Crunchie® Comedy Gala

St James, 44 Lorne Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

04/05/2007 - 04/05/2007

Production Details

Hosted by Ardal O'Hanlon

The Hollywood event of NZ comedy returns to the stage and small screen for the 15th annual Crunchie Comedy Gala on Friday the 4th of May. Despite the gowns and glamour this popular Festival Event will abound with the best thigh slapping and side splitting humour from the international and local comedy scene.

Filmed live for TV, this fast paced 2 hour extravaganza showcases the very best of the comedy that will have NZ in stitches for the 3 weeks of madness to follow for the 2007 NZ International Comedy Festival.

Hosted by Irish Comedy Legend, Ardal O’Hanlon, star of the hit TV show “Father Ted”, the Gala features the comedy crème de la crème including Ed Byrne (IRE), Carl Barron (AUS), Dai Henwood (NZ), Rich Hall (USA), Ewen Gilmour (NZ) and Phil Nichol (CAN). The groupies, celebs and fans of comedy are sure to be out in force for the stunning line-up of over 20 comedians in the 2007 Crunchie Comedy Gala.

Last year the Comedy Gala was a sellout event and the fastest selling event in the history of the Festival. With yet another hilarious and star studded line up, the 2007 Crunchie Comedy Gala promises to be the most sensational start to 3 weeks of outstanding comedy.

The Crunchie Comedy Gala plays on TV2 on Wed 9 and Fri 11 May at 9.30pm

St. James Theatre, 312 Queen Street, City
Friday 4 May, 7.30pm
Cabaret – $65/ Table of 6 $390 + booking fees
A Res – $61.50 + booking fees
B Res – $58.50 + booking fees
B Res Concession – $56.50 + booking fees 

Book through TicketDirect – 09 379 7979
Show Duration: 2 hours  

Lindsay Webb (Australia), Dan Nightingale (UK), Glenn Wool (Canada) and Carey Marx (UK)

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

2 hours

A box of stand-up treats ... and a Cherry Ripe

Review by Joanna Hunkin 08th May 2009

If the opening night gala is the tasting tray of the comedy festival – giving a wee sample of each comic’s flavour – then the Big Show is a box of Cadbury Favourites. The acts are tried-and-tested, but you may find there’s one you could have done without. The Cherry Ripe at the bottom of the box …

And there’s always one you wish there was more of. In this case, that one was London comic Carey Marx, who delighted the half-filled Town Hall with his sharp and smutty humour that left some red-faced but most crying with laughter. Marx is new – and a welcome addition – to the festival this year. [More]
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The night belongs to the Irish

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 06th May 2007

The 2007 Crunchie Comedy Gala [in Auckland] caters for nearly everyone’s comedy palate. No matter what your taste in humour, at least one of the 22 acts on offer will whet your appetite for more from this year’s festival.

As well as providing some of the best wit of the night, (men riding solo on trains will now forever have my full attention), host Ardal O’Hanlon, one of Ireland’s finest comedians, also ensures the evening perks right up, after some comedians completely dry, fumble through their material and fail to make a connection with the audience. He pitches each link perfectly, giving us a smooth ride on what would otherwise have been a bumpy, uneven journey. He is world-class, clever, professional and endears himself to us, inserting local references here and there. 

Ewen Gilmour once again shows he knows his market well, with his well delivered Westie formula of self-depreciation, corny but fun punch lines, dotted with occasional gems, such as his Jesus look-a-like joke.  

Bubbly cuddly Ozzie Andrew McClelland gives a wordy routine, full of adjectives, smiles and splits, as he shares song, dance moves and musical anecdotes. While he receives muted applause, I’m sure he’ll be fun for music lovers, in a more intimate space, where he can build a better rapport with his audience.

2007 is Canadian Jason John Whitehead’s first NZ Festival, and my pick is this dude will be back by popular demand. He recalls his interaction with 4 American Custom’s officers when they became interested in his burger (or as Whitehead coins it, "heart-attack-in-a-bun"), with the sort of clever yet understated sarcasm it would be hard to tire of.

