This week’s raw was a healthy blend of astonishing, and fantastic. 11 near-virgin comics over lorded by the Carbon-Neutral TJ McDonald, and an audience full of proud supporters for “Kevin” and a front-bar full of other Raw comedians sussing out the competition. This was the second-to-last raw heat for this year, and the two-third full auditorium was filled with people who loved his white-guy dance moves, and enjoyed the fact that in the front row was the cast of everybody’s favourite movie: Four Brits and an apologetic Canadian.
I caught up with Cal Wilson in the middle of her season in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival about the show that she’ll be bringing to NZ in a few weeks.
I’ll be there on opening night, and I hope to see you there too..
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:
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.
I had a wee chat with NZ’s Joke Of All Trades . Keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks, for we may have a couple of giveaways for it :)
I had a wee chat a while ago with NZ Comedy Legend Brendhan Lovegrove. Over 20 minutes we chatted about all aspects of his careers, and life in the NZ Comedy Industry.
Warning: A little bit of fruity language happens in this interview. I wouldn’t edit it out because it takes away from the emphasis being made by Brendhan, and it sounded too artificial.
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.
I’ve decided to do a giveaway.
In my interview with Dai Henwood we mentioned his DVD.
To win a copy of his DVD here’s what you need to do:
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The subject line must be the name of Dai’s DVD.
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.
Only open to NZ Delivery Addresses.
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