Review: Fake News Fangirl (Good Humour Productions)

Fake News Fangirl

Fake News Fangirl is a LOT of fun. It’s also thought-provoking, inquisitive and currently onstage at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre. It’s part of the Love & Obsession Theatre Festival, and a LOT of fun!

The play is a one-woman show. Sharilyn Johnson shares the story of her journey from Winnipeg to big bad Manhattan, via Toronto.

She makes this pilgrimage to get closer to her idol, Jon Stewart. While in New York, she takes writing classes and manages to get “inside The Daily Show loop”.Her performance and language are authentic and gritty. I once went to a Letterman taping. I vividly relived that by seeing Fake News Fangirl. Thanks Sharilyn!

There are not gigantic insights into Jon Stewart’s psyche. That’s likely a good thing. There are, however, tons of heart-warming insights into the human condition.

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. She is a woman who followed a dream and shares her story.

A generation or two ago, Johnson would have ridden a bus to Graceland. Lucky for us, she didn’t return from Tennessee with a black velvet painting of Elvis. Instead, she has come back with a universal, heart-warming story.

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?

She also delves into the underground world of “fan fiction. I’d forgotten about this world. Hopefully I can again. Fan fiction is something foreign to my way of thinking. It involves bizarre obsessions. I don’t find imagined homo-erotic cartoons interesting. Why doesn’t anyone ever feed the hungry or create a vaccine in these things?

Fake News Fangirl is the confession of an out-of-control “fan”.  It is spectacular that Johnson is this confident. My partner for the evening, Mike, and I liked her immediately. I often felt more like I was having a private “heart-to-heart” with an old friend than watching a play.

We agreed that the show could be “tightened up” a bit. The first half or so flies along and is invigorating. However, there were some pitfalls, some lulls, later on.

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 received a text message from Mike in the early morning after seeing Fake News Fangirl with him. “Great show, thanks!” Sharilyn, that message is for you!


  • Fake News Fangirl is playing as part of the Love & Obsession Theatre Festival (Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St. E.)
  • Remaining performances are Saturday, Nov. 26 – 7:30pm and Sunday, Nov. 27 – 2pm
  • Tickets are $15 per show / $25 for two shows the same day. Reserve by calling the Red Sandcastle Theatre Box Office at 416-845-9411 or emailing Cash only.