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April 28, 2008 | by  | in Theatre |
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The Comedy Fest

The Comedy Fest is going to be pretty friggin’ sweet, if the opening night was anything to go by.

First Laughs was hosted by the much-loved Dai Henwood. I love this guy. He has the ability to turn things that really shouldn’t be all that good into seriously funny shit. Put it down to his goofy-looking features and mastery of body language; whatever. The truth is he just doesn’t miss with his jokes, and can seamlessly flow between them. He’s not actually performing this year, but he makes an excellent MC.

Ben Hurley provided an excellent start to the night. He’s chosen his area – gender humour – and he knows it well. The two best one-liners of the night came from the first act. Well worth seeing.

Following on from him were Jerome Chandrahasen and the UK’s Josie Long. I think running the two of them one after the other was probably a mistake; Chandrahasen focus is on metahumour, and Long’s gameplan seems to be to emphasise how things aren’t funny for humour value. Which is all well and good, but it was probably a bit early in the night for that, and while I can appreciate the style, it doesn’t give me the simple barrel of laughs that I look for from stand-up comedy. Then again, the crowd enjoyed them, so what would I know.

Jeremy Elwood and Mrs Peacock don’t look to be offering anything materially different from their O-Week shows, which is a bit of a disappointment. That said, if you missed them, Elwood is absolutely brilliant, and worth your dollars. Mrs Peacock less so: only if you like toilet humour.

Irene Pink was fantastic, and my great discovery of the night. Again focusing on sexual humour, her timing is masterful, and she leads into her jokes very well, so that each one hits home that bit harder. In addition, she’s performing with Michelle A’Court, who I also think is awesome, so that should be wicked.

Arj Barker is pretty much everything American humour is made out to be. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t do it as well as some of his Kiwi co-performers. Meh.

The Lonesome Buckwhips were just really weird. I don’t get it.

Steve Wrigley is one of my favourite New Zealand comedians. His sets are always really animated; he seems really excited about whatever he’s saying and he jumps around the stage all over the place. Even better, he just launches from line to line, which is brilliant. Faced paced comedy for the win.

The next few guys weren’t exactly stand outs. Vinyl Burns was fascinating, but not really funny. I don’t like Cori Gonzalez- Maceur but James Nokise and John Fothergill were pretty alright I guess.

Simon McKinney, on the other hand, was GREAT. I love that his set was on “Kiwism”, and he began one of his sentences with “Yes, no, um”. Brilliant. And his impressions are fantastic. Anyone who has two different, and equally accurate, impressions of old ladies is pretty much worth seeing, right there.

Anyway. The Comedy Fest is on till 11 May, and you should go see an act. I will be seeing The Lady Bunch, Stephen Wrigley, and Simon McKinney. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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  1. josh says:

    Correction: Dai Henwood does have a show in the festival this year.

    http://comedyfestival.co.nz/cfest_custom.cfm?&do=showdetails&showlocation=A&showid=22

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