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.
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:
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:
Bring on next week!
Note: You can find the details on this year’s RAW Comedy’s final here: http://www.facebook.com/events/372774586075721/
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.