Benjamin ‘Frenchy’ French is a comedian from Wollongong, New South Wales who, along with other Australian comedians such as Neel Kolhatkar, Josh Wade and Alex Williamson, found his rise to fame through the internet. Specialising in a certain risqué ‘blue collar’ sense of humour, the content of all these comedians seems to resonate with a diverse and broad group of working class Australians.
In 2012 Frenchy created his YouTube Channel, SungaAttack, as a way to promote his stand-up comedy. First gaining popularity for a video dissing his hometown, he now has over 300,000 subscribers, with his most popular video having received upwards of eight million views. As well as videos and live shows, Frenchy has also dabbled in the music scene, with his song FriendZone being an instant success back in 2015, and in February of this year he released his first full length album Bangerz & Trash on iTunes and Spotify.
Personally, I’ve been following Frenchy since about the age of 14, when my older sister (who in hindsight, may have been a bad influence) showed me one of his skits with The Roundabout Crew (another Aussie comedy group) on YouTube. Ever since then, I’ve grown to love his hilarious videos about wingman signals or university student archetypes, especially in collaboration with other Australian comedians. When he came to Perth last year, I was sadly a youthful and perpetually occupied Year 12, who was unable to make the commute or the time sacrifice to watch his live show. Hence, when the opportunity conveniently presented itself to attend one of his shows at my very university, it’s safe to say I was quite keen.
Touring Australia with two of his own shows in the past, Live and Lanky and World’s Worst Adult, Frenchy’s 2018 show, Sex, Drugs and Rollerblades, is what can only be describe as an uniquely Australian experience. Packed with hilariously inappropriate jokes that touched on the likes of sex, emus and Harry Potter, Frenchy manages to cater perfectly for his diverse and slightly immature audience. Whether you’ve been watching Frenchy’s Tinder chats for years, or have never even heard of a shoey, you’re guaranteed to find yourself cracking up, in a show that is funny, relatable and frankly a little bizarre.
The alternation between a performance which is half pre-meditated jokes and anecdotes about dating and drinking, and half improvised banter, leaves the audience constantly entertained and never without a smile or a disapproving chuckle. Frenchy’s complete willingness to engage with obscene heckles, and gradually interrogate every member of the front row, creates an atmosphere of comfort, genuineness and familiarity that can only be achieved through a live show.
This captivating and authoritative stage presence allows the audience to be taken on a unique journey, whether it’s through Frenchy creating a song entirely from yelled out suggestions, or absolutely roasting a verbose audience member without missing a beat. Somewhere along the way, the audience find themselves somehow respecting a 30-year-old man telling over-personified jokes about sexual choking and paedophilia.
Despite some of the jokes being a little distasteful and explicit, Frenchy manages to walk the fine line between humour and outright offensiveness. The finale, which included a display of his ‘sixpack’, a VB shoey and a war on emus was the perfect ending to a wild performance that ensured that most people were left bewildered, impressed and most likely a bit offended.
There’s talk of Frenchy visiting Perth again at the end of the year. If this is so, I’d definitely recommend grabbing a few mates and booking in for a vivid show you’re not likely to forget. If you manage to get past the intriguing smell of cigarettes and VB in the lobby, prepare to strap in for a night that is surprising, authentic and a hilarious portrayal of Australian cultural identity.
I give this 8.5/10. Definitely recommend to your mates but maybe not to your nanna.