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NZ Fringe Festival 2010
Comedy Unplugged
NZ Comedy Trust

at Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington
From 15 Feb 2010 to 1 Mar 2010
[Mondays only]

Reviewed by Maryanne Cathro, 16 Feb 2010

Comedy Unplugged is the Fringe's comedy focus group. Comedians Noor Razzak (MC), Brad Zimmerman, Raybon Kan, Gabriel Page and El Jaguar (aka Derek Flores) tried out new material on the audience to see if it is funny. Presumably they take note of the audience reactions to further refine the jokes presented.

I wouldn't mind being their guinea pig if the material was actually new or original. Most of the jokes however involved the second of the great resorts of the mediocre comedian – the first is sex (and thankfully the smut factor was fairly low), and the other is taking potshots at stereotypes and cultural institutions. I'm not even going to waste my time critiquing this stuff, it's not worth it. I can only hope that the performers work that out for themselves.

What WAS funny was the new stuff. Gabriel Page's song about Facebook Girl was an amusing take on unrequited love. Noor Razzak's demonstration of the seductive possibilities of Arabic, which apparently is a romance language. Brad Zimmerman had some good ideas that need a bit more work to bring them to performance standard, when they could really take off.

The absolute star of the evening however was El Jaguar. Wellington's pint-sized improv genius Derek Flores threw himself into the role of failed Mexican wrestler El Jaguar with enough energy to power the national grid, and took a few unsuspecting audience members with him. By his own admission most of it was made up as he went along and it was brilliant. His performance had the audience crying from laughter, and ended the night with a crescendo. Be on the lookout for El Jaguar's next performance- he may not be a very good wrestler, but he is VERY funny.

'Nuff said.

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