The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know

YianniSimpsonssmIs it possible to sell out a free show? Certainly even on a rare sunny Saturday in Scotland’s capital during the fiercely competitive festival month of August, Yianni Agisilaou can pack out a room, the hopeful audience for the non-ticketed show queuing out into the corridor of the Voodoo Rooms beyond his performance space in the room bizarrely designated “the French Quarter.”

A Fringe fixture for many years now, Australian comedian of Greek ancestry Yianni is leader of the pack with Comedians Against Humanity but with his more thoughtful and thought provoking side has been evident in Numb and Number and The Universe: A User’s Guide, but he’s back with his award nominated The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know, former sellout hit of the Perth, Melbourne and Sydney festivals.

With a slideshow of memorable scenes projected on the makeshift screen, including many of the frequent movie homages the long-running show has become known for, Yianni offers a quick quiz to warm up the audience and gauge the level of familiarity of Springfield’s first family; a natural communicator who approaches audience interaction with ease, Yianni is empowering of his audience even as he makes them aware that their knowledge of Simpsons trivia cannot approach his own.

Having been a fan since 1991 when the show first broadcasted in his southern homeland, his connection to the show is intrinsic, the first sketches having been shown as interludes on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987 when he himself was eight, the same age as Bart Simpson, before the series full debuted in 1989 at which time he was ten, the same age as Lisa Simpson. Twenty seven seasons on Yianni has now passed Marge and reached Homer, and with no sign of stopping he has calculated which season will be airing when he reaches ages with Montgomery Burns.

YianniSimpsonsbeerWith sections on “the story of d’oh” and quote, parody and allusion facilitated by the truth that “everything is borrowed, everything is referenced,” he speaks of the joy of connection to the material, drawing connections with not only the obvious Family Guy but also Inspector Gadget, Fawlty Towers, Hogan’s Heroes and Laurel and Hardy and digging up some surprising revelations.

Boasting a deep cultural history, The Simpsons remains relevant today and surprisingly prescient, Yianni showing parallels between this Brexit referendum of this year and its aftermath and the episode Much Apu About Nothing first broadcast in May 1996 and also the political acumen regarding immigration policy of Donald J Trump and Homer J Simpson, the proposed “Mexican wall” described as “an idea so stupid it could have come from a Simpsons episode.”

Despite having been rendered “prematurely cynical” by the ongoing subtext of his favourite animated series, it remains Yianni’s ambition to work on the show, something which he apparently almost achieved eighteen months ago when Harry Shearer announced that he might leave his many roles, prompting Yianni to post a YouTube video performing a roster of character voices which he impressively recreates for the audience.

While focused on “the golden years” of seasons two to nine, a misnomer if ever there was one as surely with that skin tone every year in Springfield is a golden year, The Simpsons may have taught Yianni everything he needs to know, but for those hoping to attend the lesson is to arrive early to be guaranteed a seat at this highly entertaining afternoon show.

The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know runs until August 28th at the Voodoo Rooms; early arrival is strongly advised



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