BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

02/05/2014 - 03/05/2014

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Understudy Bar, Wellington

08/02/2014 - 08/02/2014

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Understudy Bar, Wellington

19/09/2013 - 19/09/2013

NZ Improv Festival 2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Bear witness an improv battle like no other. Each player must pun for their lives – using wit, innuendo and worldplay to survive the challenges laid out by Madame Pandemonium. Who will crack? Who will gag? Who will be best equipped to make sport of the one liners?

Hosted at Understudy this will be a late night party, with plenty of repartee.  Doors open at 10.30pm for all suckers of PUNishment.

Warning: May contain dad jokes 

With 17 shows in 5 days, the New Zealand Improv Festival is bound to tickle your tastebuds.

This event is $10 door sales only – see you at Understudy! 

Date(s) – 19/09/2013 
11:00 pm – 11:55 pm

NZ Fringe 2014 

Understudy Bar – BATS Theatre
8 February
1 hr

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

A late night party, with plenty of repartee, the performers will be joined by guest musician Stevie Punder who will provide his best lounge grooves to accompany the gags.

Pundemonium is back by popular demand, after debuting last September at the New Zealand International Improv Festival. “I was surprised by the reaction of the audience members to the show,” says game show hostess Madame Pandemonium. “I thought that it might descend into a series of groans but we had punters coming up to us after the show to complain of sore ribs from laughing so much.”

Pundemonium plays at Understudy at Bats on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd May. Warning – may contain dad jokes.  

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.

For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to comedyfestival.co.nz

Date: Fri 2 & Sat 3 May, 11pm
Venue: BATS Understudy, Cnr Cuba & Dixon Sts
Tickets: $12 – $17
Bookings: 04 802 4175 // bats.co.nz
Restrictions: R18 venue 

55 mins

Stand-out moments amid the chaos

Review by Sophie Melchior 04th May 2014

The Pundemonium improv battle of wits has arrived for the Wellington comedy festival. Hosted by Madame Pandemonium and her able assistant Thea Saurus, the night is split into two streams: the knock out death match between five local comedians and the improv battle match involving local Wellington improvisers.

On the night I attend (Friday) Alice Brine, Jared Bosecke, Jonny Potts, Tim Batt and Joel Handsby duke it out to be crowned the winner. Across three rounds they have to out-pun and out-comic the others.   

Round one sees all 5 comedians test their wits against the age old ‘Yo Mama’ joke. Each is given a holiday period – Easter, Yule, Halloween and Waitangi Day – to riff off and put through the pun mill to greater and lesser effect.

Without a doubt the standout performance of this round is Jonny Potts, who puns his way through multiple ‘Yo Mama’ jokes about Waitangi day. He takes out this first round and stays standing, along with Tim Batt and Joel Handsby.

With only three of the original five comedians now remaining they contest has heated up. This round involves coming up with puntastic names for food stores. Fish and chips, bakeries and juice bars all have amazing names invented by mashing them together with pop culture references. Jonny Potts is the clear winner again with this juice bar names. It is a shame that Tim Batt, despite his clear comic timing and talent, has turned up drunk.

The final round between Jonny Potts and Tim Batt requires them to craft a punful story. The catch? It has to be about a topic – assigned by Mme P herself – and has to actually make some narrative sense. In the end Jonny is beaten by Tim’s story about cars.  

Before each of the comedian rounds local Wellington improvisers play a series of pun games. A number of the improvisers are clearly very talented, but I feel the format breaks down in this portion. The feeling of organised chaos descends into just chaos. There are too many people on stage and the general feeling is that they are not overly sure what it is that’s expected of them. 

Overall Pundemonium feels a little like you’ve been invited into a comedian’s in-joke. There are some truly stand out moments, but for the most part it is a little hard to tell whether anyone really knows what’s going on.


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Some pundas walk into a bar …

Review by Deborah Eve Rea 09th Feb 2014

Following its success in the NZ Improv Festival, Pundemonium returns to a packed house of delighted pun-fanatics. Hostesses, Madame Pundemonium (Hilaire Carmody) and Thea Saurus (Jen O’Sullivan), gather the enthused 10.30pm crowd and lay out the rules.

There are two interwoven competitions: one for The Improvisors and one for the Comedians. One of each group will be crowned Pun King / Pun Queen. Carmody and O’Sullivan hand out party poppers to audience members for when a “spectacular pun” may leave one a tad over-excited.  Any release of poppers grants the comedian /improviser bonus points. 

The audience are given permission to come onstage to get any puns they’ve been stowing away, off their chest. Those shared largely aren’t actually puns but we all cheer them regardless. 

