Jerome Chandrahasen gives you FREEDOM

Bluenote Bar, Wellington

22/04/2008 - 26/04/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

"Freedom is not worth having if it doesn’t include the freedom to make mistakes" – Gandhi

Having spent 6 weeks watching the water in a plastic cup evaporate on his desk, Jerome Chandrahasen realised that his 9-5 Monday to Friday office job was a mistake. Freedom presents a collection of the weird, silly and just plain stupid ideas he created while trapped in a windowless cubicle daydreaming of freedom. 

From a song about Laika the first dog in space to a how to guide for stand up comedy, Freedom chronicles one man’s descent into whimsy. Maybe some mistakes were meant to be made.

From the unlikely background of a science degree in mathematics, Jerome Chandrahasen has been entertaining New Zealand audiences since 2004 when he won the National Raw Comedy Quest. He has gone on to be voted best new-comer at the 2005 NZ International Comedy Festival Awards and was nominated for the 2006 Billy T Awards, New Zealand’s premier award for stand up comedy.

He is a regular performer at the Wellington Comedy Club and has made appearances at the Classic in Auckland and other venues throughout the country, including once playing the unusual role of a professional wrestler in the High Court of New Zealand in Wellington.

Dates: April 22nd – 26th, 8:45pm 
Venue: Bluenote Bar, Corner Cuba and Vivian Streets, Wellington 
Tickets: Adults $15, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $12 
Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) 
Show Duration: 1 hour  

1hr, no interval

Surprise and whimsy

Review by Thomas LaHood 25th Apr 2008

Last year I got in trouble for describing a comedian as ‘geeky’, so I feel apprehension about applying that particular label.  However, somehow I sense that Jerome Chandrahasen won’t take offence, as he uses his slightly goofy demeanour to its full advantage onstage. 

His lack of machismo and aggression gives him an easy affinity with the crowd – he’s a nice guy!  Weird, but nice.  Witness the way he greets his audience, eyes twinkling, cardigan flapping, like an excited political clerk (which he used to be).  There’s no crass material in the show at all – it’s a self acknowledged "descent into whimsy" which means instead that there are jokes about animals, about high school pranks, about Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway.

In other words, the kind of show that you could happily bring your mum to – indeed Chandrahasen’s mum was in the crowd the night I was there.  This led to some cute moments, especially when the punchline of one of his jokes seemed to implicate mothers as responsible for the world’s greatest human rights atrocities.  His eyes suddenly twinkled even brighter with realization, and he did a superb double take, muttering "didn’t think that one through…" 

It is indeed whimsical fare, and imaginative.  Almost bookish, even.  Although elements of the show have been comprehensively done before (the ‘flow-chart’ motif was used in Taika’s Incredible Show, and before that in Cracks in the Garden), Chandrahasen brings a measured and precise delivery to the form that really supports his comic persona and sense of humour. 

Although the programme blurb promises a glockenspiel, and an explanation of why he hates librarians (which as a former librarian I was looking forward to), neither of which materialised the night I was there, there is plenty of surprise and … well, whimsy to keep us satisfied. 

Included this night was a guest spot from a singer/songwriter whose earnest lyrics and incendiary guitar playing were somewhat compromised by his appalling vocal delivery, but whose humour was a good match for Chandrahasen’s – I certainly didn’t begrudge his presence (although I missed his name).

I don’t know if Chandrahasen exactly gave us freedom as promised, but he certainly offered an infectious enthusiasm and a delightfully lateral view of the world around us.


Jerome Chandrahasen April 26th, 2008

Thanks very much for coming along, the singer songwriter is Daniel McClelland from Wellington.

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