After touring Fringe festivals across the country, Winnipeg-born writer/performer Sharilyn Johnson brings her autobiographical solo show, Fake News Fangirl, home to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival July 16-27.
Daily Show host Jon Stewart is the longtime object of Johnson’s fandom affections. From her ‘90s teenage crush developed in the basement of a St. James bungalow, to close encounters with her hero in New York City, Fake News Fangirl follows the true story of how her devotion to Jon Stewart (and later, Stephen Colbert) prompted her to leave Winnipeg to indulge in close encounters with her late night heroes.
Johnson’s funny and engaging tales of outrageous fandom behavior are delivered in tandem with moments of insight and self-examination that shatter audiences’ perceptions of celebrity idolatry. Fake News Fangirl is a smart, sharply-written story critics have called “authentic and gritty”, “vulnerable and endearing”, and “unbelievably tight”.
Fake News Fangirl is directed by Laura Anne Harris (of 2010 Fringe hit Pitch Blond), with creative consultant Molly Prather (How I Met Your Mother, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson).
A short walk from Old Market Square!
Wednesday, July 16 – 10:00 pm
Thursday, July 17 – 6:00 pm
Friday, July 18 – 3:45 pm
Saturday, July 19 – 10:30 pm
Sunday, July 20 – 3:45 pm
Tuesday, July 22 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, July 23 – 3:45 pm
Thursday, July 24 – 5:30 pm
Friday, July 25 – 10:30 pm
Saturday, July 26 – 3:45 pm
Sunday, July 27 – 5:45 pm
Tickets at the door, or in advance via www.winnipegfringe.com
“The writing is unbelievably tight, providing a great range of emotions. Although this shouldn’t be a surprise, as Johnson has had years of experience as a writer, it was her delivery of emotionally charged scenes that really stood out for me. While the play had its jokes, what was the true power of this show (and something to behold) was Johnson’s pure and harsh interrogation of the world of fandom. In many ways, this performance depicts the exhilaration of being a fan and, in some ways, perhaps captures some of the beauty Johnson is longing for in the world of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. This play is as endearing as it is sharp and left me thinking and processing for hours after. 4.5 out of 5 stars.”
“Fake News Fangirl is a LOT of fun. Her performance and language are authentic and gritty…. You don’t have to be a fake news fan to relate to Johnson’s story. You will admire her sense of adventure and her bravery. Sharilyn has come back with a lot of questions. Why do we love celebrities? Are they better than us? Are they worse than us? Is meeting your hero ever a good thing? The play is introspective without being preachy. Johnson accomplishes a lot of the same things that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do. She makes us laugh. She makes us think. She questions herself. She sees “The Big Picture”. We are better people because of it.”
“I was expecting to see a dark comedy about a fictitious crazed fan. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Experiencing adulation, the fandom community, Stewart/Colbert slash – you’ll never look at those guys the same way again when you see Johnson’s show – the thrill of writing pieces in her heroes’ shows’ format and disappointment, Johnson takes us along on her emotional rollercoaster ride. And, upon getting off the ride, finds herself disillusioned, but not entirely done for. Wide-eyed excitement becomes eyes wide open wisdom – and it’s a pleasure to watch her share her story with us. And I learned that a Fringe play is not always what it seems before you land in the theatre. This brave and personal multimedia theatrical presentation is well worth seeing.”
“Johnson’s delivery of lines in a breathy, fangirl style will likely bring a smile to anyone who’s experienced the throes of fandom. For everyone else, it’s a great window into a slice of society often confined to internet forums (showcasing a random fan’s pornographic Stewart/Colbert fan art, for instance). Expect a sinking feeling in your gut and a wave of empathy as Johnson relates the horrors of one act of public expression that spiraled out of context and into national headlines. Fake News Fangirl is memoir first, comedy second. Johnson is naturally funny, and her performance delivers laughs wherever it makes sense. If you want a harrowing personal history delivered with plenty of heart – and perhaps a skewering of traditional views on golden boys Stewart and Colbert – this is one to check out.”
Sharilyn Johnson interviewed about Stephen Colbert on Newstalk 1290 CJBK in London, ON (April 2014):
Q&A About Fake News Fangirl
(Colbert News Hub, 2012)