Melissa McGlensey’s impressive quick wit and improvised comic skills are on show in The Briefing, her 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show.
McGlensey appears as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Donald Trump White House Press Secretary (turned Fox News host) who is now the Governor of Arkansas.
She’s on an international propaganda tour promoting Trumpism and the show’s audience are members of the Australian media who are receiving a briefing on all that’s good about her former boss and other believers in his right-wing agenda.
Her `presentation’ covers a range of issues including gun control, religion, climate change, abortion and of course Donald J Trump. An AV presentation run by her bodyguard, Gumbo (Felix MacFarlane), supports her words.
Together with the satirical presentation, McGlensey also asks questions of the audience and calls for questions towards the end of the 50-minute show. This showcases her quick wit and ad lib skills.
While audience participation would seem an important part of the show, on opening night at least, there was no pressure to join in, although many did.
According to McGlensey: “The improvised/audience interaction keeps me on my toes and makes it a different show every night. Audiences can expect a good time and can tailor their participation to whatever they feel comfortable with. They help me craft the show.”
It was Australian audiences’ fascination with US politics which led to the California-born comedian devising The Briefing.
“I noticed that Aussies loved to talk to me about US politics but were often less engaged or interested in politics closer to home,” she explains.
“I decided to do a show that purported to be about US politics to draw them in, only to turn the tables and talk about Australia.”
McGlensey script and interaction with the audience ensures observations covering both US and Australian political and social issues are targets of her wit.
The Briefing is playing at Campari House until April 23. Visit the Comedy Festival website for more information and tickets.
*Photo credit: Maddie Royce Photography.
Jenny Burns attended the opening night of The Briefing as a guest of the producers.
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