GUY WILLIAMS - YOU CAN SENSE THE DESPERATION
25/04/2015 - 16/05/2015
18/04/2015 - 19/04/2015
Whomever coined the phrase “you can’t please everyone all the time” obviously hasn’t been to a Guy Williams show. Guy is a performer of the highest level (level one thousand) now let’s stop pretending that he didn’t write this himself (Hey guys! It’s me, Guy!) and lets get this party started!
Awards that I’m desperately holding on to to justify myself to you:
Winner – Billy T Award 2012, NZICF
Winner – Best Comedian 2013, Metro
Funniest Person 2014, TV Guide
Shines best as an observational comedian
Review by Simon Howard 20th Apr 2015
Guy Williams is a man of many talents. He has become what he likes to call a “shit-lebrity” through being a regular on popular TV3 comedy shows Jono and Ben and 7 Days, as well as co-hosting The Xtra Factor and the afternoon show on commercial radio station The Edge. Yet as a stand-up comedian, he is still something of an enigma; a performer with undoubted talent and potential but someone who hasn’t yet been able to refine his material into a cohesive set for this pre-festival show.
Having seen Williams perform on several occasions over the years, I can appreciate his laid-back, self-deprecating style of humour and it is something which instantly places the audience at ease in his company. Before the show even begins, he is on stage: on his laptop, fiddling with the lighting and arranging extra rows at the front of the hall as more audience members arrive.
He begins the show by asking if we are ready for the best night of our lives, and then follows this up with a request to lower our expectations. He readily admits that the hour we are about to see is basically him “trying out a load of crap” and as this is a Koha show, this is something we are happy to accept and go along with.
What follows is a string of ideas and segments, some of which rely heavily on audience participation. It is a brave choice and one which in some cases fails to pay off. When he gets a volunteer on stage to approve or reject his life hacks, he digs himself into a hole by calling her old and subsequently poor with technology. The pace is sucked out of the show and the segment falls flat as a result.
What does work particularly well in the show is his topical observations on society and life in contemporary New Zealand. He talks with insight about the ongoing ‘gang war’ between his employers TV3 and the New Zealand Herald, and makes stimulating local references to the Air New Zealand exhibition at Te Papa and its potentially dubious sponsorship.
He seems to have a firm grasp on the issues affecting the country at the moment, no matter how significant or trivial they may be, and using them to make whimsical yet thought-provoking points about the situation. Be it the potential changing of the flag or the growing Campbell Live furore, he is sharp, intelligent and displays an admirable level of concern.
Using his social media prowess, Guy hits the mark with sections all about his own inspirational Instagram quotes and Twitter drafts, both of which draw considerable laughter and effectively satirise these new technology platforms. He is equally funny when talking about a time before computers, where at school everyone would play catch-and-kiss at school. As an observational comedian he shines, and his material on being a cat and Shania Twain stick in the memory long after the show ends.
To conclude, whilst this is certainly a work in progress show (he is preparing to embark on a three week stint in Auckland during the Comedy Festival), there are more than enough moments which make this show a worthwhile endeavour from an audience perspective. If he ruthlessly refines some aspects of his show, such as the life hacks section, there is no doubt in my mind Williams has the potential to create a wholly satisfying hour of stand-up comedy. How he finds the time amongst all his other media commitments is a mystery, but this audience member certainly isn’t disappointed.
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