Andy Clay’s Book of Love

Hamilton gardens, Victorian Garden Conservatory, Hamilton

19/02/2014 - 21/02/2014

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

27/04/2013 - 04/05/2013

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

19/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2014

Production Details

The show you’ve all been waiting for – is probably booked out by now, so come see this. 

The world is in an economic recession, the environment is under threat, there continues to be conflicts all through the Middle East; so Andrew Clay, a comedian into his 20th year of performing decided to face these issues head on – and ignore them. 

Instead he’s tackling the most perplexing topic of all… Well not exactly love, more the things that get in the way of love, the things that cloud love or get mistaken for it. 

And he won’t be alone. He’ll have 4 other top actors with him to perform a range of mini-scenes to illuminate his points. 

And what qualifications does Andrew have to speak on such topics? Well none. Andrew freely admits that he offers opinions and philosophies not facts – and he knows as an absolute certainty absolutely nothing, but at least he knows he knows nothing, which is something….. if you follow. 

For the last 20 odd years, he’s watched, listened to and experienced plenty. He’ll offer you his theories on how to meet someone at a bar and who not to approach, one night stand etiquette, booty call etiquette, how to tell if they’re mental, when to do nice things for her, honesty, how to avoid answering questions, when to lose an argument, when to edit, how to tell when it’s over, how to get over someone and when to say “I love you.” 

“Andy Clay’s Book of Love” is all you need to know about love from someone that doesn’t have a clue. 

Dates:  Tues 19 – Sat 23 May, 7pm
Venue:  Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE, City
Tickets:  Adults $25 / Conc. $20 / Groups 10+ $22.50 
Bookings:  0800 BUYTICKETS (0800 289 842) 

Andy Clay’s Book of Love was one of the hits of the 2009 NZ International Comedy Festival. I’m not just saying that, other people said it too. 

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival

Dates: Sat 27th April, Tue 30April – Sat 4 May, 8.45pm
Venue: The Loft, Q Theatre, Queen Street, CBD
Tickets:  $20 – $25 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 09 3099771

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to  

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2014

When:  Wednesday 19 & Thursday 20 February 2014 @ 9:00pm
Friday, 21 February 2014 @ 9:30pm 
Where:  Victorian Garden Conservatory 
Tickets:  $25  
Genre:  Comedy 
Duration:  65

Andy Clay, with:
Dane Dawson
Harry McNaughton
Michael Saccente
Fleur Saville

Theatre , Comedy ,

1hr 5mins

The mysteries and madness of the human condition

Review by Gail Pittaway 22nd Feb 2014

Andy Clay is an Auckland based stand-up comedian who takes on relationships, the stock routine of comedy, and presents them in a new way, as host of a panel of experts. By the end of the show it’s clear none of the experts has a clue and neither does Andy but then neither does the audience yet we all go out feeling better about our collective ignorance after a good old laugh.

Optimistically titled a Book of Love, the show is divided into 10 ‘chapters’, announced, we are told, by the voice of New Zealand comic queen Michele A’Court.

From the start it’s clear we’re in for some pretty standard male heterosexual stereotypes, especially when three of the panellists are chaps and the chapter headings are as predictable as: ‘How to meet someone at a bar’, ‘One night stand etiquette’, ‘How to tell if it’s a booty call’, ‘When to lose an argument’.  But then we get onto ‘How to tell if she’s mental’ and by this time the format of having the cast act out little scenes in illustration are getting faster and funnier.  

The three supporting male actors range in age and stereotype from Dane Dawson playing the dumb bloke, Dane; Damien Avery as a slightly smoother, more mature guy called, coincidentally, Damien; Michael Saccente, cast as the endearing, older but still no wiser fall guy, Mike.

As the only woman performer, Rachel Blompeid more than makes up for this imbalance by giving us a take on the many roles of women from kitten to wild cat in the short scenes. She does a standout job of taking them all on including the voluble and occasionally hysterical host, Andy himself.  

While it’s pitched at a 20s to 40s age group and makes cruel jokes at the expense of the 50-plus Mike, the cruellest lines are delivered by Dane, the young jock who is commitment phobic and homophobic and alarmingly convincing. In fact, Mike often gets a sympathetic sigh from the audience for his life’s tragedies, while Dane gets groans of incredulity. Damien-in–the-middle is almost everybody’s favourite, until he boasts about how much he loves his own butt.

While the content doesn’t deviate much from the stock routine about meet-ups, pick–ups and toss-ups, and doesn’t throw up many new insights, the brisk pace, convincing characterisation and strong structure make it a very funny night out, even for someone way past 50 who is happily married.

After all, the human condition continues to entertain, in all its mysteries and madness. 


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A novel comedy

Review by Matt Baker 03rd May 2013

Four years after being nominated for Best Show in the NZ International Comedy Festival, Andy Clay’s Book of Love returns for its second season. Presented not as a one-man reading, but more of a self-help seminar, the show is broken into ten chapters, with Clay enthusiastically rattling off a great variety of hilarious observations and one-liners. Although said enthusiasm resulted in him speeding through and tripping over some lines, none were lost, and, more importantly, his exaggerated persona came across.

