Jamie Bowen - I do these things so you don’t have to

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

21/05/2007 - 26/05/2007

101 @ Bodega, Wellington

15/05/2007 - 19/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Jamie Bowen


Manic stand-up and infectious tunes coupled with unstoppable energy gives Jamie Bowen the extra edge that few performers can match.  In re-tracing his steps over the last few years Jamie tries to find out when he went from being ‘a nice boy’ to ‘a nice boy who’s found himself in some really weird situations’. Was it Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll or is his Mother to blame for letting him dress like a prostitute when he was 8 years old? Either way, Jamie presents his tales of idiocy, lunacy and piratical bingeing with friends.

Jamie started his comedy career at the age of 18 with the now infamous sketch trio ‘Gary’. Regarded by many as one of the best comedy acts to have come out of this country, Gary won “Best New Face” at the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards in their first year of performing. They then went on to sell-out four New Zealand International Comedy Festival shows, received 2 Billy T Award nominations, appeared on numerous TV shows and also wrote and produced their own TV Pilot for TVNZ with Rhys Darby and Grant Lobban.

Since going solo in 2004, Jamie has gone from strength to strength. He played Devout Lout in the cult-classic New Zealand play “Wild Cabbage”, received a Billy T Award nomination for his solo show “Victim of Trend”, performed in “Xprov” and “The New Zealand Comedy Showcase” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, wrote stage shows for Disney and Universal Studios in Singapore and has spent the last 18 months playing in Melbourne and Sydney.

Winning “Most Improved Comedian” at the 2006 NZ Comedy Guild Awards, Jamie now returns home for the first time in 2 years to perform his brand-new solo show “I do these things so you don’t have to…” at the 2007 New Zealand International Comedy Festival. His current on-stage from has earned him yet another Billy T Award nomination, proving that he is without a doubt one of New Zealand’s most exciting and creative young comics.

“Completely manic eye-popping delivery… It’s bloody funny” – viewauckland.co.nz

Dates:  Tue 15 – Sat 19 May, 7pm
Venue:  101 @ Bodega, 101 Ghuznee St, Wellington City
Tickets:  Adults $18 Conc./ Groups 10+ $15
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  1 hour

Dates:  Mon 21 – Sat 26 May, 8.15pm
Venue:  The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, Auckland City
Tickets:  Adults $18 Conc. $15 Groups 10+ $15
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  1 hour

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

1 hr

A delight

Review by Ewan Kingston 17th May 2007

IF YOU WANT to be cool, guys, you know what to do. Talk in a slow, suave voice, move with the speed of a narcoleptic snail, and maintain that passive, slightly bored face. Not like Jamie Bowen. Avoid mentioning the following: that you live with your parents, you are afflicted with impotency at crucial times, you beat up kids. Not like Jamie Bowen. Cool Schmool. Auckland’s Jamie Bowen is entertaining, talented and hilarious.

Bowen’s Grandad has told him that even though he might grow old, he should never grow up. I think this boy listened. As far as his presentation goes, he’s like a kid on Christmas morning. His gestures and movements are lightning quick and he spits out words like a cartoon character does watermelon pips (I could still catch every line, though). He can really use his face, presenting us with a series of comedic masks; the most common being a sort of startled/intensely-interested thing. Bowen has quite small eyes, which look really funny when he raises his eyebrows almost to the ceiling, while his brow gains massive furrows like I’ve never seen. [Read more]


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Depends on super-stimulated delivery

Review by Thomas LaHood 17th May 2007

He claims to be performing on Ritalin, and judging by the way he bounces off the walls it’s possible that Jamie Bowen isn’t joking.  He fills the stage with the all the energy and tension of a hyperactive toddler, at times a bit suffocating but overall whipping his audience into life and keeping them excited and engaged. But for me I Do These Things… is a bit like fairy bread – take away the sugar high and it’s really just a slice of Tip-Top white.

It’s a youthful energy, and his audience reflects that with a younger demographic than I have seen at other gigs in this festival.  They seem to lap up the gags, and going by appearances it is a very successful, hip performance.  Bowen starts with material tracing his childhood, and moves on to relationship and heartbreak stories.  Every few minutes he picks up his guitar* and belts out a power-pop number.  The songs are tightly constructed and performed, and throughout Bowen shows a focus and crispness in his delivery that is commendable.

Bowen is definitely a crowd-pleaser and he works hard for his laughs.  His high-energy antics have him sweating profusely in the spotlight but he was in control and kept his mania well harnessed.  Yet without that energy and rah-rah, to me the show is very pedestrian in content.  Bowen mugs and springs about as if covered head to toe in tiger balm, trying to get ‘out-there’, but his gags are straight down the middle of the road.  In particular, a song about ‘turning out gay’ is so blandly homophobic that to some people it may not sound like comedy at all ("You’ve got a lot of friends who wear pink" – I mean, really). 

Bowen’s childhood material is centred around Freudian basics of pooing his pants and getting stiffies, and the relationship stuff soon degenerates into angry songs about killing his ex, or at least, doing really horrible stuff to her while she slept.  Funnier, and more original, is ‘It Was The Cancer That Took You Away From Me’, a break-up song with a fabulously melodramatic streak of denial.  But for the most part, the success of the humour depends pretty heavily on the super-stimulated delivery.

Overall, Jamie Bowen presents a show that will probably please a wide audience, but that does little to raise the bar for NZ stand-up comedy.  For a young person like Bowen there is a whole world to discover beyond ‘sex, drugs and rock & roll’, and I hope that he does.

*I am serious, is every stand-up in New Zealand just a frustrated pop musician who can’t write non-ironic lyrics? 


Thomas LaHood May 18th, 2007

Fair point, Steve, your feedback is appreciated. There's definitely no doubt that Bowen is a fine performer - see Ewan Kingston's review of this show for an honest and less picky interpretation. I still reckon Bowen can do more with his skills but I don't disagree with anything Kingston has to say.

Steve Wrigley May 17th, 2007

Yes, I put We'll. not WELL. THAT'S WHY I DON'T WRITE BOOKS... friggin caps lock.

Steve Wrigley May 17th, 2007

Tom bro, to say that Jamie's gags were only funny because of his high energy delivery is like saying "We'll the play was great, we all loved it, it made us feel great... but would it have made us feel this way without the lights, costumes and with the actors just reading their lines?" A performer is exactly that, a performer. You could take almost any comics material, write it on a piece of paper, and it would be very average if not confusing. That's where the saying "It's all in the delivery" comes from. But then, I can't ask you not to tell us how to do our job but then go ahead and tell you how to do yours, so I won't post this comment.

enter DAMMIT!

Sole Collector May 17th, 2007

What is the reason for Thomas LaHood's obsession with uninspired footnotes? Are they, perhaps, his own Freudian 'extension' to his already cumbersome reviews?

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