An interesting night of RAW this week, after I missed it last week, I was excited to hear that the fantastic Jesse Griffin was MCing, though more than a little disappointed his cowboy hat wearing, guitar playing friend wasn’t going to make an appearance. Jesse came out to a two-thirds empty room that was mostly full by the half-time break. He showed off his experience at TV filmings by using his hands to conduct various levels of applause, and he’d have made the “Aggressive Researcher” for 7Days proud.
Covering topics, such as how he can tell his career’s on the way down, and cracking on to some of the more semitic members of the audience, most of the reactions came from a largely quiet room giving little more than polite laughs.
The first of the act of the evening was a comedian who seemed (from his introduction) very well travelled, but for someone of that experience, it doesn’t seem he gets out very much. Covering topics of his stagefright, and lavatory conversation, it became clear that his stagefright didn’t extend to the stage. This comedian started slow but by the end of the show was getting some very good laughs from a previously very cold crowd.
The next act was a semi-self-depreciating comic who was kicking arse from his first gags. This comic knew how to put himself down enough to get laughs, but clearly knew when to stop, so he didn’t just look desperate. Some of this comic’s material was very topical which gave the impression that while the lines were very tight, and well polished, they hadn’t been sitting in a notebook for five years getting looked at once a moth. A very dry comic who has a helluva lot of potential. I’ve not seen this man on stage before, and if this was indeed his first time, I want to know where he’s been hiding before now, and why.
Our burlesque comedienne was back for her first heat this week. This “Gindian” comic was rolling out clearly new gear, as I’d not heard any of it from the last time I saw her perform a few weeks ago, which is very impressive, as some people find it very hard to write six minutes of new material, have it that well rehearsed, and then not revert to the “old stuff” as soon as the first punchline doesn’t go down as well as planned. This set was fantastic, though it needs to be polished, I have a feeling some of the lines coming out could get some massive laughs down the track. Though I wouldn’t recommend she quit her dayjob to become a human beatbox.
I saw my first musical act of the RAW contest. Perhaps next time I’d recommend putting them as the first act of the second half, as half of their six minutes was spent setting up. I don’t think the room was prepared for what come forth, as for the most part, they were recieved with stunned silence. Some well versed somgs expressing their love for their hometown of Hamilton, that may have gone down better at a bar, but certainly showed a lot of potential.
The first comic of the second half started out with a safety warning, then proceeded to express some empathy for smokers. Judging from the reactions of this act, and the amount of “yessss” and “fuuuck yesss” coming from this comic, I suspect she picks only one activity to smoke after, but her set was well recieved by both smokers in the room, and most of the rest of the room.
I honestly didn’t know what to write about Scene Two Act Two, who was possibly the estranged/deranged sibling of a well known NZ Comedian of the same surname, making “funny noises” and rantings that would fail to entertain a three year old, but seemed to keep the “beer enthusiasts” in the room well amused. Some basic stripping followed by somewhat delusion, and mass confusion from the audience when he announced he’d spent three months rehearsing for this show. I’m wondering why.
The next act delivered a very tight set which covered a wide range of well segued topics. Lichtenstein got an early mention for the Raw Quest, and by “Early Mention” I point out that it was mentioned at all. Delivering an accurate portrayal of Auckland Drivers, this comic delivered his own take on the new road rules, and reinforced my lifestyle choice of being a permanent pedestrian.
This was quickly followed by a self claimed Mummy’s Boy, who, if he’s looking to break that bond, and get a little distance, could take some card-writing lessons from our first female performer of the evening. A little confounding when accents disappeared completely during a set, to return later, stronger than ever. I can honesly say it was the first time I’ve ever seen a performer serenade a Marmite Jar, and I’d be a little caucious if I purchased it from him over trademe, for the possibility that it may have been rendered “Cheesymite 2.0”. Though I must say, this comic’s interpretations of dirty-talking transformers could finally provide a good career option for Megan Fox, as an internet based webcam user.
The last act of the evening used travel stories to “fluff” the audience, the second comedian of this quest that I’ve seen “burn” a few of his precious six minutes talking about what other comedians have done during their sets. After that, once he’d settled into his rhythmn, we managed to hear how this comedian pumps himself up in the shower, and about his KFC fandom and gastro difficulties.
