Lawrence Mooney Threw A Huge Tantrum At A Journo Who Gave Him A Three-Star Review Last Night

Dozens of tweets calling a young woman a "deadshit" make for way worse publicity than her initial review.

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The Adelaide Fringe Festival kicked off over the weekend with more than 1,500 artists, performers, and comedians debuting their work to an estimated 70,000 people. As one of the nation’s biggest arts festivals, this is a pretty big deal for those involved. New names mingle with old regulars and everyone develops works to tour for the rest of the year. Comedians especially are chasing pull quotes and four- and five-star reviews to pop on their posters for the Sydney Comedy Festival and MICF in just a couple of months time.

This is a fact presumably not too far from Lawrence Mooney’s mind when he laid into a local journalist Isabella Fowler from the The Advertiser last night on Twitter.

Yesterday The Advertiser published Fowler’s three-star Fringe review of Mooney’s show Moonman which posited he seemed like “just a funny guy” rather than “a comedian”. After critiquing the substance of his gags, the young journalist suggested his material was ultimately kind of weak and was carried instead by his affable personality. “While the man with a number of accolades under his belt has an undeniably natural demeanour and commanding stage presence … Lawrence Mooney is just a funny guy under a spotlight,” she wrote.

Taking issue with this, the long-time comedian and former host of ABC’s Dirty Laundry Live launched dozens of withering attacks on the writer to his 23,000 followers.

When a number of fans criticised his response pointing out that she was just doing her job and is also relatively inexperienced in the field (she’s in her early 20s), he showed no signs of slowing down.

Fowler responded to a number of Mooney’s complaints stating the review was simply her opinion. “My job is to review, it wasn’t to my taste. Get over it,” she wrote. “Hope attacking me over Twitter makes you feel like a big man. Soz I didn’t like your show. Now let’s all calm the fuck down.” This didn’t exactly help.

The whole exchange has however left a lasting impression on those watching from the sidelines. Though Mooney’s received support from many including comedians Joel Creasey and Kate Langbrook, others have labelled his response as disproportionate and ultimately counter-productive.

It’s also prompted conversation about ongoing concerns with the treatment of young women in an industry consistently dominated by men. This is something Sydney-based comedian Brydie Lee-Kennedy brought attention to last year after Matt Okine’s speech about gender equality at the ARIAs. “[Sexism is] insidious in comedy,” she wrote in a great piece for SBS. “Everyone knows that it’s not okay, exactly, to discriminate against women. Men in the industry will nod thoughtfully and pay lip service to the idea of increased representation, while continuing to contribute to a culture in which women are unwelcome and under-valued.”

Though Fowler isn’t a comedian and doesn’t have a great deal of experience in the field of stand-up reviewing, this aggressive and (occasionally openly gendered) attack by a respected man more than twice her age, is hardly an incentive to develop the craft.