Dan Ilic assures us that not all tourists were dumbfounded when he asked them if they knew what Canberra was.
The answers- which formed the basis of a video that is currently doing the rounds on social media – were from tourists from around the world who were scratching their heads and assuming the most innocent to the most mundane when posed with the question: what is Canberra?
According to the clueless crowd, Canberra is ‘one of those lizard things’, ‘a rodent’, ‘some kind of (red, sweet, sour) fruit’, or an Aussie colloquialism for a camera. Some even determined it was not an actual thing.
Fortunately, there is some relief for the state of general knowledge around the world: “I have to say, all Europeans I spoke to knew Canberra. Turns out, a lot of Americans don’t,” Dan says (no surprises there).
“I had to stand for two hours on the beach and speak to lots of different people to get those five.”
The purpose of the clickbait video was the heralding of Dan’s hilarious show, A Rational Fear, which is coming to The Street Theatre this Saturday (2 September).
Described as “Q&A on crack”, A Rational Fear began life as a podcast but evolved into live shows and radio series, even selling out the Opera House.
“It’s a panel of funny and smart people who sit on stage and savage the month in news,” Dan says of the show, which is now successfully touring in a number of cities.
Dan himself is no stranger to Canberra, having performed at The Street in 2003 (although the night may have ended with his head down the toilet at The Phoenix – an indication of a good time, no doubt). He even devoted his time to bring some publicity to the ACT with a very special musical number – Canberra: The Musical – as part of his ABC show Hungry Beast in 2010.
A self-professed lover of the capital, Dan says he is very excited about bringing the show here and is keen to know what being in the Canberra bubble feels like.
“I haven’t been back in a long time but I’m really excited. We’ve got a panel of great friends who all know each other and we can’t wait to make fun of the news.”
The Mid-Winter Bore features show host Dan, along with Shalailah Medhora from triple j’s Hack, Mark Humphries from ABC’s 7:30, Lewis Hobba from triple j, and Guardian photographer and host of Talking Pictures, Mike Bowers, as well as other special guests.
Expect jokes about the light rail, Belconnen’s phallic-shaped owl, and more – if the panel can first get through the news at large. “There’s so much to be talking about!” Dan muses.
“We’ve got two Canberrans Shalailah and Mike on the panel but Lewis, Mark, and I are the outsiders. So this will be like Insiders on crack, the crack being Lewis, Mark, and I who have no idea what the hell is going on in Canberra so we will be making jokes from an outsider’s perspective.”
Ridiculing all that is held in reverence about the big house on the hill should be a treat in the capital, so “burn those Chatham House Rules, loosen that cumberbund”, and be part of political commentary with a twist.
And hopefully, learn more about the state of Australian affairs so we can educate our American friends.
A Rational Fear comes to Street Theatre on Saturday, 7 September. Tickets are $35 and available here.