Overall a well-varied night of performances, with some very strong acts, and I look forward to seeing who out of the comedians I’ve seen, make it through to the Semi Finals.
Some tips I picked up on:
If your set requires you to go from standing to squatting a fair bit, maybe opt for trousers instead of a skirt.
Always have a back-up microphone ready, in case it should become necessary to decontaminate one.
Never assume you’ve seen it all. You can always be horrified to see you haven’t.
Chris Cox (@BigCox) is coming back, bringing Fatal Distraction with him..
Fatal Distraction is the fifth brand new show from the multi award-winning, five star, fringe sell-out, mind reader who can’t read minds, Chris Cox. He’s been on TV, toured the world and is somehow still getting away with it. Fatal Distraction has picked up a magical hat full of 5 star reviews and won the 2011 Venue Magazine award for best comedy show.
Chris will be doing things he shouldn’t be able to do with the fringe brochure, performing tricks nobody has ever done before, controlling coincidence, probing theories of fate and answering the FAQ: ‘Can you use this stuff on girls?’. Determined to deliver the most satisfying hour possible Chris will be handing control over to his audience by giving them the power to control his actions with their minds. Cox manages to mix a love based narrative with some of the most unique and incredible mind-reading effects ever seen on the stage.
We have two winners for the Dai Henwood - Dai Another Day DVD.
Congratulations to D from Torbay and Jake from Nelson.
Here’s the winning story from D. I’m keeping the submitter anonymous so I could publish the winning story:
At Raggamuffin this year I broke my longdrop rule - never look down. I have a low tolerance for anything disgusting! But when using the portaloos I looked down and was so grossed out that I threw up. After cleaning everything up I walked out to a queue of scowling people who were unimpressed that I took too long!
Congratulations, enjoy the DVD!
Keep an eye on the facebook and Twitter pages for more competitions coming up soon!
I caught up with @GordonSouthern in the Green Room at The Classic after his last show here in Auckland in February. Read below to find out about this year’s show, and his experiences as a full-time comedian for the last 16 years.
Andy Clay is bringing his second play to the NZ International Comedy Festival this year. Produced by the Tonacious Toni Tippett, and directed by the fantastic Jeremy Elwood this show is already looking really good.
Have a read below for my chat with Andy and keep an eye on this blog, for I’m going to be having a chat with the wonderful First-Time producer for the Comedy Fest, to see what bringing a show like this to the festival is like, for a first timer.
Raw This week, heat three was showing a fantastic amount of potential before I even got to The Classic. The front bar was close to full, and there were substantially sized knots of people outside. I figured this was going to be a great show. The unfortunate lack of Stella Graham, due to an unfortunate weather based flight diversion to Wellington, meant that our host was the very talented Vaughan King.
In the front bar, I noticed the heckler from TJ McDonald’s show “Glen”, who did remain surprisingly quiet this week. I must admit, this wasn’t a bad thing from the performer’s point of view, but I’ve never seen Vaughan King take on a heckler before, so I was a teeny bit disappointed.
I was lucky enough to be able to get a few minutes of the great Rhys Darby’s time for an interview. You can see him back here in May for the tour for his show “This Way To Spaceship”. You can also buy the ajoining book by the same name, released through all good bookstores on April 12.
In the body, tell me the story in your life, that is the closest to someone puking on your lap while you’re doing number 2, then punching you in the face funniest thing that’s happened to you at a music festival.
The closest story to that wins a DVD.
The comp closes next Wednesday Sunday night at midnight.
A late-arriving crowd managed to pack out the main room at the classic this Monday. A big juicy lineup of 11 acts, MC’d by the well-versed Rhys Mathewson. I have started to recognise a few faces in the crowd, some of regular audience members, and some performers, not so subtly checking out the competition. The evening kicked off well. An interesting front row led the MC to get gently brainwashed, before receiving the revelation that he’s no sexual threat. We learnt some interesting things about Invercargill, and there was a little bit of flashing-talk.
