James Keating: Billbored

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

05/05/2009 - 09/05/2009

Comedy Underground, 305 Queen St, Auckland

19/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Nominee for the 2009 Billy T Award for comedy, James Keating has come a long way since his student days at advertising school. Far from wanting to create new ads, James now looks to inspiration from existing advertising and marketing for his new live stand-up comedy show ‘Billbored’.

Every day we are bombarded with thousands of media messages. While some hit their target, others are begging to be made into sharp, observational stand-up material. With his unique point of view, James draws his inspiration from the endless supply of ad slogans, brand names, TV ads and shows to craft a hilarious one-hour show. Even an everyday, mundane trip down the toilet paper supermarket aisle glancing at product packaging yielded a few ideas.

The pervasiveness of the mass media ensures that the audience brings with them a working knowledge of James’ subject. James then provides an unexpected, disarming and hilarious twist. What’s more, with his tertiary qualification in advertising, James is fully qualified to do this show!

Dates:  Tues 5 – Sat 9 May, 8.30pm
Venue:  The Fringe Bar, Corner Cuba & Vivian Streets, City
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz
Tickets:  Adults $18 / Concession $15 / Groups 6+ $15

Dates:  Tue 19 – Sat 23 May, 8.30pm
Venue:  Comedy Underground, Wallace Trust Gallery, 305 Queen Street, City
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz
Tickets:           Adults $18 / Conc. $18 / Groups 6+ $15

A laugh or two

Review by Jackson Coe 06th May 2009

Although a few gems rang out at the opening night of Billbored, it was mostly tepid laughs for the premiere of James Keating’s stand-up act.

Performing at the Fringe Bar, once known as Bluenote, Keating’s show doesn’t really explore the themes implied in his programme blurb, so if you’re expecting a postmodern spin on advertising and TV slogans you won’t find it here.  Instead, Keating takes us in typical stand-up style through various puns and jokes, my personal favourite involving a pet tapeworm who thinks his owner is a bum. 

His performance is bolstered by the venue, which lends itself particularly well to stand-up comedy with sparkly, shimmering curtains and cosy couches.  The relaxed bar generates an even and comfortable environment just perfect for this type of comedy.

While Keating certainly has a charming stage presence and an easy-going personality, on opening night I detected a small case of the jitters which prevented him from fully engaging with the audience.  Some more focused eye contact would do wonders in helping him make that ever so important audience/performer connection.  

He nailed a few of the jokes and enticed a laugh or two out of most of us, but unfortunately much of the show was delivered with as little punch as an old carrot.  However, I’m sure that his act will tidy up as the run progresses and his confidence builds.
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