Jason Cook: Joy

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

05/05/2009 - 09/05/2009

The Classic, Auckland

11/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

English comedian discovers the simple pleasures of Joy

English comedian, Jason Cook stunned audiences and critics alike at The Classic in last years NZ International Comedy Festival with his smash hit show "My Confessions", subsequently winning the award for ‘Best International Show’.

"It’s rare to be touched, to the very core, by a comedy performance… a hilarious, dark, and emotional show by British stand up Jason Cook (you can call him Jase)… there were tears welling up in many-a punters eyes, and for good reason." – New Zealand Herald

‘My Confessions’ was a deeply personal show about Jason’s life and many wondered what he could possibly do to follow up its success.

Well we are very pleased to announce that Jason Cook is back in 2009 with his brand new show JOY, which, exceeded the expectations of audiences and critics at the Edinburgh Fringe last August.  

"Wonderfully directed by Jason’s father, Tony, this is an exquisitely balanced show which on the one hand has more laugh out loud jokes than his previous piece and yet also manages to take you on a more profound emotional journey…You won’t find another show on the Fringe this year which is as consistently funny and as genuinely honest, heartfelt and moving as this one. A total triumph." TimeOUT UK

What Jason Cook has, that many stand-up comedians struggle to achieve is a stand up act that actually makes you feel something. This year Jason brings "Joy". A show about joy, about how it is all around us, we just have to know how to look for it. And of course, there is a twist at the end.

WARNING: May contain moments of unadulterated happiness. If cynical, please stay away.

Dates:  5 nights only / Tues 5 to Sat 9 May / 8:30pm
Venue:  San Francisco Bath House , Cuba St
Bookings:  Ticketek Ph0800Ticketek or online @ www.ticketek.co.nz 

Dates:  12 nights only / Mon 11 to Sat 23 May / 8:30pm
Venue:  The CLASSIC – 321 Queen St
Bookings:  Ticketek Ph0800Ticketek or online @ www.ticketek.co.nz

1hr, no interval

Cook dishes up joyful evening

Review by Joanna Hunkin 15th May 2009

Jason Cook’s new comedy show comes with a disclaimer. It advises, in no uncertain terms, that those of a cynical disposition should avoid his show.

It would be more accurate to say those with no soul should avoid his show. Anyone else, regardless of how cynical, will find it impossible not to be moved by the Englishman’s set. [More]
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Speedily seeking joy

Review by Nik Smythe 12th May 2009

Motormouthed Geordie Jason Cook hits the ground running in his late 90s post-grunge haircut, black t-shirt and jeans (similar to Carey Marx’s Lenny Bruce uniform but minus the check shirt). 

And he’s off: fresh from performing in Wellington, where his favourite attraction was apparently Blanketman, Cook declares the Classic stage to be one of his favourite in the world.  Given the ensuing accounts of real, very personal experiences mostly involving his family and in particular his parents, it feels as though he really means it.

The theme of the piece, as the title betrays, is Joy.  At the outset Cook warns us to watch for ‘the heavy bit’, and so we do.  There are a couple of false alarms but when it comes, we know that’s it, just like he said we would.

Adept at invoking usable repartee from well-chosen marks in the front tables, his banter is sometimes friendly, sometimes interrogative.  It all works out in the comedic payoff, not that he’s bothered: "I get paid no matter how tense it gets’.

The valiant rant continues at the accelerated pace it began, until it abruptly ends giving the sense that every moment has been utilised to maximum efficiency – part of the topical legacy of his father perhaps?  The stories are highly entertaining and quite moving too – clearly for him especially, as he appeared to be crying during his final exit.

On the way home my accompanying friend and I compared our definitions of the word ‘joy’.  She sees it as uninhibited ecstasy, whereas I feel it has more of a sentimental character – especially with Cook’s production as an example.
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Must see comedian funny, naturally #2

Review by Simon Sweetman 07th May 2009

Jason Cook (England) had the audience on his side immediately with his first show in Wellington. He too fits the bill of a naturally funny comic, something so many New Zealand comedians struggle with (trying too hard with their on-stage delivery).

Cook flew through his material, celebrating the joy in life, looking over family and the silly things that happen. The joy often comes from pathos and as with Godley’s show there’s a blending of tragedy and an awareness that the human condition is one that needs to laugh as part of a process in grieving and working through any grim scenarios.

Cook’s show is a real journey and the pay-off, the finale (an evocation of Christmas), sent people home with jaws wide from smiling.

Both Cook and Janey Godley are must-see shows, and taking place one after the other, at the same venue, it makes for a great night out. The mix of observational humour, reflections and raw storytelling is a common feature.
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Brutal honest truth brings joy

Review by Priyanka Bhonsule (Hutt News) 06th May 2009

True to his word, Jason Cook’s show leaves you with an uplifting sense of ‘joy’ – from the start through to the finish.

Sure, there’s a sense of heaviness towards the end of the show that we were warned about at the start, but Cook is the first to put his hand up and admit it (literally). His deeply personal and insightful show last year, My Confessions, left audiences stunned and this year is no different, with a certain sense of awe in the audience for a man so willing to put his emotions on the line for the sake of humour.

Armed with a slideshow of pictures and lists, Cook goes on to explain why he chose joy as the theme (and title) of his show; how it’s present in the little and big things in life, from your mates that make you laugh to the rotten bad luck of your family (which you have to laugh at).

Cook has an easy rapport with the near sell-out crowd at San Francisco Bathhouse and says he loves Kiwis and their sense of humour. He’s easy to get along with and doesn’t rub too many people the wrong way. There are a couple of good-natured hecklers in the crowd and Cook subdues them with inoffensive, witty ‘back to me now’ jibes.

Directed by his father Tony, the show covers relationships (among many, many other trivial things) and as expected people in the front get a good ribbing out of it. Cook recently got married so that got the once over as well, especially the preparation before the wedding and the honeymoon which, thanks to the Cook family bad luck curse, went (hilariously) badly.

Without giving away too much of the show, I’ll say that everything Cook recounts in his show is the brutal honest truth – at least that’s what he keeps stressing. Though it might be a little bit hard to believe at the start that one person can indeed have such bad luck, Cook’s extremely funny, candid descriptions make it believable, and make him endearing.

The audience is infected with his enthusiasm for life and its little pleasures, right from the start; however, there were some raw moments and some misty-eyed audience members. Perhaps, this is the mark of a truly great comedian that he can make you cry and laugh in consecutive breaths.

It cannot be denied though that the overwhelming sense that floated out with the audience into the calm, Wellington night was that of joy.
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