Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

01/05/2009 - 01/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala ®  


The night that always launches a thousand laughs comes to the ASB Theatre on May 1 when the Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala® hits town with an explosion of high-impact international and local hilarity. The event, which has sold out for three years running, kick starts three mad weeks of merriment by showcasing the very best acts performing at the 2009 NZ International Comedy Festival.

Wayne Brady, fresh from hosting the preshow at this years’ Grammy Awards, is the 2009 Crunchie Comedy Gala® host. A singing and dancing stand-up comedy machine, Brady won an Emmy in 2003 for his performances on Who’s Line Is It Anyway? His versatility will sure come in handy in dealing with the eclectic and excellent three hour line-up.

Filmed live for television and watched by hundreds of thousands on TV2, the rapid-fire Gala supplies a sneak peek of what’s on offer this festival season, including:

·         The Australian Kransky Sisters, described by the Listener‘s Diana Wichtel as "spooky Frankenspinsters who cover Michael Jackson to the accompaniment of a saw and a toilet brush".

·         Danny Bhoy ("Scotland’s next comedy megastar" –Daily Mail), Welshman Mark Watson ("Class act" –Telegraph) and Irish lad Ed Byrne ("There is no escaping Byrne’s skill as a performer "-Guardian) provide a British Isles contingent.

·         And with no need for references, manic ginger Te Radar and the ostensibly American country-singing Wilson Dixon round out the event with local flavor.

With flashes of genius that will light up the night sky and an impact that will leave punters reeling for more, this years’ Gala will break new ground and leave a stupendous crater of comedy.

Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala® plays at the ASB Theatre, THE EDGE®
Friday 1 May, 8pm.
Tickets: $52.50 – $79.50 plus booking fees

Book now at THE EDGE® 0800 BUYTICKETS
Show Duration: 3hours.
Screening on TV2 Wednesday May 6 and Friday May 8 at 9:30pm

3 hrs, incl. interval

Women get the last laugh in comedy gala's opening lines

Review by Russell Baillie 26th Apr 2010

As always, the first joke of the night in this opening barrage of the Auckland International Comedy Festival was the stage. They had gone with a Cuban theme with a banner "Viva Comedy!" above a street scene of distressed post-Castro chic which may have tempted a lesser comedian to ask: "Are we Havana good time?"

No one inquired. Mostly we did. But with 25 acts, it sure felt long and with a distinct sense of deja vu. But if we were to stretch the set’s metaphor to breaking point, it could be said that our own comedians are living in post-revolutionary times. [More]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