Aiding Clay is a panel of four actors; Dane Dawson, Damien Avery, Shavaughn Ruakere, and Michael Saccente. Dawson represents the typical early 20s Kiwi bloke and absolutely nails his throw away comments with the nonchalant macho arrogance of a popped collar meathead. Saccente is perfectly pathetic as a quinquagenarian divorcee, and garners an equal amount of empathetic aww-ing and belly laughs from the audience. Avery sits more or less in the middle, far more confident than Saccente’s character, but only slightly less arrogant than Dawson’s. Ruakere covers the female roles, with a few great self-referential jokes which are peppered nicely throughout the script. [More]


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Hitting the spot

Review by Candice Lewis 28th Apr 2013

It’s more packed than jam in the city tonight and the Comedy Festival buzz feels like hundreds of happy healthy flies have come out to enjoy the party. Nicely dressed flies of course, and very clean. 

Mum asks me if this is Andrew Dice Clay. Google images of that if you want a laugh, but no, it’s not. Dice Clay is an American comic who wears big chains around his neck. The New Zealand Clay wears a suit jacket and looks like he might be into spray tanning.

I’m imagining that our Clay is going to play up the image of an aging Lothario, that he’ll be a predictable blend of charm and sleaze. When he takes the stage he’s vibrating with nervous energy, words fighting to escape his mouth, but yes, the expected showmanship is there. Instead of the usual stand-up routine, he introduces us to the cast illustrating his advice on lust and love. There is an awkward stiffness at the start of the show, but this soon melts away on the generous lubrication of laughter provided by the audience.

As Clay uses the actors to show us various scenarios and their outcomes, I find myself laughing often and wanting to ‘talk back’ to the characters. There may not be anything in the show you don’t already know, but this is entertainment and it’s hitting the spot.

Dane Dawson represents the ‘young Kiwi bloke’ (monosyllabic and sexist), Damien Avery is the ‘metrosexual’ (vain, hot, but has a brain), and Michael Saccente is the ‘sensitive older man’ (kind but depressed). Shavaughn Ruakere  plays any of the women required. I don’t watch TV, but even I know who she is (plus she tells us she’s on Shortland Street, so I’m nicely updated now). Her warmth and comic timing are a real asset to the show, and as Andy introduces different scenarios I find that I am a little in love with every single one of them (except Andy).

I particularly like Andy’s advice on safe sex:  “Always use protection. You don’t want to end up with something nasty …” and then a pause before quietly delivering the punchline: “like a baby”. 

I felt sorry for any ginger (tribe of Ginga) boys when Ruakere pretends to have a flashback of a horrible one night stand (ginger pubes). Oh come on. Everyone knows that Gingas are firecrackers in bed. Okay, I haven’t slept with one myself, but being of the auburn persuasion I feel the need to defend my tribe.

Dawson’s character becomes funnier and funnier as the show progresses, and despite his arrogant, stupid persona, there is still something quite sweet about him. Avery is, of course, sexy and adorable. During an internal monologue he ponders his own hotness and that he might be getting a hard-on thinking about himself. I’d wager that pretending isn’t necessary.

Saccente is lumbered with the ‘old guy’ tag, and all his sense and sensitivity is routinely shot down by Dawson and Avery. Playing it low key and exuding sorrow, he routinely elicits ‘Awwww’ from the audience.  

At first I thought I didn’t learn anything, but I stand corrected. I did find out that I’m mental. Fortunately I’m ‘happy fun mental’. If you want to know which camp you fall into, best get along. This might not be edgy, filthy or crazy comedy, but it really is entertaining and I laughed more than twenty times (yes, I lost count).

If each good laugh cost about a dollar, then that means you are sure to get your money’s worth. Keep writing the book Andy. Every day.


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Oh-so real scenes strike chords

Review by Joanna Davies 20th May 2009

Love, romance and lust are safe topics for comedy; if you poke fun at the opposite sex you’re guaranteed a laugh from half the audience at least. It’s almost cheating. But there’s no cheating here because Andy Clay’s Book of Love makes the gender in question laugh at themselves.

The show is part routine, part scenes and part discussion. It’s a bit like an advice-style talk show with ‘crime scene’ re-enactments (and some of the hook-up attempts could be classed as crimes). 

Clay has enlisted the help of some fine talent to illustrate his points. He’s joined on stage by Dane Dawson, playing your typical 20-something single bloke who’s out for a good time – especially if it involves having his ‘ego’ stoked. He really doesn’t have a clue about women and needs plenty of guidance.

Then there’s Harry McNaughton playing Harry, another 20-something singleton with a lot more maturity and experience dealing with the fairer sex. And the final male character is Mike, played by Michael Saccente. Mike’s in his 40s, divorced, deluded, dreamy and, frankly, a tad desperate.

There to lend a woman’s view (and to learn a few things about these male creatures) is Fleur Saville’s Susan. Susan is also in her 20s, she’s been hurt, she’s grown a thick skin and she has a fair amount of confidence when it comes to men. She thinks she’s low maintenance, but that’s up for debate.

A lot of things are up for debate throughout the show. How should you behave on, during or after one-night stand? How can you tell if she’s mental? (Interestingly how to tell if he’s mental wasn’t up for discussion so I assume it’s obvious.) How to navigate the booty call quagmire and when to lose an argument. And all men should go just to learn what women really want.

This show is funny because the material and situations are oh-so real. They were greeted by the audience with almost religious cries of "Amen to that" and "hell, yeah" as scenes struck a chord. We laughed because we’ve all been there. We laughed because we know that’s what the opposite sex thinks but we can’t for the life of us figure out why, and we laughed at ourselves.

The cast is fantastic and very laid-back which makes the whole experience all the more fun. Andy himself is at his best when he mocks himself and shares knowing looks with the audience and the venue creates a great sense of intimacy. He did seem a little nervous though (although it was opening night).

My advice is straight from the bedroom: relax a little, don’t rush things and the experience will be even more pleasurable.
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