Of course, this was (supposed to be) a comedy, and not a Ted Talk, but there was nothing thought provoking, intuitive, or revelatory about his commentary. Although this was intended to be a dissection of the extremist nature of racial hate groups in America, it was basically his autobiographical anecdotes of his seemingly pointless infiltrations that really don’t contribute anything to any sort of discussion on racism, and attempts at education. His stories don’t teach anyone anything new, aside from reinforcing the fact that yes, it’s true that racist groups really are filled with horrible people! Just in case you were on the fence about it!

 

Worse still, the comedy was utterly appalling. Although his enthusiasm was admirable, I’m not sure if it can actually be defined as comedy, because it was really just Harmon yelling to an unresponsive and unentertained audience. Unfortunately, there was a distinct lack of laughter, which is problematic considering this was supposed to be a comedy. He had a low-budget, multi-media set up, of an obnoxious playlist, and PowerPoint presentation that didn’t contribute anything to his performance aside from a few explanatory images, and the occasional puppy break to ‘lighten the mood.’  The presentation may have been helpful if it weren’t just an unnecessary splice of weird pictures, although Harmon did interact with the medium and, on occasion, use it to emphasize his point.

In spite of the originality of his concept, the show was horribly executed. Harmon gets points for his enthusiasm, effort, and unique ideas, but it’s hard to overlook the unfunny, unenlightened, and uninteresting content.

Reviewed by Emma Ferraro

Rating out of 5: 1

Venue: Room 2 at Tuxedo Cat
Season: Until 19 March 2017
Duration: 55 min
Tickets: $10 – $20
Bookingshttps://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/harmon-leon-s-big-fat-racist-show.

 

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