The launch of another fantastic three weeks of laughs

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 26th Apr 2010

26 comedy acts – each one gives their all, delivers laughs and each one deserves a healthy audience at their festival shows over the next three weeks. Congratulations all.
Shame about the rude members of the Gala audience, in particular the woman in the second row who was so drunk, she fell asleep. Twice. Sure, she gave Rove unlimited mileage for laughs, but is it too much to ask for an audience to treat a Gala like a show rather than Friday night drinks? I gave up counting how many people in the ASB Theatre stalls got up to – I assume – go to the loo; there can’t be that many doctors on call. I got to 70. What is wrong with these people? I’m embarrassed.
OK. On.
Viva La Rove – lovable accessible wacky happy Rove. Our MC for the night, he is a tad formal in the first link but after that, he greets us like long lost friends. Nothing’s changed since the last time he visited it seems – he’s still in love with Campbell and wary of Corbett. Rove must be the warmest most generous host the Gala performers and producers have ever experienced: A mark not only of a true professional, but a genuinely nice guy.
Thankfully, Rove is given lots time and opportunity to perform his own material as well as play host. His whinge about nick names for nicknames; the Twilight books he’s been reading in his spare time (damn those Network Execs) and sexy porn music are but some of many highlights. But his merciless revenge on first, the man in the white shirt who got up to pee, and second, that awful snoring drunk, are priceless. Please come back Rove.
As for the 25 acts he warmly introduces, this Gala feels like one of the best. Acts are consistently entertaining and the vast majority have their own strong perspective and style. Material wise, the mix is great, with expected thoughts on that volcano which dare not speak its name, as well as some astute twists on wide issues such as obesity, whales, being green and living in a PC world. Others are happy to share irreverent experiences and observations.
The great news for ticket purchasers trying to decide which act to follow is that it’s all good.
A huge hit last year, Jandal-loving Australian Wil Anderson returns and gives a sarcastic slant on the tendency of everyone wanting to sue everyone for everything. He has a wealth of perky original material, which includes a passionate defence of the cookie monster; plus thoughts on gay rights, the bible and his favourite reality TV show.
2010 is Ireland’s Jarlath Regan’s NZ premiere. In his allocated time, he talks casually with hecklers up the front and comes across as a charming lovely young man. While his “dancing with shoes” routine is great fun, the top of his routine seems very familiar – I’ve heard the goat variation of that joke many times.
OMG, come on Irene! While she’s looking hot after losing 30kg, Irene Pink hasn’t lost an ounce of her comedy bite. Like many Gala performers, she finds rich comedy commentating on obesity issues, but also takes the opportunity to bring Rugby League’s latest team from the Hall of Shame down to size.
Perennial favourite, Westy and wannabe Super-Mayor Ewen Gilmour delivers his trademark growly funny stuff and gets the audience’s comedy vote with ease. Good ole Ewen has given up smoking, and while his masturbation jokes fall a little flat, his patch routine is a winner.
Avenue Q is a hit Broadway show referred to as Sesame Street meets South Park. However it’s labelled, it’s brilliant. OK, it does take a few minutes to “get it” when the little guys start singing and carrying on, but Trekkie Monster is so cute, he had me at “Ralph” (his nickname for Rove).  
Jarred Christmas is one confident Kiwi. He’s up front and shoots from the hip. He’s having so much fun that he doesn’t think twice about taking a premise (and a pregnant pause) to an extreme. Good on him. Brilliant jabs at the naming of our national soccer team and the London Zoo thrown in too.
Ah Mike King – welcome home. So good to see and hear him back at his best. The return of our Mike’s edgy frank and fearless perspective could not have been better timed. Look out Gen Y.
Award winning Australian comedienne Felicity Ward looks so sweet in her 50s frock, but do not be fooled – this sharp wit of a woman knows what she wants. Oozing droll confidence, it’s easy to see why she’s enjoyed sell out seasons.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t quite know what to make of Canadian Phil Nichol AKA Bobby Spade’s appearance. Performing short energetic songs alongside two obedient musicians, he is very loud, fast, upbeat, out there and I suspect, funny. Regrettably I couldn’t hear a lot of his lyrics or links. Perhaps he felt rushed by the Gala’s time restraints. However, judging from the press material, if you spent an hour at his show, you would be fully engaged and entertained.
Smiley Kiwi lad Simon McKinney entertains with his lovable believable mix of stories, character and accents. It is so easy to slip into his world. As Simon shares his observations, I could absolutely see those pompous superior business men ordering their chippies, just as easily as I could see those wasted Kindy kids on their Tonka toys. iCal note, must book tickets.
England’s Josie Long is delightful and odd. In her own low-key unique style, she fits two very obtuse short plays, a piece of news and a Christmas tip very successfully into her short time slot.
Clever Steve Wrigley is in devastating comedy form and I laughed loudly. He takes on the Hawkes Bay, Moko the Dolphin, the Brand Managers responsible for the NZ Navy’s logo; plus the NZ dairy and beef Industries. Steak and cheese pies and a glass of milk will never be the same.
Englishman Terry Alderton is so absorbing that you might just forget to breathe. He’s a lovely, well-spoken polite man…. until he turns his back on you. Utterly brilliant and completely mental – each split personality is side-splittingly funny.
Britain’s Carey Marx is back! Fabulous. He sold out last year and after his all too short routine, it’s easy to see why. Understated but blisteringly clever, he shares dry observations about hotel room windows, religion, evolution and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Smoothe Ben Hurley is charming and very funny. He finds great humour in everything and is not afraid to tackle dodgy territory occasionally. He muses on many things including that volcano, name-calling etiquette, saving the whales and citizen’s arrests.
Ireland’s Maeve Higgins looks ill at ease, but listen in, and her geeky material is very entertaining. Though one of the dangers for a low energy quietly confident performer is that it’s easy to miss crucial lines in a large venue like the ASB Theatre.
Chris Brain’s well-performed routine touches on cerebral matters, posing a few issues for consideration as well as punch lines for the thinking man/woman.
UK’s chatty trickster Chris Cox is eminently watchable and perplexing. Like Rove, we are left thinking – “How does he do it”? Go to his show and see if you can figure it out.
Excellent – comedy master Jeremy Corbett is back. Looking completely relaxed (he’s unshaven and really let himself go) he has an enormous amount of fun exposing women’s deceptive beauty and body tricks.
Hannah Gadsby from Tasmania gets great comic mileage talking about exercise, her childbearing hips and being accident-prone. While she’s very entertaining, for me, the self-deprecation did wear a bit thin towards the end.
Jeremy Elwood has a great night talking about pirates, evolving whales, letters to the editor, anti Semitism, emus vs. sheep…. But it’s his fantastic digs at Telecom’s XT Network that gets the biggest laughs.
The return of Wilson Dixon is met with huge applause, and once again, the laid back cowboy is in fine fettle. As he plucks away at that ole familiar two-note underlay, he slides in a brilliant quip at the expense of the Festival’s Havana inspired set design, followed by an equally funny remark about how impressed he is that NZ road-markers give our blind folk such a fair go. Finishing of course with one of his trademark songs, “The Mirror” is a beauty.
Dai Henwood embraces being post-30 and hairy at the top of his routine, and then tells nostalgic tales of schoolboy antics. He may have been trying out new material, as he seems to be feeling his way once or twice, plus his routine lacks his normal punchy end. But as always, he is energised and enjoyable to watch and listen to.
Heath Franklin’s Chopper is hilarious and makes the most out of appearing late in the evening. Character based comedians run the risk of appearing “one-note” content wise, but Franklin’s routine is full of variety and hugely enjoyable. Anyone who mocks Zumba is a hero for a start.
Much loved Jimeoin is the Gala’s final act. The master of extracting big laughs from tiny observations, cheeky Jimeoin starts to chat about smells. 30 seconds later my face aches, my stomach hurts, I can’t breathe and tears are rolling down my cheeks. iCal note, must book tickets.

