Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

01/05/2013 - 04/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


In 1941, journalist James Agee and photographer Walker Evans published a book called Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. In 2012, comedian Jonny Potts read it. He quickly discovered that this book contained nothing at all about any famous men. In order to right this literary oversight, Jonny will look at the lives of actually famous men in his brand new comedy show, Let Us Reappraise Famous Men. 

In this show (widely believed to be much better than the book that inspired its title), Jonny will explain why John Key loves Brooke Fraser, why Lancelot Brown was the Slash of 19th century landscape architecture, and where you can find a little bit of the Third Reich right here in Godzone. The audience will be amazed and amused as they laugh themselves to a bigger, manlier brain.

Taking in the good (Adam Yauch) and the bad (Jimmy Connors), Let Us Reappraise Famous Men is a look at fame and masculinity which is suitable for people of all fame levels and genders. Except Jimmy Connors. 

Jonny is a Wellington comedian. He has been nominated for various awards from the NZ Comedy Guild, NZ International Comedy Festival, NZ Fringe Festival and many others but has luckily staved off winning in order to hold out for a lifetime achievement award à la Peter O’Toole. After a year of performing steadily in Auckland and Wellington, Jonny made his NZ International Comedy Festival debut with the award-nominated (of course) Good Times with Cool Dudes in 2012.

He has also written and performed in the comedy shows Skoolnite (“Hilarious” – Salient) and The No Nonsense Parenting Show (‘Had me in stitches… TOO GOOD!‘ – WOTZON).

His latest scripted show, Signfeld and Freindz opens as part of the NZ Fringe Festival 2013. Let us Reappraise Famous Men is Jonny’s first solo stand-up comedy show.

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival  


Dates: Wed 1- Sat 4 May, 10 pm
Venue: Cavern Club, 22 Allan St, CBD
Tickets: $14 – $16 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK or

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The thinking woman’s crumpet?

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 02nd May 2013

Sadly relegated to the dungeon of the Cavern Club, a small intimate venue, but with interfering hissing noises, seating that can have obscured sight lines and ticketing problems, is Jonny Potts in Let Us Reappraise Famous Men, a show that clearly should be playing much bigger venues to much bigger crowds.

It’s early days yet and as a comedian Potts is just starting out, although he is a seasoned performer on the stage in the realm of theatre.

Filled with witty sound-bites for a well-read audience of music and book lovers, I would even hazard to say that, amidst the handsome wordplays and puns, he may well be the thinking woman’s crumpet, and while having a strong appeal to the generation that were teenagers in the 90s, his material does not exclude those outside of this time frame.

Famous men are reappraised, some in length, others briefly, from living men like John Key and Jimmy Connors to dead men like Cliff Twemlow – a man I’ve never heard of but who seems to deserve cult status somewhere in the world – Adam Yauch and Mitch Hedberg.

There is an odd moment when a famous woman is reappraised but all male reappraising is done within the safety and freedom created when someone refuses to engage in the intimidating rapist-sexist-racist-homophobic culture that has so characterised and tainted comedy as being the domain of white males for so many years.

How to be a white male doing comedy without being a white male doing comedy? All of this is addressed, in thoughtful moments of self-reflection that are also, as they should be, hilarious. 

I have no doubt that this comedian has the potential to become his own, our-era version of a Steven Wright or Mitch Hedberg himself.

[Note: this review replaces an earlier one written by the same reviewer.]


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