Inventive entertainer and comedian Sam Wills has another winner on his hands with his new show, "The Boy With Tape On His Face". While it relies on audience interaction, and having a good general knowledge of movies and their soundtracks, his mute Gala performance shows that taking risks and being a little different pays off when you have the craft to deliver.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of fellow New Zealander comedian, Tarun Mohanbhai. While I have seen him perform well to a friendly opening night audience, on this occasion he is out classed and out laughed by the standard of content and delivery around him. With clichéd dick jokes and gay gags, plus a weak attempt at political commentary, Mohanbhai struggles to find a big laugh and departs to a smattering of sympathetic applause.

A past favourite with our festival audiences, Australian Carl Barron soon brings the laughs back, dishing out more slurry laid back humour. Able to find endless humour from a mere word, his material is an easy going hilarious ride of eclectic observations such as spit etiquette, the sleeping habits of horses, and an experience he had with accents, as he tried to order breakfast in America.

Next, the energizer bunny of New Zealand comedy, Dai Henwood. While he looks sharp and confident in a suit, his boyish humour is not always of the razor sharp wit variety. But if you like retro fun and committed impersonations, take a look at Dai’s show.

Next, the only female stand up of the night, Jan Maree. She’s been away for a while, which may account for her sudden flood of nerves. However, she recovers with grace, and has the makings of a fine show on her hands, combining a cooking demonstration with her well-known brand of bawdy comedy and sexual innuendos. While it would be interesting to see the larger than life Jan Maree move on content-wise, if the Gala is anything to go by, her culinary comedy show will not be the platform for it. Her show is called "Eat Me". 

Next up, and in complete contrast, a trio of Australian women who have attracted a wide global audience and won numerous awards, with a completely unique musical act, the likes of which I never seen before. Looking like a cross between a bunch of gothic throw-backs from the outback and "The Adams Family", The Kransky Sisters reconstruct Michael Jackson classics with crisp musicianship, excellent diction, and a bunch of instruments that just shouldn’t work together – but strangely do – such as tambourines, a saw, and a tuba. The lead sister has an expression that would make a pukana from Tama Iti look like a cheery grin. Guaranteed to be an extraordinary entertaining night out.

But if the conventional format is more your thing, Jeremy Ellwood and his guitar, are back with more political sting and observational humour via song and stand up.

Another good kiwi stand up in the Gala line up, (though minus guitar and political edge), is Ben Hurley. A third NZ man giving a solid performance, (though leaning on his old material – the kiwi twang and middle aged men’s drunken swagger), is Simon McKinney.

The first half comes to a close with Peter Hellier, familiar to many TV audiences from his weekly "Rove" appearances. He is in fine form and while occasionally guilty of over extending the punch line, without a doubt, he delivers the gag of the night… at the expense of Helen Clark. 

Still in the Ozzie vein, the likable Mickey D opens the second half, with a solid routine, finding humour in unusual places, followed by 2006 Billy T Award Winner, Cori Gonzalez Macuer. Gifted with a voice that is very easy to listen to, assuming the rest of his material is as strong as his gala performance, this young confident stand up is one to watch.

Alun Cochrane from England is comparatively low key, but his dry delivery and surprising preoccupation with ninjas for one so still, (plus the use of the word "twat"), make for an amusing routine.

The antithesis of Cochrane would have to be Brendhan Lovegrove. Up front, in your face and frighteningly good, Lovegrove’s polished, sharp edge has consistently demanded attention. If his 2006 season is anything to go by, he will sell out.

The second incredible Australian trio, Tripod, are next. Their musical comedy is finely tuned and slick, yet casually delivered, as they banter about between songs. They come highly recommended, if you like off beat, intelligent humour. Regrettably their Gala performance was somewhat butchered by excessive overall volume and a piercing top end mix from the sound operator.

One of the best storytellers of the night is Canadian Craig Campbell, who dedicates his routine to anecdotes about bears, sharks and surfing. Again, a favourite from past festivals, his show will be sure to please the kiwi audience.

Wilson Dixon (AKA Jesse Griffin of the acclaimed comedy group, The 4 Noels) saunters on stage to share his quirky comedy, song and observations. The master of oddball humour, Jesse’s skill as a performer and guitarist, are blended exquisitely, to bring Wilson Dixon to life. Sure to be a hit show for those looking for something different.

The best, of course, should be saved till last. Ed Byrne, minus long locks, is back. He brings tears to my eyes. Like so many, he’s just a man with a mic. But Byrne is so infectious, relaxed, witty and easy going, that it’s impossible not to laugh. We are won over, right from the get-go. The night most definitely belongs to the Irish.


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