Taking its title from the similarly named meme, Ren Lunicke’s, I’m an Apache Attack Helicopter takes on the critics and trolls who scoff at modern identity politics – the ones with rhetoric that is often cheap and easy, comparing the often ridiculed examples of identity (otherkin, furries) to the sincere and deeply heartfelt (gender and sexuality).
Essentially a spiritual sequel to Ze: Queer as Fuck, which dealt with Lunicke’s evangelical upbringing and subsequent sexual and gender epiphanies, Apache Attack Helicopter deals with the immediate now, from figures such as the black-identifying Rachel Dolezal to king of trolls Milo Yanapolius.
That the internet (Facebook, Tumblr) becomes the focal point of the show is inevitable. Because of this, the observations are naturally less anecdotal and more general. And the resulting effect can feel like the audience is is just sitting around laughing at conservatives and hypocrites. It’s cathartic, but it’s also too easy.
While Lunicke presents a lot of agreeable points and does so humorously, it sometimes feels more like commentary than stand-up. What seems missing is their own specific experiences living as a genderqueer transperson that elevates the material or subjects beyond the stuff we already see online.
That’s not to say the show is solely an echo chamber, though it would be justified if it was. Safe spaces are a natural reaction to a culture that tends to see you as the butt of a joke rather than the source of them. And Lunicke makes a good case for the existence of such spaces, no matter whose side you’re on.
More wry than riotous, Apache Attack Helicopter might lack the personal punch of Queer as Fuck, but it’s still a surprising mix of activism, education and comedy.
Ren Lunicke performs at Cellar at Q Theatre until 6 May. Details see Comedy Festival.