Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

16/05/2015 - 16/05/2015

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015

Production Details

We all have different paths we could have travelled – Rhys Darby trained for the army; Dai Henwood used to DJ at weddings; and Guy Williams played basketball professionally… it was just lucky for us they all ended up in comedy.

Billy T Award Winners Rose Matafeo (Jono And Ben at Ten) and Rhys Mathewson (Best Bits) didn’t know stand-up was a career option before they did Class Comedians. So who’ll discover their talent for comedy this year?

After intensive training, this year’s talented students are ready to unleash their stand-up skills.

Sat 16 May, 3pm


Hannah Playhouse, Wellington


Adults $25.00
Conc. $15.00
* service fees may apply


0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Comedy ,

90 mins

Massive effort pays off

Review by Shannon Friday 17th May 2015

Class Comedians is a programme run by the Comedy Trust that encourages young comedians to develop their talents and skills.  Under the tutelage of James Nokise (who also hosts) and Anya Tate-Manning, eight young people have taken to the stage to try out their stuff – many of them performing for the first time.

Christian Shaw is up first, and it is his first time doing this whole stand-up gig.  His insights on Skyrim, flirting, and school discipline offer some lovely late re-incorporations.

Manaaki Graham starts his set with a critique of ‘Dad jokes’, first giving the audience one of his dad’s jokes, then upping the ante with riffs on the subject of the joke.  He has a wealth of family caricatures, and a great eye for character details and odd images. 

Theo Puglia is the most low-key presenter of the day, detailing his adventures in collecting while solving a Rubik’s cube while hardly looking at it – one of many he has stashed away, we’re told.  It’s impressive multi-tasking, though I’m a bit confused about what we’re meant to get from the RubiK’S cube aside from being fascinated by how quickly it is solved.

Kaisa Fa’atui talks about his Samoan family, comparing them to a bag of mixed lollies.  The delightful metaphor pales, however, in comparison to his physical comedy, as he literally bounces and dances across the stage as “Auntie Terminator 1000.”  There’s some work to be done on incorporating the two halves of the comedy – they’re a little disjointed at the moment – but it’s an impressive array of stunts. 

Emme McKay is the sole comedienne in the line-up, and reminds me of nothing so much as a teenage Amy Poehler.  Like Poehler, McKay absolutely nails it with her self-aware character comedy.  Her One Direction fangirl bounces between shouting madness and trying to calmly narrate her story in a twelve step programme. 

Shaq Kelly-Paki is an “Encyclopedia Bro-tannica” with a list of bros as long as a hearty bro’s McDonald’s order and a great eye for impressions.  His finale, bringing the bros together at a house party, is a great concept that I’d love to see go further.

Davis Pike has coined what might be my new favourite word for American expats: “Amerikwi.”  His opening remarks about what Kiwis think America is like hit the mark dead-on; I’m pretty sure I’ve also been asked every single one of those questions.  His material criticising the more annoying aspects of Kiwi culture causes some squirming in the audience, while Pike’s fake Kiwi accent is hilarious, and lets every Kiwi in the room know what it sounds like when they do an American accent. (Sorry, Kiwis, but it is true. Nine out of 10 of you cannot do American accents.) 

Ethan Malaeh brings what might be the most personal material of the day, coming out as gay within 15 seconds of taking the stage.  His personal stories about the ridiculous lengths he’ll go to in order to impress a guy are skilfully structured, with the payoff well-earned. 

Bringing this many new performers together has the potential to be quite painful – think of any mediocre dance school’s recital.  However, the mentors and performers have put in a massive effort, and it shows.  All the performers have made a good start at the craft of comedy; their joke writing and delivery is polished without being overly-rehearsed. 

Thinking of some of the other shows I’ve seen, I wish there was more concerted mentoring for early-career comedians.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council