Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

18/05/2021 - 22/05/2021

NZ International Comedy Festival 2021

Production Details

You’ll have a surprisingly tuneful walk (or maybe a dance?) on the darker side of life when Jonno Roberts appears on a New Zealand International Comedy Festival stage for the first time in over 20 years. He brings material that the New Yorker Magazine humorist Emily Flake described as “a truly amazing set – hilarious, unexpected, and catchy as hell. I don’t know when I’ve seen a comedy crowd so terrified.” 

Jonno Roberts wandered away from New Zealand over 20 years ago, and now has wandered back. In between, he managed to get married, gain weight, have kids, become a Broadway star, raise a dog, get close to being famous (or, at least, get close to some famous people), and generally just somehow get older.

Join him as he puts all the pieces together because he has TOTALLY figured out what he is going to be when he grows up. Totally.  

The Fringe Bar, Wellington
18-22 May 2021
Tue & Wed:  $22.50
Thu:  $27.50
Fri & Sat:  $29.50
*service fee may apply

Wheelchair accessible
Occasional bad language
Adult themes 

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

55 mins

Antidote flavoured with mature irony

Review by Margaret Austin 20th May 2021

The show’s title speaks of boldness, so I’m surprised at Roberts’ opening comments at the Fringe Bar. Is he warning us, or trying to make himself feel more comfortable? He likes Wellington after all, and why wouldn’t he after half a lifetime spent in America and a recent stint in Dunedin?  

He’s performed in all of them and has things to say, especially about America, a country he describes as strange. From his intonation, I’m guessing that’s an understatement. Rodeos are part of the strangeness. An encounter with a Mexican fighting bull could have ended badly, but our “middle aged sex god” as Roberts styles himself is made of stern stuff. 

His songs target original subjects: “My Religion is Better than Yours” is especially perceptive, and scientology and its film star hero come in for some scathing exposure. Much of his material is sexual in nature, but not offensively so.

I get the impression that Roberts’ personal life is more complex than he’s prepared to admit and that his bravado may be only skin deep. That’s an endearing quality though, as is his disclosure about health issues causing parenthood to be postponed.

“Putting truth to music” is the way Roberts describes his work. I would say that means using music and song to cheer himself up. “I’m the antidote to comedy” might be an accurate self-reflection, but it’s antidote flavoured with a mature irony that makes for thought provoking entertainment.


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