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May 4, 2010 | by  | in Theatre |
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A Maori Ate My Great Granddad

T.J. McDonald is the only 2010 Billy T. Award nominee from Wellington, and I think that his solo show A Maori Ate My Great-Granddad may win him our greatest comedy award.

A Maori Ate My Great Granddad is a personal history of both McDonald’s family and of TJ himself, this loose theme allows TJ to swing all over the world, from Iran, to Polynesian strip clubs through to the infamous Kiwi forensic psychiatric hospital Lake Alice. It turns out his Great Uncle was a bit nuts. As someone else who has had family there, I found that story really quite relatable. But, that’s what makes his show so neat: we can actually relate with the history he’s spinning, the yarns he’s telling. Some of the stories featuring McDonalds Grandfather could be lifted out of the Uncle Trev books, or stolen from Barry Crump. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t wish that they were related to Crump? Well, besides his actual family…

The thing that makes McDonald a watchable comic is his affable kiwi intellectualism. This allows him to straddle a large area of comedy: in the same seven minutes I saw puns, Maori jokes, a discussion of the aeronautics and Harry Potter, dick jokes and astute political observations. I can’t think of a New Zealand comedian who that would work with – maybe Brendan Lovegrove- and that’s a pretty special niche to be in.

If you’re the target demographic for the Capital Times, one of the more intelligent people in the room, or happen to like the BBC version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?” then you need to see the show. The rest of you hoy-palloy, will merely enjoy the show a great deal.

T.J. McDonald
04-08 May at the Fringe Bar.
Tickets $20

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About the Author ()

Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way.

Comments (4)

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  1. Cat says:

    I don’t think joking about Maori people eating white people is funny. Too many people use racist stories about maori people doing things to discredit them and it isn’t cool.

  2. Jerome says:

    Jokes and stories about racism are not the same as racist jokes. If you see the show you’ll appreciate the difference.

  3. Sando says:

    Hi there Cat, the bits about the Maori eating people weren’t based around stereotyping, they were based around the actual history of New Zealand and the personal history of the McDonald family.

    As Jerome says, there is a huge difference between jokes about racism and racism itself. Comedy is a perfect place to address things like racism, sexism and paraphilias. Barriers can be lowered as we allow ourselves to laugh and perhaps sometimes to think.

    Kia ora satire.

  4. Linda says:

    Hey Cat
    I agree with your comment…and until people who make jokes like that have lived in a world where their own culture is constantly put down and portrayed by the media as inferior and troublesome then they should watch what image they are giving another’s culture by their comments.

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