Our opening act was a bit of a cold-starter, though it was evident he wasn’t a fan of the tardiness of the audience. He delivered a good speech, which the final third of the audience, who tried to sneak in well after the lights went down, could do with hearing. It’s a shame he was on first, and most of them missed it.
I had a chat with Jeremy Elwood about his Comedy history, and what He’s bringing to the festival this year.
The links and details of his show are below, and if you’re not sure (though be careful, these may sell out very quickly), I’ll be seeing Jeremy’s show on the 28th of April, and you can expect a blog about it, so you can make the decision to go, after that!
An interesting night of RAW last night. The audience was a nice warm crowd, the room looked about two thirds full. There was apparently one student in the room, and there was an unpopular heckler by the name of Glen, who got some special treatment, from our “Fan of Balls” MC of the evening – Billy T Nominated TJ McDonald, who was more than happy to plug his festival show.
The first couple of performers had been on the stage before, and it showed in their act. One chose to open the show with some “Fresh” “gritty” toilet humour. But not the kind of toilet humour you’d normally expect on an amateur comedy night, but the crowd seemed to love it. We also managed to get some international relationship humour in from a comedian who’d been off the stage for about 2 years, making a very strong come-back, the room seemed to love most of what came from this guy’s mouth, and rightly so. He was very funny with a fantastic load of potential.
Third act of the evening was a budding comedian who’s “got the snap, baby”, and he also had something else that held the attention of one particular audience member for most of the evening – a nice scarf. A source of giggling that provided the MC with a fair amount of callback throughout the evening, and always managed to bring the mood of the room back up. This was evidently a tight routine from this comedian who relied on physical gags, and managed to roll them together seamlessly.
Number four was a very animated poultry enthusiast. Not the first supermarket based set I’ve heard, but it all seemed very original. A fantastically tight set by a comedian who looked like he was more nervous than an alter boy on his first soap collecting exercise. He did a very good job of keeping the crowd engaged, and looking like he was having the time of his life, which is all that mattered.
Our first lady of the night managed to put the audience on guard within about fifteen seconds on stage, immediately launching what may have not been intended to be an attack on hecklers, but showed off her prowess of cutting them off at the knees. The next part of the set contained a very safe yet funny dialogue about the courting process. And finally, for the final set of the first half a comedian who was running gear for his Festival show, tightening it up for what looks like it will be an interesting show to see.
Breaking back into the second half, the audience required some Transubstantiation and Political satire to get them back in the mood to see a few more new faces, but when they did come out, the new faces bought with them some great laughs. The first act of the second act wondering to myself “do I touch it?” and then about his big feet, and the sources of his excess skin. Act number two of the second half surprised me. Rumours were that she was a well-known Burlesque performer, who would be performing in character. And though I saw no corsets, there was no trouble picking her out. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but after a few fantastic punch lines that were very well delivered, I’m 100% sure that her previous stage appearances had a part in building the confidence that radiated from this performer.
The next three performers were a combination of potential and overexposure to the work force and hyper sexuality. I can honestly say it’s the first time I’ve heard a comedian dedicate their whole set to sex talk, which may have led to oversaturation of a single topic in one set. I’m not sure whether it’s because that’s all the material that person had, or whether it seemed that the crowd were responding to the jokes and they decided to stay on that path. If it was the latter, a very lucky win on the performer’s half.
Other comedians in the last half looked like they were going to pass out, and could maybe learn to take a few pauses for effect, to let the jokes settle on the audience, and let them react to the material, because some of it was very good. Until they started telling the audiences how smart they are.
The final act of the evening covered some very controversial topics, such as immigration and human resources. I’m not sure how, but I managed to hate that fictional woman called “Helen” in a manner of seconds. He managed to tie a fantastic six minutes of material together seamlessly with some intelligent comments, a sense of variety, and a fantastic command of the audience’s attention. He did also manage to make the MC redundant at the end of the show.
Overall a fantastic night of comedy. A great variety of topics, comedians, and experience levels. I really look forward to seeing a few of the faces over the next few weeks as the heats begin.
Here are the things I picked up on at this week’s RAW show:
I should not be drinking liquids when TJ McDonald is talking. Several times in the last few days I’ve choked on my drink because of things he’s said.
