DAN NIGHTINGALE is Trying His Best Not To Be a Dick

Foxglove Queens Wharf Ballroom, 33 Queens Wharf, Wellington

13/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

06/05/2014 - 10/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details


Dan Nightingale sold out his final shows last Festival, as Kiwis caught up with his biting wit and amiable charm and loved him. He’s back this 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival with a brand new show, Trying His Best Not To Be A Dick, with seasons in Auckland (May 6 – 10) and Wellington (May 13 – 17).

Known as one of the UK circuit’s gems, his shows mix brilliant observation and energetic characterizations. His comedy is original, playful, intelligent, exciting, sometimes ridiculous but always hilarious.

A regular headliner at his famous local comedy club, The Frog and Bucket (where he founded the hugely successful Beat the Frog night) Dan is also a favourite at some of the best clubs in the UK.

Having previously performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Josie Long, Dan showcased his solo debut show Geronimo in 2008, which was extremely well received. Having enjoyed such success, Dan took his second show The 11 and a 1/2 Ill-Conceived Edinburgh Shows of Dan Nightingale in 2012 to widespread critical acclaim, receiving multiple 5 and 4 star reviews. His 2013 show Love in the Time of Cholesterol won over audiences and critics alike. Dan has also gigged around Europe and as far afield as Dubai. This is his third trip to New Zealand.

An enthusiastically charming albeit self-deprecating storyteller.” ***** Three Weeks

Nightingale was a pure delight thanks to watch with his witty observations and well-timed delivery. I was in stitches…Gulf Weekly (Bahrain) “Nightingale can make just about anything funny. He’s lightning-quick.” Time Out An engaging performer with a well-developed instinct for funny.” Chortle

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May. For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to comedyfestival.co.nz

Dates: 6 May – 10 May, 8.30pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City
Tickets: $19 – $24
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // ticketek.co.nz

Dates: 13 May – 17 May, 8.30pm
Venue: Foxglove Ballroom, 57 Customhouse Quay
Tickets: $19 – $24
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // ticketek.co.nz

Charming affability

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 14th May 2014

This show has many elements I’ve been looking for in stand up for a while: intelligence, honesty, cohesiveness, structure, set up and payoff; still managing to appear unscripted and spontaneous and as if the storyteller is not running off an unalterable set list they memorised months prior; jokes about racism without being racist jokes; white male comedy that is doing a fair job of being something slightly different. 

A friend asked before the show, “Is it just going to be one of those white male dick comedians?”
“Actually,” I said, “he’s trying his best not to be.” 

Foxglove is a really nice venue. 

A charming recorded message from Nightingale’s niece or nephew opens the show and instantly offsets any dickish jokes that might come by establishing him as a genuine nice guy who likes kids and is also a loveable uncle. Nightingale says he came up with the title because swear words are attention-grabbing and he wanted a title with a swear in it. It takes me a fair bit of time to figure out which word Nightingale is referring to. Thinks ‘dick’ is a swear word? That’s the sort of genuine nice guy he is.

Being able to tell us about his show in Auckland the other night, being able to make audience-specific jokes without harassing the audience or using clichéd lines that would work in any location, all gives a sense of authenticity and creates the illusion that the entire show has been scripted (or not scripted at all) just for us.

There is some good tie-in with last year’s show, which I did not see, (“Last year I told you all that… well, since then, this has happened…”), that also made me feel like we were all catching up with an old friend, even though I’ve never seen him before.

He mentions that he has ADHD. I can’t tell if that is a joke or not, but if it isn’t, it seems like this might be a favourable trait for a comedian to have and it might well work in his advantage. 

He’s billed as a Lancastrian socialite. Perhaps turns of speech such as “I’ll tell you for why” are Lancastrian, perhaps they’re simply speech errors, but from a New Zealand point of view, I think he’s worth seeing just for amusing quirks like that. And his socialising seems to have paid off as, after a good deal of setup and harping on about being single, he tells us all about a girl he went on two dates with before going on tour. That may be a spoiler but I think it best to inform any women planning on seeing the show now, before they get too much of a crush on him. 

Of course he does know how to swear in New Zealand English too, perhaps a little more than I’m comfortable with, and yes, there are a few crasser jokes, particularly a detailed anecdote that I really, really don’t want to be visualising, but his charming affability lets him get away with it. He isn’t being mean. He isn’t being offensive. Of course, it could be just my pink guilt talking, but I think he’s really not being a dick.


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