IVY BAR, 49 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington

11/02/2017 - 17/02/2017

BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

16/05/2017 - 20/05/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

NZ International Comedy Festival 2017

Production Details

I’m an Apache Attack Helicopter, presented by genderqueer performance artist Michelle/Ryan (of “Ze”: queer as fuck!), is a stand-up comedy show that holds a mirror to the meme-obsessed, hashtag-happy, insulated world of cultural trolls/tone-police to remind us that we ALL humour things that make each of us ridiculous.

Online groups like 4chan and reddit forums, as well as comedians of all stripes, love poking fun at non-standard identities with comments like “only on tumblr,” “snowflake,” and infinite satire images, sketches, and videos that suggest we’ve taken tolerance too far.

We laugh nervously, overwhelmed by the daily onslaught of new labels and politically correct identity politics, afraid of the hair-trigger defenses of hyper individualists….millennials in a minority of one. We’re not sure who is more counter-cultural, the SJW’s or the those who “say it like it is.”

Defying all safe-space, M/R is taking these subjects head on with self-deprecating humour that will put you at ease about zir identity, but maybe not your own. IAAAH suggests that there’s a great deal more to laugh at than the unconventional and that we all take ourselves seriously in some pretty funny ways.

Possible topics may include: the straight comedians’ guide to understanding men and women, pronoun wars, surviving a growl-fest at a queer event, passing as “normal,” doing things religiously while not religious, pagans and people who believe they are werewolves, how to relax into your cisgendered-heterosexual-white-able-bodied-animate-human privilege, steps to becoming more-progressive-than-thou, how to appropriate queer and other experiences, and a number of personal stories and observations.

Michelle/Ryan (Ren) has been nominated and won awards for comedy and artistic risk in Australia and Canada. I’m an Apache Attack Helicopter is zir first stand-up comedy set and zir third solo show. “Ze”: queer as fuck! (an autobiographical theatrical comedy about sex, gender, and the journey to authentic pride) is also making its Wellington debut as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival.

*ze/zir are gender neutral pronouns.

Ivy Bar, 49 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
11, 15, 17 Feb,10.30pm
BOOKINGS: fringe.co.nz

BATS Studio
16 – 20 May 2017 
Book at bats.co.nz 

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

45 mins [Sat, Wed, Fri only]

Charismatic performer with great comic timing

Review by Zoe Joblin 17th May 2017

I’m an Apache Attack Helicopter is presented by Michelle/Ryan Arts and created/performed by Ren Lunicke. Ren identifies as non-binary and takes us down the rabbit hole of how they came to transition in their own life and how internet commentary on gender influenced their experience for better or worse.  

Despite the name it is a very accessible discussion of gender identity via stand-up comedy.

Unfortunately I miss the beginning of the show which I imagine helps to explain the title to the less internet-savvy members of the audience. Thankfully I have googled the title beforehand to discover what is so special about an apache attack helicopter to name a show after it and immediately find the namesake. For the interested and uninitiated it is one of many comedic memes which aims to diminish identities such as bisexual, transgender, polyamorous etc. by comparing them to identifying as an inanimate, flying machine. 

I am an Apache Attack Helicopter feels very self-aware and current because of its references to internet content and would appeal a lot to queer young people. The audience, however, is a real mix of ages and they are very vocal and supportive of Ren’s commentary. Commentary is definitely a defining element of this show. As a mix between stand-up and Gender 101 (or maybe 201), the content is relevant and interesting and mixes Ren’s personal experiences with cultural, political and religious references.

One of the elements that could be explored more is the use of flip cards showing memes and diagrams to underscore the research element of Ren’s story. These visual metaphors along with some sound cues are welcome and could be explored more for the show to veer closer to theatre than stand up. The most creative and exciting example of this is when Ren colour-codes a list of gender-binary stereotypes to show how one person can embody many characteristics – literally “Gender is not black and white”.

Ren is a very charismatic performer with great comic timing. Having lived all over the colonised world, they draw on many perspectives and are both validating for anyone who identifies as any kind of queer but also universally relatable in their down-to-earth, somewhat cynical approach to life. Check this show out if you’re interested in gender and sexuality or just for a funny and thought-provoking night out.  


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