The audience don’t like to be told how intelligent you are. Saying that immediately causes them to infer that you think they are less intelligent than you, and that’s a very fine line to walk.
And some part of me kind of wishes, just a little bit, that I looked even slightly like Karl Urban.
On Sunday I’ll put up my conversation with Scott. Scott runs the RAW process and is known as the God-Father of NZ Comedy for a very good reason. Don’t forget you can pop along to the RAW nights at the classic for $5 (or Two for $5 if you both have student IDs). The RAW final
I caught up with the fantastic Steve Wrigley and the wonderful Justine Smith at The Classic after the first Raw Comedy night of 2012. Below are the transcripts of the conversation. The audio for this (despite the hilarity that ensued) probably won’t be made available, due to the amount of stuff I’d have to censor, due to incriminating stories told, poor jokes on my part, and inside information mentioned.
Don’t forget, you can find Jussi and Steve, with Dai Henwood’s podcast HERE.
Tonight’s MC, Billy T award nominee Guy Williams comes down onto the stage to a rather quiet, and vacant room at the classic. His energy reflecting that which he’d like to see from the crowd, rather than the response he was receiving. An interesting heckler (possibly on his first night, much like many of the comedians present), by the name of Kase, or Kane, bought himself to the attention of the room with heckles probably pulled from a third former’s guidebook.
The first two acts were absolutely fantastic, certainly showing a lot of potential. I can honestly say the first time I’ve ever seen someone literally steal the show from the MC. A fantastic example of two people with a lot of comedic potential, which were quickly followed by the first (and by no means last) poo jokes of the evening, bought to us by a lovely comedienne who’d done a few sets a while back, but this was her first stage time in a long time, and her experience, and understanding of the formulation of the joke was blatantly obvious. Her mothering experience bought back painful memories of how many wooden spoons were broken over my arse in my younger days.
Later in the evening came a budding comedian who bought out stories from his life, and for the first time I’ve ever seen, bought a story to the stage, that was something that happened to him when he was at another comedian’s show, in the audience.
Eventually, just before the end of the first half, the room seemed to warm up, and began responding to the seventh comedian of the night, who managed to illicit some of the best laughs of the night.
After the break we had another six two comedians. The first two had difficulty getting much reaction from the audience, including one who managed to bring material outlining the differences between cats and dogs, which didn’t manage to get much of a response from the assembled crowd.
Then came on a comedian who managed to bring an energy that immediately made me think of Jan Maree, a comedian who grabbed the audience’s attention with a trick, or a tactic that caught them off guard. I didn’t get a chance to speak to this guy after the show, to find out if it was intentional or not. If this gentleman intentionally bought this to the table to grab the audience’s attention, very well done on his part. If it was a fluke, I hope he runs with it, and learns the power of it.
Overall a very interesting night of RAW comedy:
I got to see exactly the impact that the audience’s mood has on a show. And no matter how good the MC is, if the room doesn’t want to warm up, then the comedians following him or her, had better be ready for an icy dunk.
I got to see my first ever scat based Elvis parody artist.
I learned how Heath Franklin’s Chopper signs autographs.
I was reminded of just how a handcrafted gift to your mother can be used to inflict pain
And most importantly, I know that some of the faces I saw that night have the potential to be the future of NZ comedy.
Monday 13 February. The classic. The lights go down. Boycie drops the lights and brings up the music introducing the MC for the night – Steve Wrigley. The room breaks into applause. Steve Wrigley comes on stage…
I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was the first night I’d ever been to see Raw Comedy. I’ve been to more Friday and Saturday gigs than I can remember. Even a fair number of Wednesday night gigs. I was excited to see some new faces perform. I have to admit, the sadist in me was looking to see a few colossal bombs, and I was hoping to see some mediocre gear.
I caught up with Rhys on Thursday Night at the Northern Steamship for a couple of drinks and some chips. It was a 25 minute chat, filled with failed attempts at comedy on my part. I’ve trimmed a lot of it out of the transcript, but if you do want a copy of the audio, I’ll release all the interviews I’ve done, at the end of the festival. You can also flick me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see if I can email it through.
