ART by Funny People

Thistle Hall, Cnr Cuba & Arthur Streets, Wellington

07/05/2013 - 11/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

A cheeky assemblage of artistic works by comedians in the 2013 New Zealand International Comedy Festival. 

Thistle Hall Art Gallery hosts an exhibition showcasing the artistic talents of some of the performers in this year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival from May 7 – 11.  Titled ‘ART by Funny People’ the exhibit will show the world as perceived by comedians through a variety of mediums from manga sketches, to portrait photography to interactive pieces.  

At 6pm each night (from 7 May) the gallery turns into a performance venue with a half hour show featuring artists from the exhibit, with a different line-up every evening. This is definitely a time when giggling in the gallery is encouraged. 

Comedy is naturally a creative process and each comedian has a unique style and point of view on the world. Find out a little more about the person behind the microphone and see where else their mind takes them. 

Works will be displayed from Alexander Sparrow, Ali Little, Brad Zimmerman, Hilaire Carmody, Jen O’Sullivan, Jez Brown, Julia Holden and Sanjay Parbhu. 

Entry to both the evening shows and the daily exhibit is free. 

Dates:  Tues 7 – Sat 11 May Exhibit 11am – 6pm, Show 6pm – 6.30pm 
Opening:  Monday 6th May 6pm – Performance from 7th May 6pm
Venue:  Thistle Hall 293 Cuba St Wellington 
Tickets:  Free

Draw your own conclusions

Review by Hannah Smith 08th May 2013

Art by Funny People is something a bit different in the comedy festival: a gallery display of art works by comedians (or at least those affiliated with the world of comedy) with a nightly half hour performance by some of the comedic artists involved. 

It’s a novelty concept, and one which appeals to me.  The art displays a wide variety of styles and talents, some very successful, others appearing slapped together for the purpose of inclusion in this event.

It is an exciting opportunity to see Jon Coddington’s Puppet Fiction marionettes up close. Brad Zimmerman has included a rather good nude from a brief stint at design school. Mary Laine’s puppets are my personal favourite: creepy and charming, their distorted faces and elongated limbs are more whimsical than funny, but that only adds to their character.  Ali Little’s masks have a distinct palette and style, and a pleasing interactive display.  They ask to be used. 

Aside from the masks – and on Tuesday night no one seemed brave enough to actually put a mask on and have a tactile experience – the exhibit does not really find a connection between the visual arts and live performance.

I hope for a chance to see how working as artists informed the work of the comedians, be it in process, style or content, but the performances seem more like a prospect for getting exposure for the other comedy shows of those involved, and an opportunity to give some untried material – or inexperienced comics – some stage time. 

These are not bad things, but not as interesting as what I’d imagined.  However, the line-up changes every night, and both the exhibition, and the performances are free, so head down and draw your own conclusions (pun).


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