Noor Razzak and Emma Olsen: The Double Header

Bluenote Bar, Wellington

08/05/2008 - 10/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


"THE DOUBLE-HEADER!" is a double act of stand-up comedy goodness and tomfoolery featuring the brightest Wellington stand-up performers Raw Comedy Quest Winners Noor Razzak (2005,2006 Wellington) and Emma Olsen (2007, National). Both Emma and Noor mine their experiences, memories and childhood for material chronicling their tremendous journey through comedy and have decided to join forces to deliver a stand-up show like no other! The show runs for 50 minutes, with Emma opening the show and Noor closing it each night. The show will feature their best material plus a plethora of new material developed for the show.

Noor Razzak has been performing stand-up comedy for 3 years, winning the 2005 and 2006 Wellington Raw Competition. He’s recipiant of the Wellington Comedy Awards "Best Offensive Gag" award in 2005 and "Most Improved Comedian" in 2006. Noor has toured around various cities in New Zealand performing to crowds as well as regular appreances at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington were he headlined in October 2007.

Emma Olsen has only been doing comedy for over a year, earning a place in the Rookie Competition in 2007 she progressed to win the 2007 National Raw Compeition, she’s performed at "The Divas" in the 2007 NZ Comedy Festival  and has performed many times at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington. She is currently developing a brilliant stand-up act that will be showcased in "The Double-Header!". 


Dates: May 8, 9 & 10 8.45pm
Venue: Blue Note Bar, 191-195 Cnr Cuba & Vivian St.
Tickets: Adults $15 Conc. $12 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: Ticketek 0800 842 538 or online
Show Duration: 50 minutes.  

50 min, no interval

Plenty of potential

Review by Thomas LaHood 11th May 2008

Emma Olsen was one of my favourite acts in last year’s festival.  I described her performance at the Lindauer Comedy Divas as "bright and brilliant… leaves the audience breathless."  Not so here at the Bluenote where she instead leaves us bewildered.

Olsen’s wide-eyed, faux-ironic delivery is still intact and with the right gags she pulls big laughs, but most of the material on display in this set just isn’t serving her.  She opts mostly for deadpan punchlines of the "…so we ate it" variety.  These can occasionally be devastating, and her timing is accurate if a little rushed, but too often the audience is left thinking "what was that all about?"

Olsen seems underprepared and sloppy; Where at other times she has turned her youthful style to her advantage, here the anecdotes of teenage drinking and idiocy are ‘you had to be there’ moments, remeniscent of conversations with actual teenagers.  A few more zingers and sharp observations could help to lift this out of banality.

However, she still clearly has the capacity to present original goods, as evidenced by a series of photos documenting the time a crane fell on her house.  This is the best part of the set, not drawing the biggest laughs but demonstrating Olsen’s under-exercised creative talent.

Second act Noor Razzak enters with gusto and delivers a high-energy set that contains all the substance and solidity lacking in Olsen’s.  His style is perhaps not so intriguing, but he has certainly put in the effort to make it succeed.

Razzak’s material centres mostly on his Iraqi-American heritage, which makes for ripe pickings.  He keeps the gags pumping, but there is a heavy-handedness to them which feels a little superficial at times.  Razzak is in a unique position to bring some real truth to his humour, but instead he plumps for overstated ironical stereotyping of himself as a hairy terrorist.

It is funny, though, and his typically over-the-top powerpoint presentation (of self at age 3 with massive moustache) gets a big response.  Full credit to Razzak for his energy and delivery.  He plays big and it gets results.

I’m a little unsure what brought these two together, aside from their status as ‘up and comers’.  As such, there is plenty of potential there to keep an eye on, but as a show in its own right The Double Header is still too rough and raw to propel Olsen and Razzak into the big league.  


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