Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

29/04/2015 - 02/05/2015

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

06/05/2015 - 09/05/2015

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015

Production Details



He’s a household name, we know him, you know him and once again festival audiences shall indeed know him. After a sell-out season in 2014, 7 Days Star Paul Ego returns to the stage with Phenomenuts.  He’ll have you laughing out of your seats, and maybe your pants, when he takes the stage at Auckland’s Q Theatre 6- 9 May, and Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse 29 April–2 May.
Following his success with Amazingballs in 2014, Paul once again grabs comedy by the tender-parts for another hour of stand-up from NZ’s funniest ‘make-it-all-up-as-he-goes-along’ comedian. See the man described as “7Days quickest wit” live and in the flesh. In fact, if you buy a ticket now, Paul promises to bring some flesh with him.
Paul is widely recognised for his weekly appearance on 7days, but this is a man of phenomenal talents – make that Phenomenuts talent. One of New Zealand’s most in demand corporate performers, he’s no shrinking lily when it comes to entertaining. From his past experience with The Rock’s The Morning Rumble and hosting last year’s 2 Degrees Comedy Convoy New Zealanders can’t get enough of the Ego. Don’t miss the latest instalment from this nutty professor.
A skilful and powerful performance by NZ’s top professional comedian” – Theatreview
“Ego is undeniably the master of improv and his banter with the audience showcases his razor-sharp wit” – Yahoo Entertainment
As part of the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, for some great laughs, grab your favourite people and join us from 24 April – 17 May. 

For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to

Dates: Wednesday 6 May – Saturday 9 May, 7pm
Venue: Rangatira, Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
Tickets: $26 – $30(booking fees apply)
Bookings: 09 309 9771 //
Dates: Wednesday 29 April – Saturday 2 May, 7pm
Venue: Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace
Tickets: $26 – $30(booking fees apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) //

Comedy ,

1 hour

A genius in his own inimitable way

Review by Vanessa Byrnes 08th May 2015

Paul Ego is a funny, intelligent man. This hour-long show at Q Theatre draws on stories, random anecdotes and tales of excess and failure in a charming and accessible way. 

Dressed as a giant squirrel that has ridiculously phallic overtones, Ego sets the tone for the show: eccentric, slightly boysie ‘dick’ humour combined with clever observations about midlife realities. He’s a married man and father to two “male boys – the best kind” – and this deeply informs his perspective. He’s the guy you’d want to sit next to at a dinner party.

Ego is adept at riffing on themes of absurdity, and this is the more risky material that I enjoy. A highlight is the ACC-meets-50 Shades of Grey setup. A roll call is a particularly clever device to capture audience involvement and to invoke a raft of topics to unpick. And, I tell ya, the man can sing! 

This isn’t side-splitting laughter, and having seen Ego on the fabulous, well-edited 7 Days, I expected more swiftness as he hits the comedy straps. But Ego is a genius in his own inimitable way and the show is testament to his talent as a performer as much as a comic talent; unfazed by a technical mishap and able to drive through. This is solid comedy. 

I’m still not sure what squirrels have to do with the show, but a $300 squirrel costume is a great leveller, if nothing else. That is Ego’s talent; connecting with the ‘everyman’ on a Thursday night at 7pm. Great fun.


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Falls short of expectations

Review by Simon Howard 30th Apr 2015

Paul Ego is a comedian with a profile and platform in New Zealand which brings with it the pressure to deliver an hour of stand-up which meets HIS audience’s expectations. This is a chance to see the man described by his publicity as “7 Days quickest wit” and New Zealand’s funniest “make-it-all-up-as-he-goes-along” comedian live in the flesh. Unfortunately this opening night in Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse can’t help but feel a little flat and underwhelming. 

Maybe it’s that the show is almost 15 minutes late in starting, a technical delay from the ticketing agency delaying entry. Ego jokes that waiting in a hot and heavy costume for so long has resulted in significant weight loss. Maybe it’s that this is the first performance of a new show, on what is traditionally a quiet night in this festival (i.e. you can get 20% discounts for Wednesday shows).

There are numerous reasons why Phenomenuts feels a little flat and underwhelming. Perhaps the main one is that the stories Ego recounts don’t tick the boxes required to make me laugh. Maybe it is because I am not the right age or demographic. Much of the hour consists of stories which have occurred in his day to day life as a 49-year old television personality with a wife and kids living in affluent Devonport. I am a 22-year old in Wellington with no such commitments.

The parts of the show which most strike a chord for me revolve around squirrels, sharks and wasps. When he is talking about birthday sex, calling home after a few drinks and discussing the nativity story I can empathise and go along with the story, but only to a point.  

His description of drinking red wine at a house party instantly takes me back to a very similar tale he told in last year’s Best of the Fest. His use of a roll call includes some witty insights, but it feels like Ego is battling against an audience who, with the occasional exception, provide a lukewarm response. I recall he used a PowerPoint presentation to better effect last year. 

As an observational and topical comedian, Ego picks understandable subjects to discuss. However, Fifty Shades of Grey no longer feels like a current issue, and the vast amount of political material to poke fun at is almost nowhere to be seen (the occasional reference to John Key and his ponytail scandal aside).Despite this, from listening to and observing those around me it is clear there are some people in the audience who are enjoying themselves thoroughly.  

If you are familiar with Paul Ego from 7 Days and enjoy his contributions as team captain on the show, you may well be satisfied with Phenomenuts.  If you enjoy observational comedy then you could do a lot worse. In my opinion though, this performance falls some way short of last year’s AmazingBalls show.


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