A few facts about Rhys
He took part in Class Comedians at the tender age of 16
Voted 2009 Best Newcomer - NZ Comedy Guild Awards
Voted 2009 Best Newcomer - NZ International Comedy Festival
Nominated for 2010 Best Male Comedian - NZ Comedy Guild Awards
Inducted into Classic’s “Wall of Fame” in 2010 at The Classic’s 13th Birthday Celebration
2010 Billy T Award winner, NZ International Comedy Festival against Jarred Fell, Clayton Carrick-Leslie, Vaughan King and TJ McDonald
I recently caught up with Improv Warrior Wade Jackson, a name you might recognise from the Improv Bandits, Shu Ha Ri, Covert Theatre, or Jolt. An incredibly busy man, who spared a few moments to talk to me about his Comedy experience.
NZ Comedy Genius Touring Throughout 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival
So last night I get a very exciting email breaking some very exciting news about this year’s Comedy Festival. A great, and internationally renowned NZ Comedian who has induced giggling, and caused people to laugh so hard that just a little wee came out, Rhys Darby, is coming back to perform in his first NZ International Comedy Festival for 6 years.
If you haven’t ever heard of Rhys Darby, here are a few credentials:
One half of Rhysently Granted
Billy T Award nominee 2002 and 2003
Edinburgh Fringe Performer
Brian Nesbit from Flight of the Conchords
The face of 2Degrees Mobile
Co-Director of Awesomeness International
Greenpeace Climate Ambassador
Quite the resume!
So what do we have to look forward to from this Comedy show? Not only do we get to bask in the genius of this legendary representative of NZ Comedy, This loosely autobiographical show accompanies the release of this debut novel of the same name. Hear how Darby went from meek geek to ‘King of Cool’ and his plan for impending Armageddon.
Pre-sales for all shows start at 9am Thursday 2 February and end at 5pm Friday 3 February.
So, this time the Comedy Festival rolls around in April. Looking back to last year, I’m remembering the great shows I saw on opening Night: Clayton Carrick-Leslie in Fantasmagorical, and Rhys Mathewson Is Fun.
I remember seeing the excitement of opening night, coupled with the fear in the eyes of the performer as they combine new routines, and the relief in their eyes as they get their first laugh of the night, which only gets superseded by the joy on their face as their first hour of the festival wraps up, and they realised that they’ve done it. They’ve performed a show, usually solo, and they haven’t bombed.
Now, I’m not a comedian, and I’m not a critic. I don’t have the balls for stand-up, and because I’ve never performed comedy, I feel I have absolutely no right at all to judge those who do. I am however, an early to mid-twenties male, who likes a good laugh, and loves the opportunity to support NZ Comedy. That, of course, is not to say that I don’t enjoy international comedy as well.
This year’s comedy festival contains the best line up yet. Of course, there are the nominees for the Billy T award:
There are some comedians you’d recognise from TV, and some who aren’t as well known, but in some cases are more hilarious.
As a lover of comedy in NZ, there is very little I haven’t seen, and very little I don’t like. And it’s my aim this year, to go to at least one show per night, and then to bring you back some feedback on the shows themselves. I also am aiming to attend all the major shows like the Best of the Billys, both of which will contain fantastic comedy from some of New Zealand’s past winners of the Billy T award, and the like the Last Laugh, in which case all nominees for the Billy T award, the Raw award, and the Fred perform, and have their winners announced, among many other award winners.
I will definitely be seeing each of the Billy T Nominees’ shows during their runs. I’ll not be going to their first, or last shows, but somewhere in the middle of their season, and I’ll be posting my opinions of their shows on here. I will not, however, be posting my opinions on who I should win this prestigious award. That decision is reserved for some people who have been in the industry a very long time, and know what they’re talking about.
I’m also going to have a Comedy Festival 2012 T-Shirt that I’m going to take to every gig with me. I’m going to try to get it signed by as many comedians as possible during the festival. Maybe I’ll do something special with it at the end :)
So, to all the performers this year: I wish you good luck.
To all those spectators out there, I really hope you enjoy this festival.