â€œI mean, everyone wishes they could just wander through life without having any self reflection or self awareness and just blunder from one catastrophe to another, but itâ€™s by acknowledging mistakes that you grow and change, or at least cement down what you think is right and what you think is wrongâ€¦ If you expect nothing more than shit, thatâ€™s cynicism. But if you go, â€˜come on, arenâ€™t we better than this shit?â€™ Thatâ€™s hope.â€
So whatâ€™s â€˜Misanthropologyâ€™ all about, then?
â€œThe idea behind â€˜Misanthropologyâ€™,â€ Perfect explains, â€œwas to look at humans and the nature of humans and the evolution of humans over time in terms of where we might be going. Itâ€™s a subject Iâ€™ve always been really interested in, because itâ€™s an irrefutable fact that humans are just one species on the planet and yet our elevated sense of importance kind of gives me the shits on a day to day level. There seems to be this sort of self adoration and adulation with humans about how amazing we are. â€˜Ooooh, weâ€™ve invented fire, and look at us flying through the air and look at my amazing mobile phone.â€™
â€œMy partner, Lucy, and I often amuse ourselves with how kind of stupid and short sighted we are and how humans have an immense capacity for failure and disorganisation. (I thought) it would be funny to look at all those negatives about humans with the view that if we can laugh about our failings then maybe we can do something about addressing them. Because I donâ€™t think we even really acknowledge them very much.â€
The show â€“ written in two and a half months between his â€˜Offspringâ€™ commitments â€“ will see Perfect return to the Powerhouse.
â€œThe first time I performed in Brisbane, it was at the Powerhouse,â€ he remembers. â€œIt was part of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival. Iâ€™m not really a big one for doing cabaret festivals - I find the whole cabaret thing a little bit weird - but I was like, â€˜hey, a free ticket to Brisbane, letâ€™s do that.â€™ I was in my early 20s. Tim Minchin was playing piano for me at that stage.
â€œSo there was this gala and the whole Powerhouse was full of people and this guy at a table called me a faggot, right? And I remember thinking, â€˜this is really odd, this guy is at a fucking cabaret convention and heâ€™s calling me a faggot?â€™ It was a very odd situation. I was wedged between the fucking Liza Minnelli impersonation and the Barbra Streisand impersonation and Iâ€™m gay? Youâ€™re sitting here watching this and Iâ€™m in the green room drinking beer.
â€œIâ€™ve been yelled at quite a bit. It used to freak me out. The problem with satire is that if people donâ€™t grant you the license that youâ€™re operating on a satirical level, well, they just think youâ€™re the singing Hitler. I find that really difficult because you canâ€™t actually argue with them because youâ€™re just going, â€˜youâ€™re fundamentally wrong, you just donâ€™t get what Iâ€™m talking about.â€™
â€œTheyâ€™re missing a key component of the way youâ€™re communicating and thereâ€™s no way you can fix that for them. Like, I had an older gent come to my show and say, â€˜I really enjoyed your show, but I found thereâ€™s a song in there which is about non-consensual sexâ€¦â€™
â€œThere was a song called â€˜No Means No Except When It Means I Love Youâ€™, which is all about all the loopholes in terms of consent. It was so obviously satirical and this guy says, â€˜I didnâ€™t like that song, I thought it was really sexist.â€™ I was like, fuck, what the hell do you say to that? You go, â€˜right, right, actually youâ€™re wrong, youâ€™re just wrong.â€™
â€œBut he goes, â€˜oh, but I like the show.â€™ And you go, â€˜how could you fucking like the show? You didnâ€™t understand it. What did you like about it?â€™â€
â€˜Misanthropologyâ€™ plays at Brisbane Powerhouse from July 20-23.