Ben Pope: Holy Cow

Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

20/02/2024 - 21/02/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Ben Pope - writer and performer
Molly Stewart - director

Ben Pope (“a total delight” — Fest) is a UK comedian who is bored of small talk. So here it is! A stand-up show about The Big Stuff: God, death, love, the galaxy and, most of all, chocolate. What happens after you die? What’s God up to? Is love forever? Why do people like stargazing when it’s so desperately boring? Ben’s got some huge questions and the answers are, well, sublime.
As seen on Comedy Central, Dave and BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Time: 20th + 21st Feb @ 7.20pm
Place: The Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen Street, Te Aro
Ticket info: General Admission – $10, Fringe Addict – $8
Ticket link:

Ben’s website:

Stand-up comedy , Theatre , Solo ,


Technically excellent yet unexpected and very very funny

Review by Tara McEntee 21st Feb 2024

I saw Ben Pope’s show Baby Sasquatch in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018, and loved it, so when I see he is coming to New Zealand to take part in the New Zealand Fringe Festival, I am thrilled.

Ben Pope is very, very, very funny. It’s actually a bit unfair how funny he is. He’s charismatic, charming and magnetic. On a Tuesday night at Fringe Bar, a relative stranger to the New Zealand scene is eliciting sounds from my companion for the evening that frankly, I’ve never heard her make in our 15 years of friendship. He has the full audience hanging on his every word. Who is this guy!?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On paper, this is a stock standard stand-up show. A microphone, a stool, a beverage on stage (in a quintessentially English twist, this is indeed a real steaming cup of tea). However, Ben’s comedy is anything but stock standard.

The premise of the show is loosely centred around Ben’s many jobs that involved being in churches, specifically, as a singer and as a wedding staffer, among other roles. The anecdotes and tales are outrageous and shocking, and yet so familiar. Ben makes us feel like we’re all in on the joke; his style is enigmatic and warm. His turns of phrase leave both me and my companion with tears in our eyes.

At times, the content of the show might be seen as bleak; Ben self-depreciates frequently and despairs at the concept of “loving someone forever”. He questions the existence of God, the futility of the institution of matrimony and the never ending hell that is dating in your thirties. It should be depressing but it’s just so damn charming.

Ben consistently punches up; at no point in the show do I feel he shoots for cheap gags. Every hearty laugh is earned, at no expense to others; a bit of a rarity sometimes in the comedy scene. He’s also a master of the form; his ‘technical’ comedy is spot on.

As an academic, I can sometimes (infuriatingly) break down the pieces of a joke as they are being told and predict the punchline. A technical joke can elicit a monotone “that’s funny” from me when I see how it has been constructed. Ben’s comedy is technically excellent and yet unexpected; I’m left delighted and surprised at every punchline. He’s just very very funny. 

As we leave, even the bartender at Fringe Bar, a regular haunt for comedians, comments to us how funny she thinks the show was. For a seasoned veteran, this is high praise indeed. Ben has one more show in the Fringe Festival on 21 February; I highly recommend you go. He’s very, very funny.


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