2010 NZICF – Week 2!

So you saw some shows in the first week of the 2010 NZ International Comedy Festival, and thought “It’s just not enough!”

Well, that’s why week 2 happened. Week 1 was just a teaser. Yeah, you like that, don’t you? You like it when we tease your haha. We’re such laugh-teases, us comedy-people. But it’s for the best. We’re strengthening our relationship. Can’t you feel it? You and I are becoming one, through the medium of comedy. It’s a glorious thing. Instead of being torn apart by hatred and war, we’re being smushed together by laughter and love. Not hippy love or gay-and-fake-Jesus-type love, but love love. What the hell am I talking about?

Oh yeah, week 2.

The first show I caught in week 2 was TJ McDonald’s Billy T show, “A Maori Ate My Great Grandad”. It’s a playful romp through the McDonald family history, with some of TJ’s better-known (although topically irrelevant) gags. He melts them all together extremely well, putting on a show that feels a lot more like a conversation with your uncle. Not the touchy, dodgy uncle, but the uncle you actual like. The cool one with all the stories. The one your parents will happily leave you alone with. This is his opening night, and the room is packed. It’s a fantastic show and, although he didn’t win the Billy this year, TJ is definitely onto bigger things in the future.

Next was Josie Long, at Club Ivy, with “Be Honourable”. Josie was pinned as a festival favourite this year, before the festival even began. Having only previously seen Miss Long in short stints in various showcase shows, I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about… until her show. She is absolutely, undeniably hilarious. Similarly to TJ, she never really lets her show feel like a show. It feels like a conversation that you really love being a part of. Her whacky cast of “characters” (hand drawn pictures that were hard to see from the back, due to low lighting),  and her mined-for-every-single-delicious-crumb-of-hilarity breakfast segment, had me in fits of laughter, and I can’t wait to see her again in future festivals.

Then the opening night of the five-show sell-out run of Levin For Beginners, with Nathan Winter, Jez Brown, Gareth Bradley, and little ol’ me. Admittedly, the opening night wasn’t stellar. As the four of us have only been in the same room at the same time, only a handful of occasions leading up to the festival, the show was a little under-prepared. It was evident there was room to grow. The other nights, however, went marvelously, especially the 8pm Friday show, which had a packed-to-the-rafters crowd hollering and howling for more. There has been much interest from people hailing from the Horowhenua disctrict, for the show to travel north. Not very far north… but still north. That’s better than west, which would land us in the tasman. Levin For Beginners gained fantastic reviews, which can be seen here (Dom Post) and here (Salient Magazine).

Rhys Mathewson’s “Rhyspect” is an introspective piece, looking into what makes him the man (boy) he is today, and what will make him grow even more. This show eventually won him the 2010 Billy T award, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Effortlessly consuming the stage in a (as Theareview would suggest) Steve Wrigley-esque manner, the audience is his plaything.

Another comedy Den on Friday night, and unfortunately, I can’t remember much of the action. Was this the one where Josie Long did her semi-violent, ditzy, hard East London, astronaut character? If so, it was freaking hilarious. Shooting down hecklers (in the completely crammed-full Fringe Bar crowd) left, right, and centre, Josie proves she’s not one to be messed with. Did she sing the Cranberries for her karaoke track? Come on guys, help me out here. Oh yeah, TJ McDonald was the MC, and right off the bat, he let the crowd know he was in control. Yelling at them to keep them in line, he quickly became like that “other” uncle. Yeah, you know the one I mean. Oh, and the Comediettes were there. Good and funny as usual. “Ticketman! Fuck you and your $60 fine!”

The Speakeasy Comedy Showcase on Sunday night was a blast. Big thanks go to Jerome Chandrahasen for allowing Cruzanne and I to practice some last minute Jetlagged material at this quaint Petone gig. The crowd try to resist warming to MC Derek Flores, but they just can’t. It’s a strange environment. They’re sitting there, trying for the love of god to not have a good time (why did they come to a show???) and Derek is almost punching them in the face with his haha-comedy ways. Then it’s my turn. Some new gags worked, some old ones didn’t. Prior to the show, I had been warned this is usually a very conservative crowd, and not to do any dodgy material. A few minutes in, screw it, here comes the filth. I couldn’t help it. They needed it. And they laughed, so gamble well paid off. Cruz follows me and does some testers for Jetlagged, including her brand new (I love it) “Like a bear” bit, which is met with great appreciation. Jeremy Elwood wraps the night up very tightly with his semi-political-but-always-fed-up-with-people style. I’m still loving his age-old “Hunting Accidents” gag… gets me every time.

That’s it for Week 2. Didn’t get along to as many shows as I would’ve hoped, due to doing five runs of Levin For Beginners.

Also had to pull out of doing Saturday night’s Late Laughs at the San Fran Bathhouse, due to illness. Stupid, sucky illness. I would punch it, but it was in my stomach, and that would’ve only made matters worse.

Stay tuned for week 3, when I finally get around to it.

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