Congratulations to the Festival team – another hugely enjoyable night of comedy to launch what looks to be another fantastic three weeks of laughs.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

From brilliantly topical to wildly different

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 03rd May 2009

The 2009 NZ International Comedy Festival’s 24 Gala acts and comedians deliver a lively capacity crowd the full range of comic experiences, from side-splitting brilliance to a bizarre unfathomable calamity, with many reasonably good routines in between.

Hosted by Emmy Awards winner Wayne Brady, star of America’s Who Line Is it Anyway?, the evening’s tone is different from previous years. Slick, warm and heavily reliant on an auto-cue, Brady’s style is more personable TV game show host than witty master of ceremonies. However, Brady’s trademark rap-improv is a crowd pleaser, as "Ross the builder" from the front row gets an impressive beat-box freestyle hip-hop number all about him, made up on the fly.

After selling out 2 years in a row, it’s easy to see why the Gala’s first guest comedian, UK’s Mark Watson, is back here for his 3rd Festival. Like many during the evening, he gives the media’s obsession with swine flu the treatment it deserves. The cheerful boy of British comedy and champion of the underdog also chats about trying to live in an over-hyped world, our appalling accent, and then closes with a brilliant piss-take of the most irrelevant of all musicals, Cats.

Next is the first of 3 stand up comediennes from abroad. Out strides Australia’s seriously suited Hannah Gadsby, who opens with the brave line: "I’m not very good at life". An assured performer, she moves through her routine on self depreciation, speech impediments, child bearing hips and speed dating from a lesbian’s perspective with poker-faced confidence, as well as delivering the evening’s best come-back after a cheerful heckle.

