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:
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
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/
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.