Chris Brain is in ‘A Better Place’

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

05/05/2009 - 09/05/2009

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

19/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

New Zealand’s comedian’s comedian is staging his first ever solo show during this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival.  

Chris Brain, 2009 Billy T Award Nominee is in a "Better Place" after years of living on the fringes.

A natural born comedian, Chris has always been the dark horse of New Zealand comedy. The guy most likely to storm a gig and then inexplicably turn on the crowd. A favourite with fellow comedians, Chris decided that the time was right to perform his own show.

"I’ve always been my own worst enemy when it comes to performing, both loving and hating audiences who found me funny. I’ve always performed on my own terms which doesn’t make me family friendly, but I’ve also been doing this for a few years now and this show is the culmination of my experience."

Having suffered from depression since his teens, writing and performing comedy has for Chris, been both his saviour and his cross to bear.

"A Better Place" follows Chris’s darkly comic journey through gambling, drinking, religion, drugs and even going to the gym in order to be normal.

What he came to realise was that there is no such thing as normal. Depression didn’t colour his view on life, it magnified Chris’s unique and hilarious take on the human condition. And even during all night cocaine binges in London Chris was able to see the funny side.

As a seasoned comedian Chris is aiming to perform a show which takes his audience on a journey with comedic moments that will make them laugh, cry and hopefully think.

It has taken 10 years for Chris to finally feel he has experienced enough life to best communicate his ideas to an audience.

It will be well worth the wait.

Dates:  Tues 5th May-Sat 9th May, 7.00pm
Venue:  The Fringe Bar, Cuba St
Tickets:  $20.00 0r $16.00 concession 
Bookings:  Ticketek: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) 

Dates:  Mon 18 May – Sat 23 May, 8.45pm
Venue:  The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St
Tickets:  $22.00 or $18 concession
Bookings:  Ticketek: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)

55 mins, no interval

True tales of hardship made bloody funny

Review by Nik Smythe 19th May 2009

Chris Brain, scruffy bearded local comic, kicks off the classically lo-fi production with some friendly reassurance that he’s not one of those pick-on-the-audience type comics – "Well, I am but this isn’t that kind of show."

The subject matter is courageous, both in terms of comedy material and the personal demons he is confronting to bring it to the stage for our entertainment. It’s potentially awkward playing to a diminutive fifteen strong crowd such as this opening Monday night, but we’re soon relaxed and laughing.

In his pleasantly impudent manner, Chris spins many an interesting yarn about his underprivileged life; growing up in white-trash Christchurch, moving to the altogether whiter city of Brisbane when he was twelve, waking up one day at twenty with a dead end job and a girlfriend he didn’t like… and so on. 

On paper it’s a fairly bleak life story mainly made exciting by various substance indulgences – examples of Brain’s prowess as a "gifted self-medicator".  The engaging aspect is in his frankness and willingness to share… and of course his quietly wry turns of ironic observation and rug-pulling one-liners.

As a comedy show with a message, Brain pitches the levels very well; not excessively self-indulgent, whilst not trivializing the reality of mental illness.  We may be sympathetic, even empathetic to Brain’s tales of hardship, but the laughs are not from pity, they’re because he’s bloody funny.

A Better Place comes to the Comedy Festival with help from the Mind and Body Consultants Ltd RETHiNK Grants, an organisation supporting initiatives that encourage people to rethink their attitudes towards ‘mental illness’, as outlined at   
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. 


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