Ireland’s Maeve Higgins’ style is the antithesis. Behind her sweet demeanour and attempts to distract with pretty accessories, is a witty mind that turns the bizarre little things in life into excellent comedy. She scuttles off stage leaving the crowd wanting more.

Seasoned and celebrated Scottish comedienne Janey Godley returns to our Festival with more straight shooting sharp wit and wastes no time making fine comedy out of married life, how to parent your kids when they won’t leave home and of course Scotland’s latest sensation, Susan Boyle.

With their trademark tuba, singing saw and uptight strangulated vowels sounds, Australia’s number one gothic musical trio, the deliciously dysfunctional Kransky Sisters, silently creep on stage.  We get a taste of their brand new show with a Bees Gees medley, which is anything but meaningless songs sung in very high voices. Brilliant.

Throughout the night, each of the Gala’s international stand up comedians, deliver sensational highlights. Jason Cook from the UK opens by taking full advantage of the fact that he looks like Helen Clark’s love child, and then delivers a devastatingly funny tale about how he has fine-tuned the art of making inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. 

Australia’s Wil Anderson is a must-see talented comedian full of upbeat humour, as is the irrepressibly lovely little guy from Ireland, back in NZ by popular demand, Ed Byrne.

Carey Marx looks like a cross between a gleeful businessman and a naughty little boy and sounds like he’s half pissed. He launches into obscure tales of bread, mice and kittens; receding hairlines and ‘doodle-proof faces’. Would-be forbidden topics such as discussing ‘bum-sex’ with his Christian friends should be offensive, but far from it: his delivery reveals a sharp cerebral wit. 

Also giving the impression he is in an altered state is Canada’s aloof Glenn Wool. Looking tougher than Wolf West his slurry rant about Somali pirates’ unimaginative dress-sense; how deeply unaffected he is by the financial crisis and how little he cares about the environmental crisis ruining the weather for the little children, is a huge hit with the audience.

Scottish heart-throb Danny Bhoy effortlessly proves his global acclaim is totally deserved after giving the credit crunch hysteria, pigs, Australian hospitality, geckos, tight Motel sheets and the Gala’s futuristic stage design of fluoro-tube towers and plasma, a thorough comic work out.

But the absolute hit of the night is ex-Dunedin boy (now residing in Australia) Jesse Griffin, whose alter ego is Wilson Dixon, a laid back southern man full of quirky observations. He brings the house down with his thigh slapping song "Life, It’s All About Life". Go seek his show.

The NZ acts are many and varied in terms of quality.  Stand up comedians Simon McKinney, Dai Henwood, James Nokise, Ben Hurley, Te Radar, Benjamin Crellin, Steve Wrigley, Paul Ego, and Andrew Clay, all give solid performances.

McKinney’s at home with impersonations and his Sylvester Stallone gives him an excellent close; Nokise’s description of rapper Savage is priceless and Henwood’s damming of eco-politics delivers a huge laugh.

Crellin’s humour is dark and smashes through the usual ‘no-go zones’ of stand up. Leave your sacred cows at the door if you choose his show this festival.

Te Radar’s gripping yarn about hunting with Glen Osborne and getting stuck inside a dead pig is visually funny.

Hurley and Wrigley are both self-assured comedians with interesting material but unfortunately their Gala performances are slightly low on strong punch lines. Experienced comedians Ego and Clay, are again at ease in the limelight, yet surprisingly their routines also suffer from the lack of big laughs.

Two local acts didn’t fully fire. First, The Improv Bandits, whose "poem translation" is only saved by Brady’s, cameo appearance as a sign language interpreter at the end.

Second, the cast of We Are Currently Experiencing Some Issues have the dubious honour of leaving 2000 people stunned and virtually silent after performing a weird skit involving all of them dressed in full mask & body animal costumes, roller-skating across stage while trying to perform party tricks, and being introduced by a series of stuffed animals stuck to roll-on plinths. Top marks for attempting something wildly different… I just don’t think anyone understood what that something was. No doubt by their opening night on May 12th all will be apparent.

PS: Special thanks to the little men in their little tin cars who whizzed around the ASB Theatre foyer giving out Crunchies, freebees and good humour. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.



Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council