Lindauer Comedy Divas 08

Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Town Hall, Auckland

28/04/2008 - 04/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Though girl power may have faded much like the skimpy Union Jack dresses which became synonymous with the movement, female comedy is still as commanding as ever as this year’s Lindauer Comedy Divas event once again looks to show the men a thing or three. 

This glamorous event has been a cornerstone of the NZ International Comedy Festival and has provided audiences with a stunning array of local and international comediennes. Once more hosted by the Queen Bee of New Zealand comedy, Michele A’Court on its opening night in Wellington on April 27th and in Auckland April 28th,, The Festivals all girl line up will feature an international host also, as Julia Morris crosses over the ditch from Australia for the second Auckland showcase on  May 4th. 

This year’s Lindauer Comedy Divas include Irene Pink, Justine Smith, Penny Ashton, Jan Maree, Diane Spencer, Emma Olsen, Jim Stanton, Caroline E Waltz and more, all vying to steal the spotlight away from their male counterparts in the Crunchie Comedy Chamber. The show will also feature special appearances from Scottish comedian Janey Godley in Auckland and direct from England, the 2006 If.comedy Best Newcomer Award Winner Josie Long.

In 2007, both Diva shows sold out, so make sure to grab your waterproof mascara, your girlfriends and manbags and enjoy a night out with laughs and bubbles, courtesy of the night’s sponsors, Lindauer, giving away goody bags for all and major prizes on the night.

Oh yes. It’s ladies night and the feeling’s more than right!

Lindauer Comedy Divas plays:

Sun 27 April 7.30pm, Paramount Theatre
Hosted by Ms Michele A’Court and featuring local favourites Justine Smith, Caroline E Waltz, Penny Ashton, Jim Stanton, Emma Olsen and special UK guest Josie Long…plus more.
Tickets: Adults $32.50, Conc. $28.50, Groups 10+ $28.50 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: TICKETEK: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 245 5385) or at the Paramount 04 384 4080
Show Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Monday 28 April and Sunday 4 May 2008
7:30pm at the Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE®
Hosted by Michele A’Court on Mon 28 April and Julia Morris on Sun 4 May
Featuring local favourites Justine Smith, Penny Ashton, Jan Maree, Irene Pink, Diane Spencer alongside special international guests Janey Godley (Scotland) and Josie Long (England)… plus more.
Tickets: Adults $32.50, Concessions $28.50, Groups of 10+ $28.50 (service fees may apply) Booking:  TICKETEK: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 245 5385)
Show Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Viva la Divas!

Review by Nik Smythe 29th Apr 2008

Apparently, according to the insightful research of one Christopher Hichens, women don’t know how to be funny, being simply not genetically disposed to it.  So it stands to reason emcee (Mistress of ceremonies? Madam perhaps? …) Michelle A’Court wanted to call this show ‘The Christopher Hichens Memorial Women’s Comedy Showcase’.

Instantly disproving that controversial hypothesis, Michelle breaks the ice by regaling an eager tabled crowd with witty and often passively maniacal pontifications on the state of the world and it’s politics and people and so on.  She also introduces our illustrious lineup of the festival’s most celebrated local, international, young and… less young comediennes.

Local redhead Penny Ashton kicks off the guest list with what seems to be a best-of gig, doing classic bits I’d seen before over the years.  Ashton incorporates her trademark brand of clever, cynical, bawdy poetry that serves to define her comedic personality of desperate tryhard slapper.  She seemed to enjoy herself and the audience was warmly agreeable.

Next up young brit Josie Long, reviewed by Sian Robertson in her show last week Trying Is Good.  I’m glad to have had the chance to experience Long’s infectiously banal ravings of a young woman who’s put some really deep thought into some truly inane trivialities.  Her relentlessly cute and cheerful attitude is exemplified in her retort to the audience laughing at her dress sense: "Your laughing wounds my self esteem!" spoken in a bubbly, cheerful tone, almost chatty.  Truly hilarious, Long left us wanting more – both the blessing and curse of these showcase gigs is that nothing goes on for too long, but some things are over all too soon.

