Nick Gibb: Pakehas Be All Like This

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

16/05/2011 - 21/05/2011

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

10/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

Production Details

A potentially misleading, confusing show title that was supposed to be a self explanatory, ironic subversion of a ubiquitous comedy cliché.

Worldy raconteur, soliloquist, and professional dissolute Nick Gibb makes his hilarious, Billy T Award nominated festival debut with Pakehas Be All Like This. The show opens in Wellington on May 10, and Auckland on May 16.

Nick’s comedy combines trenchant, often absurdist observational material with incisive, tangential anecdotes covering everything from waiting alongside his Grandmother to be shot by an Israeli soldier, to the terror and excitement of sex in shark infested waters, to being on the dole in Palmerston North.

Nick has Tourette’s Syndrome, but not the sweary/shouty kind. Mostly he just twitches, blinks, shifts his limbs uncomfortably, and has trouble holding eye contact. This isn’t as much of an issue on stage, since the audience is bathed in forgiving, anonymous darkness, and the strange combination of adrenaline and Zen-like calm that he feels on stage tends to mitigate his symptoms. The opposite is true of job interviews, dates, and the operation of heavy machinery. The healing laughter and applause of strangers fills the void that childhood taunts left in his soul, but then, this is true of all comedians. The swearing kind of Tourette’s is called “coprolalia”, from the Greek “lalia”, meaning speech, and “copro” meaning filth, or faeces. It effects only about one in ten people with Tourette’s. The more you know. 

Alongside stand-up comedy, Nick is a writer, actor, and filmmaker. He recently played one of his heroes, Peter Sellers, in “Go On Spike”, a play he co-wrote with Peter Hawes, about a nervous breakdown Spike Milligan suffered while recording The Goon Show. Nick has made a feature length documentary called “Once Upon a Time In The West Bank”, and is the co-creator of the popular webcomic “Dead Philosophers In Heaven”. In 2010 he won the Wellington Raw Comedy Quest. 
“Nick Gibb was a revelation.” – Guardian Manawatu
“He is annoyingly f***ing good” – Andrew O’Neill
“Inspired… Gibb was on fire from the moment he took the stage” – Manawatu Standard. 

Dates:            10 May – 14 May, 7pm
Venue:            The Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian Streets
Tickets:           Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 10+ $15
Bookings:       0800 TICKETEK or  

Dates:            16 May – 21 May, 7.15pm
Venue:            The Classic Studio, Level One, 321 Queen St
Tickets:           Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 10+ $15
Bookings:       0800 TICKETEK or 
Duration:        1 hour   


Likeable, disarming and clever

Review by Robbie Ellis 13th May 2011

Nick Gibb is pretty new on the comedy scene. Hailing from Palmerston North (and still living there), I first saw him at a Fringe Bar raw night a couple of years ago. His act seemed remarkably well-formed from the get-go and this year he’s up for the Billy T Award. 

The show title is a good reflection of his humour: Pakehas Be All Like This contains a whole bunch of odd juxtapositions of language, and Nick’s fond of this in his show. He switches register to good comic effect; he’s intelligent and earnest; he’s not afraid of the intellectual approach. 

He’s got some good sequences about bogan meataxes yelling abuse from cars, actor jobs for corporate training sessions, and taking part in a Las Vegas poker tournament while high. These are funny with witty observations. He finds links between the unlikely (with plenty of meta-awareness) and his material is generally pithy and well-crafted.

Gibb is also not afraid to launch into stories which aren’t laugh-a-minute. A case in point is a trip to Palestine with his grandmother which brought forth numerous anecdotes (although I feel these need work; we need more of an overarching theme to this section to make it more well-rounded and affecting).

What disappointed me was his lack of connection with the audience. Tonight’s crowd was small (around 20) and it’s no easy task to get a flow going without that critical mass of response. I’ve seen him light up more with a larger crowd; his personality is heightened, the performance is just that bit more electric, and combined with his cleverest material he’s onto a winner.

The problem is that his material often lends itself more to one-way delivery than true two-way rapport with the audience. By two-way I don’t mean inviting and responding to hecklers or asking the generic “Anyone here from Wellington tonight?”, but feeding off the vibe and reading the mood of the crowd. It felt like the run of his show was rigidly fixed, without much scope for variation or impromptu reaction. 

Nick Gibb has some great material. He’s likeable, disarming and clever, and his approach can and should find a niche. Fans of well-crafted language and clever wit should definitely check it out. But he’s not a fully formed professional comedian just yet. He could be, but I think we need to feel a little more investment in his material, a little more passion, a little less detachment from what he’s talking about. And some strong opinions too. Jeremy Elwood, for instance, is living proof that intelligent, informed, thinking comedy can be successful in New Zealand.

Gibb has the mind and the personality to make it work, but he needs more time and development. Still, I’ll continue to watch with interest – we should expect great things from him down the line. 
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