Kitty O'Sheas, 28 Courtenay Place, Wellington

15/05/2013 - 15/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

For one night only – witness the latest offering from one of the capital’s favorite pro comedians! 

Life in the farce lane: The absurdity of things when we realise the best results are often gained by admitting our powerlessness over the many things we want. Acceptance can enable great humour and sometimes even get us what we need. 

Despite the fact that we all appear to be flawed and contradictory individuals doing the best we can with what we ‘know’, Fergus delights in exploring the absurdity in the minutiae of everyday life. It’s not so much about which way around a toilet roll should be placed on a holder, but why does this even matter to some people? Particularly when sometimes a question as simple as “How are you?” can be the catalyst for an explosive self-deconstruction of existential proportions.

And now that we have social media as an ongoing obsession for so many, are people’s lives really improving? How does the barrage of online, real-time outlets for information and stimulation, as well as the endless, seemingly acceptable posturing and whining create a balance for us – as a more informed or distracted culture?

Children, travel, fantasy, reality, love and the apparent dramas of the moment all collide in a rollercoaster ride of epic inevitability. There may be a twist at the end or somewhere else.

“Knicker-wettingly funny… Fergus Aitken is right up there with the best and whatever else you go to see in the comedy festival, follow it up with this late night treat.” – THEATREVIEW (full review here)

“Made my friend laugh so hard she got hiccups… be warned” – DOMINION POST

During the past 2 years since Fergus’s last appearances in the NZ International Comedy Festival, he has headlined, MC’d and featured at numerous comedy events from North Shore to Invercargill and in Melbourne and Sydney.

Fergus also MCs the ‘Best of Welly’ showcase, 10.30pm Saturday May 18, at Kitty O’Shea’s.

For one night only – witness the latest offering from one of the capital’s favourite pro comedians!

NZ International Comedy Festival
Cool Moves and Ben Caldwell present A One Night Stand
Kitty O’Shea’s Bar, 28 Courtenay Place, Wellington
One night only! Wednesday 15 May 2013, 9.15pm start
Adults $15 / Concessions $10 / Groups (6+) $10
Duration 55 minutes


Old school humour

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 16th May 2013

If you read the press release before coming to the show, you may feel very misled. Fergus Aitken explains that the show will be “a bit of a collection of weirdness from my life,” and proceeds to present a show that has very little theme or connecting elements.

He certainly covers absurdity from his life, and much of this seems to be reliving earlier days as a younger, funnier (or funnier in his memories) performer back when he was twenty in Covent Garden, or when he was packing out the Union Hall at Vic, retellings of had-to-be-there moments in which he spontaneously responded to an unusual situation on stage in a stunningly brilliant way that had a previous audience who wasn’t us in fits.

In most of his stories, the members of the audience who laughed the most seem to have been his friends, much like tonight.

Fergus Aitken is an old school comedian for an old school audience. Not that there isn’t a place in the world for this kind of humour – of course; some of the audience laughed (possibly his friends) – but the place isn’t with me. Much of his humour is the traditional white male comedy packed with insults, dick jokes, dick comparison jokes, stories of times when he made a great witty retort to someone who had belittled him, and of course, the very liberal use of ‘fuck’ (among others) as a vocabulary enhancer.

And this is the comedy generation that has an expectation of heckling as being part of the show. Aitken almost seems to be assuming that he will get half his jokes from being able to competitively retaliate and prove himself funnier than us, the audience, in the event that we don’t like him. 

Why does a New Zealand comedian feel the need to make bestiality jokes about other New Zealanders? Do Australians not make enough of these jokes? But even Australian comedians are largely, I hope, above this. 

“Most comics do at least one of these ‘men and women are so different from each other pieces’ in their show,” he says, before proceeding to do his own, but I hadn’t seen a single comic in the Festival do one of these pieces so far, and the fact that I hadn’t actually says a lot for the situation of New Zealand comedy at the moment, which I am proud of. 

The prevalence of this kind of low-grade humour is exactly why I hated stand-up comedy for so many years and avoided it for so long. I have been lucky enough to see many shows in recent years that deviate from this enormously and are intelligent and innovative as well as hilarious and entertaining, and today it may even be possible that this type of old school comedy is on the decline. I have a strong suspicion that Aitken’s material may even have been toned down over time, and that he’s perhaps not as sexist or crude as he would like to be. 

The audience member looking close to my father’s age who comes in reeking of marijuana and confides to me, “Thought I’d better toke up before one of Fergus’ shows,” and the woman who whispers to her friend in response to the joke “…and then she yelled, ‘I’m gonna pull my piss flaps over your head!’” “What does that mean?” give me far more amusement than the comedian himself. 

It is only towards the end when he starts talking about his children that I begin to feel more sympathy towards him, but when he reveals that his now adult daughter doesn’t need money to go out on the town drinking because she is a girl, I do have to wonder how much the attitude of a parent towards gender contributes to the way their children think. 

Aitken’s last two stories are good; the rest, to me, are worthless, but as he himself says, “You just need to keep on going, even when you don’t understand what’s going on.” There is certainly an audience for this somewhere, but it isn’t me. 


Sabrinna Valisce May 17th, 2013

As a member of this audience I felt the need to rebut this review. In my mind, Charlotte Simmonds was extremely harsh.

The name of the show, 'Dont you know who I almost was' immediately gave me the impression that it would be a retrospective/reflective piece. The reviewer obviously fails to notice this when she says, "...much of this seems to be reliving earlier days as a younger, funnier..."

This paragraph, "...Fergus Aitken is an old school comedian...the very liberal use of ‘fuck' (among others) as a vocabulary enhancer" left me wondering if the reviewer is versed in new school comedy at all. Maybe have a watch of internationally famous comedians like Russel Brand, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and so on. I guarantee you they're still using sexual references and bad language.

"...an expectation of heckling as being part of the show. Aitken almost seems to be assuming that he will get half his jokes from..." At no point in time did I witness Fergus Aitken invite heckling. The two men down the front row engaged in some conversational style heckling because the front row was less than 2 feet away from the performer. Ask any performer how a small space affects audience participation and they'll tell you that the more intimate a venue the more likely it is that people will feel free to be conversational. To prevent the show being constantly interupted this had to be dealt with.

"...bestiality jokes about other New Zealanders...Do Australians not make enough of these jokes?" Please go to Australia before commenting on what is and isn't  joked about. After spending the last 6 years there I can confidently state I never heard one negative comment or joke about kiwis on any level.

In fairness to the reviewer she does say that this kind of show just isn't what she's in to and I respect her right to her own likes and dislikes.

The show had a little bit of a slow start, not helped by the front row friendly hecklers but it warmed up and ended on a very good note.

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