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Print Version

NZ International Comedy Festival
presented by LAUGH CLUB NZ

at Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington
From 30 Apr 2013 to 4 May 2013

Reviewed by Stewart Lund, 2 May 2013

Nick Rado has been a major player in the New Zealand 'bar-stand-up' comedy scene for a number of years now, having won several awards for best MC from the NZ Comedy Guild, and being nominated for the prestigious Billy T Award back in 2011.

This year, his new show is entitled The Best Joke in the World, and while it may not quite give you that, it is certainly worth the watch. The premise of the show is that Rado has been travelling to seek out the best joke ever told, and is here to retell it - and while I have never seen Rado perform an hour long set before, I am keen to see what he has to offer.

After the usual polite applause at the start, and a brief introduction to Nick (whereby he shows us his new "lesbian-styled" haircut), several members of the audience are asked to make his introduction far more elaborate, such as what would be seen at a sport's match. Segments such as this – where audience members are involved in a number of easy and friendly tasks – provide the biggest laughs. Although some can argue that where audience participation is used it takes away from the actual comedian, I believe it shows the performer's skill in easily gaining the trust of an audience, and typically makes the laughs come thick and fast. 

Rado's style of comedy is observational, with many anecdotes covering different parts of his life, from Raro-powered drinks in the 90s, an evil German cat, an hilarious yoga story, to “leisure marching”. It makes a good change to hear a Kiwi comedian who does not linger on jokes based around sex and fling out a hundred obscenities a minute - rather telling stories which are more relatable and clever.

My only issue with the show is its construction - it seemed that it's just a collection of stories. While they are genuinely funny, there seems to be a lack of continuity and connection between them, and Rado seems to go out on random tangents. Once again, these do prove funny, but when the tangents seem unconnected it is difficult to see where they fit into the show as a whole.

And as one would probably expect with a title which certainly promises a lot, the aforementioned 'funniest joke in the world' is really only funny because of the plain absurdity and bizarreness of it, and does not exactly deliver on its promise.

Overall, Nick Rado offers are a collection of funny anecdotes and friendly banter that keep the audience on his side from start to finish. Thanks to audience participation, and some clever, funny anecdotes, The Funniest Joke in the World is one to see. Don't go along expecting enlightenment on what the funniest joke really is, but go along for a night of good, clean, easy laughs.
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