The Classic, Auckland

07/05/2014 - 10/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details


It’s his first time in New Zealand and, with six one-hour solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe up his sleeve and a new one on the way, English comedian John Robins is fit to bust out on stage in the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival.  

So, in addition to his featured appearances in the 5 Star Comedy Preview and The Big Show, The Classic have asked John to let loose with the ‘best of’ his last 6 years in his own solo show: Late & Live at The Classic for 4 nights only from May 7 – 10.  

Robins is a regular headline act on the UK Pro circuit with numerous TV appearances to his credit and successful seasons at the Edinburgh and Melbourne Comedy Festivals.  

“the ever-affable Robins’s unquenchable enthusiasm fills this fantastically entertaining hour with life.”

“One of the most naturally gifted comedians I’ve seen” Telegraph

“Awesomely self-possessed” The Guardian UK

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 ROBINS – Late & Live at The Classic AUCKLAND
Dates: Wed 7 – Sat 10 May, 10pm
Venue: The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St Tickets: $20 – $25
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) //

His self-deprecation covered by a false machismo is always hilarious

Review by Robbie Nicol 08th May 2014

Festivals are a buyers’ market. For just under a month there are so many comedy shows in Auckland that comedians have to fight for audiences – ticket prices go down, audiences shrink. Part of the job of a reviewer is to try and guide people towards buying one ticket over another, and I am officially advising you to buy a ticket to see John Robins – Late & Live at the Classic Studio

John Robins is on at ten o’clock, competing with the Classic Late & Live downstairs – a ticket he helped to sell by being tremendously funny on its opening night. The result is an intimate show that connects the understated Kiwi audience with Robins’s gentle likeability. A good heckle is rewarded with a high-five, and when I tell Robins that the time is 8:47 (when in fact the time is 10:47) he chooses to ignore the mistake. John is kind like that, and the result of his kindness is comedy that is always uplifting. 

John’s material for the night loosely fits to the theme of fantasy and expectations. He discusses “life in all its horror and beauty”, considering what it would be like if you fantasised about future sexual partners more realistically. He talks of the difficulty of your best friend being in a relationship, the need to pretend you don’t notice if your girlfriend is on her period, and the things doctors cruelly make you give up when you come down with 18th Century diseases. 

At one point, John tells us that his life is going very well and that this is extremely unhelpful for his comedy career. Ideally, he says, his girlfriend would have carked it about mid-Feb to give him a moving ending to his Edinburgh show. While I do not want anything bad to happen to John’s partner, I have to admit that I did think Robins’s show would benefit from going deeper. According to the Classic’s website, this is a ‘best-of’ show from Robins’s past six years. What is sacrificed in a ‘best-of’ show is an overarching theme or message, which might have brought some of depth to the hour of entertaining comedy. 

Robins is a master of telling plausible stories about his life that he embellishes until he has squeezed out all the funny. His self-deprecation covered by a false machismo is always hilarious, and his jokes are often artfully crafted turns of phrase. Robins is a skilled observational comic, and he has been for years now. I am excited at the possibility of seeing him tackle more challenging issues in the years to come.

Robins draws decent crowds in the UK after numerous solo shows at the Edinburgh Festival, consistently good reviews, and performances on radio and television (including the popular Russell Howard’s Good News). This is his first time performing in New Zealand, and after proving himself to be one of the best acts in both The Big Show and the Classic – Late & Live, his solo show does not disappoint.


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