JOHN GORDILLO Cheap Shots at the Defenceless

The Classic, Auckland

12/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

He has been on the ‘Classic Festival wish-list’ for over 10 years, so NZ’s home of live comedy takes great pleasure in announcing the imminent arrival of John Gordillo to the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival with Cheap Shots At The Defenceless kicking off on the 12th May.

There’s a case to be made that John Gordillo is one of the key shapers of the modern comedy landscape in the UK. He may not be a widely recognised name but as a writer, director and benevolent svengali he’s helped to set many a major stand-up star on the road to greatness.

In his own right he’s a spectacularly creative comic, offering sets that use politics, romance and family relationships as jumping-off points for wildly ambitious social theorising and sparkly funny comedy. He produces shows that genuinely make you think in a whole new way while keeping you laughing throughout.

His last solo show, Fuckonomics – proposing a new economic theory based on our desire for sex – was one of the most intellectually ambitious offerings the fringe has seen in recent years.

“John Gordillo is one of the smartest men in comedy. A brilliant combination and examination of the fake personal and the real personal. Typically intelligent, at times extra-ordinarily frank… this is quality, brain-food comedy. A great hour.” The Guardian UK

“One of comedy’s great thinkers. Heartfelt, intellectual or angry, he’s dynamite” – The Times UK

“Gordillo is an inspiration, a consummate performer with an amazing talent, passion and intellect. If you are after cheap, silly laughs avoid this, but if you want intelligent, moving comedy with a point, then you cannot afford to miss it”

Gordillo will be bringing his 2013 Edinburgh Fringe solo show Cheap Shots at the Defenceless to the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival.

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.

For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to

JOHN GORDILLO – Cheap Shots at the Defenceless
Dates: Mon 12 – Sat 17 May, 7pm
Venue: The Classic, 321 Queen St Tickets: $20 – $30
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) //  

John Gordillo will also feature in THE BIG SHOW
Fri 25 – Sat 26 April, 8pm Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna
Tue 29 Apr – Sat 3 May, 8.30pm Hannah Playhouse, Wellington
Mon 5 – Sat 10 May & Mon 12 – Sat 17 May, 8.45pm Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall

Exposing the blatant disingenuousness of corporate customer ‘service’

Review by Nik Smythe 13th May 2014

It’s 48 year-old British comedian John Gordillo’s first time playing New Zealand, so he tells us, and he’s been enjoying the apparent lack of hype, compared to the cutthroat hyperbole that the Edinburgh Festival shoves in your face at every venue’s doorway.  This preliminary by-the-by observation is pertinent to the basis of the show, which explores the lengths to which marketing divisions of large companies will go to monopolise the consumer needs of everyday people. 

Citing a number of actual instances, with projected documentation to back it up, Gordillo presents a wholly cogent argument with the earnestly intellectual countenance and commanding gesticulations of a middle-aged English and drama teacher.  Early on he declares that reviews are essentially meaningless, so it’s nice he gave me a ticket anyway … More specifically, he’s dismayed by the relative criteria for star-ratings (which Theatreview doesn’t deal in). 

The upshot of John’s bugbear is the disingenuous ‘friendly’ tone that corporate brochures, catalogues and cover letters frequently and increasingly take, from their special offers ‘just for you!’ to their ardent requests to rate their service, even if they’ve just sold you a chocolate bar.  It might seem obsessive or a tad paranoid at first to be so hot under the collar about it, but it’s the subject of his show after all, and a great deal of humour is derived from what is on reflection a truly appalling trend in today’s media. 

He seems concerned we don’t quite get the full depth of the point at issue. Perhaps, like many things, it’s by degrees more intense and ubiquitous in larger populations like Britain and Europe, but we get more than our fair share of such deceitful propaganda aiming to make us feel ‘valued’ by them, in return for our loyal custom. He’s done his homework too, dropping geographically interchangeable names like Palmerston North and Colin Craig into humorous analogies for disappointing and/or ridiculous things. 

Gordillo compares the practice and the mixed feelings of guilt and resentment it causes to his worst relationships, highlighting the agenda of these marketing tracts to actually fool us into believing they are interested in a meaningful emotional connection with us.  He contrasts this with his own genuine relationship with his adopted daughter who apparently very rarely expresses any emotional connection, at least not a loving one, yet in his heart he knows it’s there.  

I gather the ‘defenceless’ in the title refers to the regular saps to whom the corporate behemoths’ cheap shots (pseudo-emotional dogma) are marketed.  The moguls of such immense business luminaries as Tesco’s or Burger King are hardly defenceless (Palmerston North maybe…), and Gordillo’s shots are not cheap; they come at the significant cost of suffering through so much bureaucratic patronisation to develop this clear and convincing rebuttal.


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