Competing for the Comedians’ crown tonight are Jonny Potts, Dan Shenton (who admits that he doesn’t know what a pun is), Sanjay Parbhu, Gerard Paapu and Neil Sinclair (who claims to have won a silver medal for puns in London). 

The Improvisors provide about 15 members of their group to battle in “sudden death” style rounds. Their first challenge is to finish the joke “a (blank) walked into a bar”. They’re at a loss as to why a panda would walk into a bar and bearly a third are left on stage.  

The comedians are tasked to deliver as many “Yo’ Daddy” jokes as possible around their given theme. The first party popper of the night bursts at Sanjay Parbhu’s “Your daddy’s so literate he doesn’t urinate – he onomatopoeias.”  Sanjay’s taken a risk in delivering his puns with a faux-American accent, channelling Mr T. I pity the fool as it overpowers his diction and we miss some of his puns.

The audience’s most loved pun is Gerard Paapu’s “Your daddy’s so strong he doesn’t have triceps – it’s do or do not, there is no tri.” After adding up the scores we say goodbye to Sanjay and Dan who are rewarded gold star stickers for their efforts. 

For their next assignment, The Improvisers channel CSI’s Caruso (sunglasses provided) and deliver murder-victim puns. A waitress who “got served” is met with a groan but the crowd eats up Greg Ellis’s “Menu (Men knew) her – one of them killed her.” 

In the ingeniously titled ‘Poppadum Preach’, the remaining comedians pen restaurant names using puns related to pop-culture. Gerard Paapu is first to take the plate and leaves the crowd hungry for more with “You Can Go Your Own Huevos Rancheros.”

Neil gets cooking with “Game Meats of Thrones” but his “Chris-Pizza-Rea” doesn’t quite cut the mustard for tonight’s audience. Jonny Potts serves up Vegetarian, “You Can’t Curry Lamb” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Mangoes”.

The Improvisers are whittled down to Ian Harcourt, Greg Ellis, Olly Probert and Hayley Webster who compete in “Punderdrone”, jousting puns until they are buzzed. After the buzzers are maxed, finalists Greg Ellis and Olly Probert shape puns into pickup lines. Greg Ellis forfeits, relenting “I’ve been married for ten years – I’ve got nothing.”

In the Comedians’ final round, punning for the crown are Gerard Paapu and Jonny Potts who must work in as many themed puns into a speech as possible. Gerard’s “dog breed” puns come up short-haired to Jonny Potts’ “Girl’s names” who Winnies the crown 22-12.

Pundemonium is not only great fun but also a punderful opportunity to see our local comic talent share the stage.


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Razing the bar?

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 20th Sep 2013

As you can imagine, there are two ways a pun-off battle can go, either horribly wrong or wrong. 

Fortunately, the whole thing involves some stellar comedians and experienced performers and improvisers, so it all goes only wrong. Which is great, because it is the late show at Understudy [the Bats Out-of-Site cabaret lounge space by the bar], where everyone knows everyone and the whole thing plays out like a rather sophisticated, well-organised drinking game.

As we all drink, the puns get worse and conversely, more funny.

Comedians Jonny Potts, Gerard Paapu, Tito and Sam Smith are all given ample time to prepare jokes between rounds of wildly furious instant punning, as all performers from the Improv Festival are quickly eliminated. The three finalists are Rik Brown, Matt Powell and Jimmy Donovan.

I am saddened that the women go out almost immediately. Are we not as good at punning on the spot, or is it to do with the first round being Schwarznegger-themed and we’re just not as well-versed in Arnie films?

The ‘professionals’ then take to the stage for a prepared round of ‘nice yo mama jokes’, in honour of Women’s Suffrage Day of course. “Your mama’s so angelic she calls Los Angeles the city of me.” “Your mama’s so tech savvy she sends you letters through TCP so she knows that you got them.”

Partially judged for quantity, points can also be awarded for quality if audience members let off a party popper during the set. Jennifer O’Sullivan, playing the charming Thea Saurus in a dragon costume, tallies the pops.

While the four comedians frantically scribble notes for their next turn, the instant death battles between all improvisers carry on, with Wellingtonians seeming to stay in the longest. Perhaps it’s something about playing on your home turf, in front of all your friends.

A highlight for me is a series of “99 miniature cows walk into a bar …” jokes, purely for the absurdity and cuteness of the imagery.

Incidental music is provided by Robbie Ellis as Stevie Punder on keyboard and trombone (what?), whose sense of musical comedic timing and delivery is impeccable. And if you ever want someone to facilitate ANY kind of high-end drinking game in the bar ever again, Hilaire Carmody’s Madame Pandemonium comes highly recommended, and I will be there. 

At 11pm, I don’t want to think too hard: drunken puns are just fine.


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