Dai Henwood is Shabba!

Opera House, Wellington

15/05/2009 - 16/05/2009

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

19/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Shabba – SCHA-BUH – adjective/verb/noun/whatever, meaning good or positive
(i) A word to be shouted whenever you feel like it for no reason whatsoever EXAMPLES:
1. "Great party… SHABBA!"
2. "I’ll have to hang up, I’ve got to pick up the dry cleaning… SHABBA!"

Shabba may be of dubious meaning but it’s destined to become part of our lexicon in much the same way that Dai has become an essential part of, not only the Comedy Festival, but of our TV screens, our radio waves and our good times. Arguably one of the most positive people ever to grace the society pages, one of the funniest to grace our screens and one our most loved comics on stage, Dai has created a place for himself in New Zealand culture. If you could put number eight wire on stage, you’d call it Dai Henwood.

Dai Henwood is Shabba! will also feature the winner of C4’s "Dai’s Protégé Project", a nationwide competition to find a new comedy talent to open for this show. C4 has been taking entries via it’s website since early February with Dai sifting through them to choose his protégé. Dai will the pick the winner from three finalists, keep an eye on www.c4tv.co.nz and Jono’s Show to follow the journey and see who will win the glory.

Dai’s popularity with such a huge cross section of the community is rooted in his everyman personality, he’s one of us, he’s with us and he’s really, really damn funny. He’s won all the accolades going starting with the Billy T Award in 2002 then the NZ Comedy Guild Awards for Best Male Comedian, Best TV Achievement and Best MC and in 2007 the Comedy Festival’s most prestigious gong, the Fred Award for Comedic Excellence. With almost nothing left he took out Best Local Show Auckland at the 2008 Comedy Festival Awards.

It’s not just New Zealand that has recognised Dai’s comedy talents either. 2008 saw a scout from Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival choose Dai to travel to Canada and perform in front of public and an array of North American scouts, TV and film producers. He became one of four New Zealand acts to ever be invited and became only the second to be chosen to screen on television after he stormed his set that was recorded for the Comedy Galas. This will screen across Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia during 2009.

But Dai will always be as Kiwi as Hokey Pokey ice-cream, jandals and L&P. He’s old school New Zealand and still spells school properly. He’s the RSA, the surf lifesavers and the local dairy mixed in with a whole lot of funny. You know you can have a couple of beers, get the neighbours to look after the kids, go see Dai Henwood, and you’ll have a bloody good time.

Dates:  Friday 15 & Saturday 16 May, 7.00pm 
Venue:  The Opera House, City
Tickets:  Adults $34 Concession $30 Groups 10+ $30
Bookings:   0800 TICKETEK, (0800 842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz 

Dates:  Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 May, 8.00pm  
Venue:  SKYCITY Theatre, City
Tickets:  Adults $34 Concession $30 Groups 10+ $30
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK, (0800 842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz 

1hr, no interval

Giving 100%

Review by Jessie Kollen 20th May 2009

Most of the time Dai Henwood does New Zealand comedy for New Zealanders.  His jokes are not just the ‘you had to be there,’ type of joke, they are also the ‘you have to be here‘ type of joke.  And if you are here (or if you were there), they will definitely have you laughing. 

There is something else that will have you laughing too: Dai Henwood’s guest comedian, Guy Williams.  Mr Williams was the successful applicant in Mr Henwood’s search for a truly funny protégé, and in his short appearance Guy Williams’ joke after joke deadpan delivery gave a professional brand of comedy that could go a long way, a long, truly funny way.  Shabba!

The show is called Shabba, yet I did find myself wondering: where was the shabba?  The evening starts with a bang, out comes Henwood and introduces himself and this word shabba. He tells us how the word can be used at any time, for any thing.  But how come he didn’t?  The beginning of the show is the first and last time we hear of shabba and I think if he’d dropped it in here and there shabba would have been good for several more laughs.  And not only laughs. Dai Henwood’s comedy is the story-telling variety and the shining shabba glue would have held the whole thing together: the pop culture, the politics, the hilarious impressions, the celebrity status, the good times, the porta-loos… 

Now don’t get me wrong, the show is good, I was laughing, everyone was laughing; Dai Henwood was shabba.  His message was give 100% to every thing you do and he does. 
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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Accessible style, great sense of humour

Review by Jackson Coe 18th May 2009

Dai Henwood is a true performer, and a gifted one at that.  Suitably tailored for his key strengths as an entertainer, notably his zany sense of humour and his knack for physical comedy, Dai Henwood’s Shabba! is spirited, fresh and well worth checking out.

On his second night performing, Henwood uses the MC Hammer track ‘Can’t Touch This’ as his pre-show music, readying the audience for a comedian who is likely to be a bit gaudy and probably quite ironic. 

Our suspicions are confirmed as Henwood bounds onstage under UV lights, cartwheeling about and tossing glow-sticks into the audience with utter abandon.  The spectacle and enthusiasm skilfully puts the audience in a congenial mood.


Henwood is most in his element when he uses physical comedy to back up his jokes, but what sets him apart from other physical comedians is that we are laughing with him and not at him.  It really does make all the difference to watch a performer who is in control and can be respected for what they do.

Near the beginning of the show, Henwood graciously vacates the stage to allow his apprentice, Guy Williams, a ten minute stint in which to strut his stuff.  Williams holds his own well, not giving in to an imitation of Henwood but branching out into his own distinctive style of comedy with a mock mopiness and fractured through-line, telling one joke after another with seemingly nothing to link them. 

It’s a risky choice that could fall flat in lesser hands, but Henwood has done a great job building his protégé into a worthwhile act and it will be a pleasure to see Guy return to the stage in the future.

Dai Henwood is a well-rounded comedian with an accessible style and great sense of humour.  If you’re looking for a laugh this Comedy Festival, you’re sure to find one here.
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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