What happens when a comedian who will do anything to become famous meets a TV show that will do anything for ratings?
That's the premise of Nicholas J Johnson's offering at this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival - and it's a premise that pays off in an entertaining tale of tabloid television, scams and comeuppances.
There can be few Australian TV viewers unfamiliar with Today Tonight. The show is described on Wikipedia as 'an Australian "current affairs" program' and the presence of those ironic quotation marks is not lost on Johnson, who has seen at first hand the producers' novel approach to what they call news. It's a show that never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.
He was spotted by this icon of sensationalist reporting in 2006. They needed a confidence trickster to scam the Australian public and - essentially - show how stupid they could be.
Johnson was the ideal person. After a spell as children's party performer Bilbo the Magic Clown, he had reinvented himself as Australia's Honest Con Man, a fraudster who used his talents to entertain and educate rather than swindle.
He quickly became a Today Tonight favourite, performing scam after scam and finally gaining the fame he craved.
Today Tonight, Tomorrow the World is a frequently hilarious romp through the whole fascinating experience.
In the murky world of tabloid television it's hard to know who's telling the truth and this is something Johnson takes advantage of with panache. He's an engaging character and it's no surprise he was a successful con man. He's a successful comedian too.
The show will confirm your worst fears about the dark side of TV current affairs, and perhaps change your viewing habits forever. But it'll be worth it - go.
The Melbourne Fringe Festival presents
Today Tonight, Tomorrow the World
By Nicholas J Johnson
Dates: 26 Sept - 14 Oct, 2012
Venue: Club Voltaire B