ELI MATTHEWSON: Daddy-Short-Legs

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

11/05/2021 - 15/05/2021

NZ International Comedy Festival 2021

Production Details

One of New Zealand’s best joke writers is back behind the wheel with a brand new hour of stand-up about the huge life-revelations that take place in shittiest of cars.
Eli is almost old enough to be a “daddy”, but his own father is stealing some of his thunder…

“He’d mop the floor with most of the recent Live At The Apollo box tickers and panel show space blockers” – Chortle, UK

Winner – Director’s Award 2019, NZ International Comedy Festival
Nominee – Fred Award for Best NZ Show 2017, NZICF
Nominee – Billy T Award 2015 & 2013, NZICF

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
11 – 15 May 2021
Tues – Thu $20
Fri & Sat $25
The Difference $40

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Check out the full line up in the 2021 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo from 4 – 23 May.

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Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

55 mins

Brilliantly ties all his themes together

Review by Brett Adam 12th May 2021

Eli Matthewson has been an integral part of the New Zealand comedy scene for a number of years, having performed all around Aotearoa at venues of various sizes, as well as in comedy festivals around the world and his face has graced screens on television, film and various other media and social platforms. He is pretty close to being comedy royalty.

It comes as no surprise then that his show Daddy Short-Legs is an absolute winner. His confidence and ease in the front of his audience is apparent from the very beginning (mis-timed entrance included). You can’t help fall for his relaxed, relatable, boy-next-door persona as he begins the show with short observations of our shared experiences of 2020. Musings on bisexuality, Millennial real-estate agents, his similarities to Rhianna, come thick and fast as he subtly builds his relationship with the audience and susses out the nature of tonight’s crowd.

Matthewson does this all with true professionalism and is always totally in tune with, and dynamically responsive to us. He has totally mastered the skill of delivering his jokes as if they have just come into his head at that moment. Not once does the material feel rehearsed or scripted. If fact his disarming likeablility makes the whole evening feels like an intimate catch up with a great mate that you haven’t seen for a while.

The real superiority of Matthewson’s talent as a comedian reveals itself through the show’s writing and structure. As the evening progresses, he gradually moves from quick, relatable bon-mots and short little stories with wicked twists in their tails to more expansive, developed story arcs. As the material moves into more extended forms, so too does it become more personal. He lets us into to his life to regale us with stories about his long-distance relationship with his boyfriend, his desire to write a show “without any gay jokes”, and a rather dramatic change in his relationship with his father.

This development of both the material and his connection to the audience also allows for slightly riskier material. Whilst seeming very PG at the beginning Matthewson so beguiles and enchants us with his personality that the increasing number of ‘fucks’ and references to anal sex that come late in the show are totally accepted by the audience without as much as second thought.

A lot of Matthewson’s success has to do with his ability to make the hard work of writing an hour-long stand-up routine; the detailing and polishing, the placement of individual jokes and the order of stories, the rhythms and musicality of the whole thing, seem effortless and ultimately invisible. Having spun out the themes of the show he brilliantly ties them all together with an hilarious story involving his father’s response to his tweet about his boyfriend’s baking skills (complete with pictures!).

Matthewson gifts us a great evening of laughs that cements his reputation as one of this country’s finest comedians.


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This show has legs and will run

Review by Bryce Pedersen 12th May 2021

I subscribe to Mr Matthewson’s podcast ‘The Male Gayz’ in which he parleys about whatever sweet nothingness pops into his head, along with Mr Chris Parker. They are both ardently non-competitive and rigorously laid back, which are highly sought-after qualities in a Millennial. They dish about nothing and everything, they bolster each other’s portrayal of self-doubt, and it’s usually a fantabulosa way to pass forty or so chaotic minutes of nonsense.  Their intentional frugality is a 21st century virtue, as their radio producer is Siri, on whichever phone has the most battery charge.

However Mr Mathewson presents completely differently on stage, in person, live. He’s confident, disciplined, fast moving, and totally in control of his material. This is his Ru-veal.

The material has only a few themes: the real estate agent awards, his father and his boyfriend’s baking. But the laughs come fast and hard, each one clearly distinct and deliberately crafted differently from the previous one, twenty seconds before.  Ideas come swiftly and are left hanging in the air to circle back on, and return again later.  People, places and past-times are never targeted or brought down, it’s more like they have been left a review in the comments section. It’s sharp but never cutting, and for every moment of ridicule there are two beats of affection.

He doesn’t explain his sexuality – it is the explanation. Just gay, gay, gay, so keep up with it, or he will leave you behind. Anal. Cars. High school. Anal. Dinosaurs. These are a few of my favourite things. His delivery is also confident, his voice is pitched perfectly for the audience to lean into, his breath control while he reels off his punchlines, is professional.

The graphics and text on the stage screen, however, are not adequate and let him down. We have all been to bad PowerPoint presentations where the speaker reads off the screen. A laser pointer and a bowl of individually wrapped mints on a white tablecloth would also be appropriate here.

Despite his confidence, clarity and charm, Mr Mathewson does not come across as over-prepared. There’s a latent louche looseness lurking. He will catch himself off guard, or miss a beat, and surprise himself, delighted to have stumbled. He pauses briefly in those moments, looks at us, and across his face, you can see him thinking, “Oh I’m enjoying this, too!” 

In short, this show has legs and will run.


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