James Nokise – Right About Now
San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington
16/05/2023 - 20/05/2023
NZ International Comedy Festival 2023
Right About Now is the hilarious new show from award-winning comedian, James Nokise.
His fast-paced story-telling and gift for highlighting the ludicrous, is sure to be a hit with audiences once again.
Host of the podcast Eating Fried Chicken in the Shower, and the new series Fair Game: Pacific Rugby Against The World.
“A glorious treasure trove of fascinating and funny stories” – The Scotsman
Winner – Spirit of The Festival 2021, NZ International Comedy Festival
Winner – Fred Award 2019, NZ International Comedy Festival
Price: $25 – $30
Comedian – James Nokise
Comedy , Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,
A superb show that uses comedy to explore a timeless human flaw and bring it home to now
Review by John Smythe 17th May 2023
Intriguing title. Is that his starting point: “Right. About now.”? Will he prove to be right about his topical observations? Is he going to scrutinise the political Right as it is right now? Or is it simply that right about now we’ll get a terrific new comedy show from the talented James Nokise?
Answer: all the above. But to understand ‘now’, we have to visit his past. James grew up in Newtown, “suburb of misfits,” where his great grandfather had a significant impact, and where fusion cuisine and cultural diversity prove we can all get along. Oh, and this being the day when the tragic fire in Newtown is leading the news and filling our heads with so many questions, James has navigated those sensitivities judiciously, in order to clear the space to give us what we came for.
His political targets are National’s Chris Bishop, for telling porkies about the house he rents, and Act’s David Seymour for being a disgrace to mixed-race bros. Not for the first time in his shows, James gets excellent socio-political and comedic mileage out of having a Samoan church minister father and a tiny Welsh mother who loves crime dramas – and turns out later to have had a significant role in the corridors of power.
Having canvassed his highly receptive audience on what we regard as ‘old’ (we land on 80 plus), James shares his experiences of growing up in the ’80s, including going through puberty – where the prurient adolescent mindset gets an airing – and developing more than one allergy. His eye for irony produces quite a few laughs.
The assumptions and expectations people have made, overseas especially, about his culture-endowed aptitudes, is an amusing way of establishing the racial profiling theme to which he will return.
Suggesting we all became philosophers of some kind during Lockdown, James gets stuck into the Occupation of Parliament Grounds, giving us very clear reasons for his refusal to call it a Protest. Revelations, relations and social media come into it, as do Jacinda (and daughter), John Key (and son) and Carmel Sepuloni (and husband).
The warps he adds to the weft of his weave keep us on our collective toes. Nokise is not one to comfort us with simplistic them-v-us rhetoric. We are challenged to seek out the logic and lack of it; the justice and lack of it.
And so we come to the Right about now, profiled through the misguided Posy Parker visit. Which leads to insightful recollections of Georgina Beyer, before James loops back to high school days in the Hutt Valley: an incident in Waterloo Road involving a mate, a member of the public, police, the headmaster and his mother.
What brings it all together is ‘othering’. James is emphatic that it wasn’t right then, it isn’t right now and asks us what will change in the future. It’s a powerful ending to a superb show that uses comedy to explore a timeless human flaw and bring it home to now.
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