Ben Hurley: Boom

The Classic Studio, Auckland

19/04/2008 - 03/05/2008

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

06/05/2008 - 10/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


His latest victory has seen him confirmed to support popular Irish comedian, ED BYRNE, on a 3 month National Tour of the UK kicking off in September 2008. BYRNE has toured to New Zealand 5 times where he has been warmly received by local audiences and local comedians. He has always been impressed with local talent and is pleased to be able to repay the compliment by offering HURLEY this excellent platform upon which to build his profile in the U.K.

Likewise English comedian Andy Parsons, also no stranger to New Zealand comedy audiences, asked Hurley to co-star on a BBC Radio serial produced in 2007.

In last years New Zealand International Comedy Festival HURLEY performed alongside fellow international guests in "The Big Show" in Auckland.

Now in to his 3rd year in the UK, the 2004 Billy T Comedy Award winner has built an impressive CV with gigs not only in the UK but also Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Bahrain, Dubai and Singapore. He also enjoyed featuring in the comedy tent at the famous Reading and Leeds Festivals.

BEN HURLEY is only the second New Zealand act to be invited to perform on the ComedyStore UK TV show.

Dates: April 19th – May 3rd, 8:45pm (no shows Sunday)
Venue: The CLASSIC Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, Auckland
Tickets: Adults $23, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $19

Dates: May 6th – 10th, 7pm
Venue: San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba Street
Tickets: Adults $20, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $16

Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration: 1 hour

1 hr, no interval

Smooth raconteur and inter-actor

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 21st Apr 2008

Ben Hurley’s show Boom! is an intriguing night out. In my experience most stand ups deliver their best when performing prepared material and any interaction with the audience on the night is a bonus if it goes well. Not so Hurley. On his opening night, he consistently gets his biggest laughs and delivers his most rewarding and original material, from chatting away to members of the audience.

The venue, The Classic’s cute little Studio, up a scary flight of stairs not advisable to anyone suffering from vertigo, is the perfect space to enjoy Hurley’s hospitality. With its 50 or so capacity, massive 7-lamp lighting rig and small team of workers, The Studio is a casual yet friendly experience – rather like Ben himself. It’s a little weird seeing and hearing him produce his own voice over introduction, but that’s all part of the evening’s charm.

Hurley starts with some hard-hitting c***, f*** and a bloke-ish persona, which feels like a generic "don’t mess with me" opening, and got a muted response. However, as Hurley settles in, settles down, and spends the first part of the night interacting with the audience, it becomes abundantly clear why this guy has done so well in the UK.

He’s welcoming, assuring us he’s not going to abuse his audience… consider it more like a "verbal slap on the back of the head", he suggests. But throughout the opening night, members of the audience are forthcoming, as Hurley avoids the usual standard put downs, but rather enjoys the information given to him. He is genuinely interested in hearing people’s stories.

Leighton from Christchurch, who is studying property at Lincoln, gets amusing wardrobe and study tips from Hurley, before he moves on to the brave bloke sitting on his own at the front – a physics student called Dave.

Hurley has the ability to expose just enough healthy self-deprecation and honesty to make him accessible to his crowd. So when he admits he knows little about Dave’s world, he asks him, "What’s your favourite equation?" It leads on to an interesting dialogue rather than a dead-end.

Hurley also chats to Bruce the engineer and a scary woman who announced proudly she was from "H-Town" (Hamilton), who was all too eager to share her life story with us. Throughout all, Hurley’s responses are slick, as he weaves humour into each conversation.

As Hurley moves onto his actual routine, starting with "Kiwis are the Irish of the Pacific", a member of the audience yells out a bizarre Tourette’s-Syndrome-like-heckle: "potato". This leads Hurley off track and into more entertaining audience interaction.

Hurley’s personal stories, including adolescent moments about horses, gays and choice; growing up without much sophistication on the West Coast of the North Island; moving to Auckland aged 18 and ending up "hi5-ing" a transvestite in a K Road toilet (a stand out moment); his descriptions of The Beastie Boys and the Aotea All Stars; and his take on the moods of women and why they are such complex creatures are all as inventive as they are amusing.

His audience, myself included, doesn’t seem that fussed or entertained by his less offbeat material such as legalising prostitution, and fanny farts.

But throughout the night, Hurley looks relaxed, perched on a stool for most of the show. Like a seasoned raconteur, he is comfortable with quiet moments, awkward pauses after hecklers go a bit far, and even obscure jokes that fail. He happily embraces each and almost "workshops" the experience with his relaxed audience. Very smooth.


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