The best motivational show about anti-motivation and learning to lighten the f*ck up.
Presented by Stella Rose Productions
Reviewed 16 March 2021
Former Doug Anthony All Stars member, Tim Ferguson, is back where his Fringe comedy career began in 1986, still tearing down the establishment, still wreaking comedic havoc, more inspirational than ever.
Ferguson, who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), isn’t one to let adversity drag him down. His whip-smart new show, Smashing Life (Motivation for Idiots), takes careful aim at the billion-dollar self-help and motivational speaker industry to make the point that everyone has challenges and, despite claims to the contrary, celebrity ‘experts’ don’t hold all the answers.
Kicking off the show with a short video featuring ‘testimonials’ from delighted Smashing Life customers, typical of your average American infomercial, the tone is set for acerbic insight and lots of laughs. While the crux of his show is about dethroning those self-help bibles and gurus, there’s plenty of jokes on other topics. Ferguson targets Adelaidians (it’s OK, we’re used to it!), millennials and those from the Benny Hill era of comedy with equal measure. There are the highbrow topics (grammar versus sport) and the low brow (vegan pornography, anyone?) and everything in between, showing his trademark spectacular wit and impressive delivery.
What really sets this apart from your average stand-up show, though, is the fact that Ferguson does not stand up. Confined to a wheelchair through the progression of his MS, Ferguson is the perfect person to take on the often toxic nature and messages of so-called motivational books and gurus. Highlighting that many of these bestselling books peddle the same messages and authors like Anthony Robbins and Dale Carnegie recommend three-minute solutions to lifelong problems, and fake smiles and laughter to make people like you, Ferguson has an alternative solution: we should all just lighten the f*ck up.
Of course, this is cased in appropriate context, with Ferguson pointing out the absurdity of some claims such as the ‘immediate control of one’s mental, emotional and physical’ self. He does a great job of this one by demonstrating that, as much as he’d like to, he can’t control his right arm. His brain sometimes ‘skips’ and he needs aids to complete a show, but he’s still utterly professional and fabulous. Ferguson’s disability is only one aspect of his life and, as he points out, just because he can’t do one thing doesn’t mean he can’t do other things. One thing he does particularly well is take the absolute p*ss out of a sometimes diabolical industry.
If you’re a fan of DAAS Kapital, Ferguson’s solo career, or just in need of a good laugh, get along to this show. It’s caustic, insightful, funny as heck and, sorry to say, Mr Ferguson, it truly is motivational.
Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Venue: The Virago at Gluttony
Season: 9 – 21 March 2021
Tickets: $24.75 – 35
Rating out of 5: 5