Justine Smith: The Return of the Jussi

The Transmission Room, Auckland

07/05/2008 - 10/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


This year sees the triumphant return of award winning New Zealand comedian Justine Smith to the 2008 NZ International Comedy Festival.  The Transmission Room will play host to one of the premier local talents, celebrating her return to Aotearoa from two years in Australia. 

Following on from 2003’s Billy T Award, Justine created and starred in the hit "This is What We Call the Justine Smith Show.  On the wings of this success, Justine moved to Melbourne to explore further comedy avenues and crescents.

After two years based in Melbourne, including tours around Australia and occasionally back home, Justine was invited back to New Zealand for the 2007 NZ International Comedy Festival as part of the nationwide Puppetry of the Penis Tour. It was during this time that she was struck with intense feelings of patriotism and national pride, often manifesting itself into Tourette’s-like outbursts of the national anthem. 

This show will be a fast-paced, action-packed, multi-media, musical extravaganza, showcasing the highs and lows of Justine’s recent journeys. This year’s show will not only leave you breathless with laughter, but also a passenger on a heartfelt and charming ride. 

With her rapid-fire delivery and inability to stay on track, resulting in hilarious asides and ad-lib, Justine is at the top of her game" – theatreview.org.nz

"A funny and engaging performer, who creates a vibrant world for the audience to share" – NZ Herald

Dates: May 7th – 10th, 7pm
Venue: The Transmission Room (Corner Mayoral Drive and Queen St), Auckland
Tickets: Adults $20, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $16 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration: 1 hour

1hr, no interval

Slick entertainment with bonuses

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 08th May 2008

Justine Smith’s Festival show is a little bit of everything. Just as the pamphlet promises, The Return Of the Jussi involves action, multi media and music.  Thankfully the core of the hour is still good ole Jussi doing gritty stand up – what she does best.

On saying that, I doubled over with laughter during many of her short ‘film-ettes’, each one depicting imagined significant moments from her life. Not only are they well shot, they boast an impressive cast, with cameo performances from well know faces. But of course Smith is the star.

Stand out moments include her botched attempt to end in all by throwing herself over a cliff; her own medical drama; her soft focus soap opera blond wig moment alongside little Dai Henwood and Kermit’s cameo.

Smith’s childhood friend from Christchurch, Chris (Bray? Gray? Grey? Sorry, missed it in the voice over…) opens the night as the surprise warm up act. A friendly man, his short routine is cheerful, though at times borderes on bad taste, judging from the reaction of the older, suited crowd. However, he hits his stride with some discerning political commentary on recent developments across the ‘dutch’, followed by good interaction with members of the audience.

A further unannounced bonus comes in the form of sassy Amanda Billings, of Shortland Street fame, who shows she is not only in very fine voice, but is a dab hand on the ukulele. While it is lovely to hear her and Smith sing Haere Mai at the top of the night, and 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton at the end, both songs are an odd addition to Smith’s night of comedy, essentially because they are delivered straight, with not a smidgeon of humour in the mix. Gets the toes a-tappin’ I suppose …

Smith has an early time slot and her opening night audience is very polite, sober and appreciative (she mocked us for our excellent ‘golf clap’). Despite this, Smith rocks on, unaffected, and delivers a highly entertaining, slick night of comedy.

Smith’s trademark crazy eyes are still in the mix, but this show contains a lot of new material and a more seasoned view on life – in particular, her life. Melbourne men and Greek women both get a lashing, as does her ex boyfriend. Members of her family, getting older, growing a beard, one night stands, and er… trying to get back to being wholesome, are also in her entertaining combo.

If you’re heading out for one more festival show this week, head to The Return of the Jussi for a bloody good night out. 


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