Final guest in the first half, Jan Maree appears as a rare treat, given the unfortunate cancellation of her scheduled show next week due to personal matters.  Maree is in typical form, perhaps more noticeably than most keeping her famous potty mouth mostly subdued due to the sponsor’s brief to avoid swearing.  Still, she keeps a happy crowd high with a lighthearted central theme of working with children, which she admits might seem scary to some parents whom she reassures with "It’s all right, they’re underprivileged so they won’t be any of yours!"  I laughed my privileged head off.

Second half. Michelle A’Court gets us back on track with some analysis of the women’s libido / sense of humour connection ("we laugh, we get horny, then we laugh again").  Then along comes the Pacific Island Princess Irene Pink, proud of the glamorous title even though it sounds a bit like a cruise liner.  A mountain of natural wit, Pink is not shy about extracting mirth from subjects like her size, her sexuality, her culture, what drugs she’s on ("anyone else on the P tonight?  …only 3 more sleeps ’til Christmas!").  Again, hilarious.

Next up Rose Matafeo comes direct from teen comedy showcase Class Comedians, and also appearing in this weeks Ad-LOL-escents at the Classic Basement.  Rose has just turned 16 years old apparently, although given her self-assurance and mature demeanor it wouldn’t surprise me if that was just part of the setup.  Matafeo’s fresh style and charming anecdotes mainly based on her childhood make her comparative lack of life experience a non-obstacle.  Not only is she the classiest and most sophisticated comedian I’ve seen in her age group, male or female, she’s got a darn sight more star quality than some of the hacks twice her age.

More class follows as the chic Diane Spencer spends her whole ten minutes earnestly sharing with us the singular tortured tale of her encounter with a chain-email. Her manic, paranoid, hyperanalytical ranting reminds me of that other paragon of tangental comedy bordering on the supernatural, Te Radar… except he’s a bloke of course, and (therefore?) not as classy or attractive.  In any case, Spencer’s refreshingly original piece was a highlight  and I’m keen to see more of her work in the future.

The final guest is longtime Scottish darling to the NZ Comedy Fest Janey Godley, who I’ll not talk too much about here since I’m reviewing her show Tell It Like It Is tonight (Tuesday).  Suffice to say she’s a large Scots woman with a pure talent for infecting crowds with laughter and based on her Diva spot I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone see it.

The whole show ran well over two hours which can be a bad thing but in this case was a delightfully good thing.  When experiencing such a concentration of oestrogen-driven humour I can’t help contemplating an issue which has previously arisen on this website:  Do our local female comedy artists sell themselves out with degrading routines just to have a hope for some attention in this male dominated arena? 

Judging by tonight’s class act I have to say not at all; quite the opposite.  I question the perception of people who find it degrading when women cover the same ‘gutteral’, scatological and sexual topics that have been the mainstay of men’s comedy for decades or more.  Do we still expect women to be cleaner, more pure and less vulgar than men in this day and age?  The sponsor appears to, with the restriction on swearing and all.  But that’s what these fine ladies are here for: to demolish any remnant of such absurd expectations once and for all. 

Viva la Divas!


nik smythe May 3rd, 2008

my apologies to Lindauer, it was my own presumption that the directive must have come from the sponsor. thank you for setting me straight there Michelle.

Michele ACourt May 2nd, 2008

Not a directive from the sponsor at all, but a guideline from the Festival that we all agreed on years ago when Divas first started - to make the show "corporate" in style and have a broad appeal. I'm not sure who suggested erroneously that the sponsor didn't like swearing - possibly "Miss Speaking". I think she was on in the second half. And you're right, comedians should never (and as far as I know, do never) allow a sponsor to restrict their freedom of speech. And of all the sponsors I have worked with over the years, I have to say Lindauer are the most generous and supportive - they love what we do every year.

neil furby April 30th, 2008

Since when has a sponsor had a say in the content of a comedy show. Bad form from them indeed.Yes Viva la Divas!

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