Sax Appeal

Q Theatre, The Vault, Auckland

17/05/2023 - 20/05/2023

NZ International Comedy Festival 2023

Production Details

Ben Cleland and Matt Parker: Writers and Performers

Tough Tiger Fist

If you haven’t heard of Tough Tiger Fist, you’re missing out. Ben Cleland and Matt Parker are two Waiuku country bumpkins, dishing out balls to the wall performances, stacked with belly laugh-inducing gags and captivating melodies to Auckland comedy goers for over five years.

SAX APPEAL is a hilarious musical journey through a post-covid, late-stage capitalist wasteland, that sees our two heroes on a quest to purchase the granddaddy of all woodwinds – the saxophone. Featuring all their fans’ favourite tunes, from an operatic ode to Matt’s hair loss, to a bombastic hip hop tribute to their most beloved Star Wars character. Once their mission is complete, they will use their power to put sax in the hands of those who really need it.

All proceeds made from this show go to MusicHelps – a charity that uses music to change the lives of over 60,000 New Zealanders in need by providing music therapy, engaging with troubled youths, and assisting New Zealand musicians during crisis and hardship. This is important to Tough Tiger Fist, as music has been a central part of both their comedy careers and personal lives. They hope to use this show to contribute to this worthy cause.

Tough Tiger Fist – SAX APPEAL
Auckland Dates: Wed 17 – Sat 20 May, 9.30pm
Venue: Vault at Q Theatre, Queen Street
Tickets: $16.50 – $25 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: // 09 309 9771

Ben Cleland and Matt Parker

Comedy , Theatre ,

50 minutes

A funny, surprising, direct and outrageous tonic for a tough week

Review by Penny Dodd 18th May 2023

It’s been a bit of a tough week. Even not-even-semi-professional reviewers get to have tough weeks, and this is one of them. It’s Wednesday night at 9.30 pm and we’re waiting for the doors to open for General Admission. Man, it had better be good.

It is!
It is funny, and surprising, and direct and outrageous.
It makes me laugh, a lot.

Tough Tiger Fist is Matt Parker and Ben Cleland: semi-professional comedians who would really like to be professional comedians, but they just need some money. They give us a fifty-minute set, although they really only had a forty five, or maybe a forty three minute one, so have to extend it from time to time. I’m not sure where the line between the set pieces and the asides starts and finishes, and who cares, that is how it is.

Late night Kiwi comedy: pretty laid back, with some very rude bits, and some songs, and some rap, and some other things too.

Matt is pretty darn good on the guitar and holds it together musically, while Ben brings in the extra colours including melodica, recorder, xylophone, and mini synth. The songs are originals and do the job well, mostly supporting the comedy but also with melodic invention and the occasional sly reference. 

The programme is constructed around set piece songs that seem to connect somehow. The subject matter includes: milking (from the point of view of the cow), John and Mary, the relative merit of cats and dogs (with audience participation), a heartfelt love song to Ashley Bloomfield, Star Wars, being bald, and some puns that just get worse and worse.

The song in praise of Chewbacca stands out as a favourite, close second is the ode to Ashley.

I really enjoy their double act, bouncing off each other, disarming with their relaxed delivery. Just the thing for a tough week. Highly recommended for a good time.


Paht (Pat) Satjipanon June 18th, 2023

The Pepsi Light version of the Flight of the Conchords indeed (I'm kidding, its Tough Tiger Fist baby)! I had a look at this review from Penny Dodd as I've been a loyal fan of the infamous duo for a while. I do admit that it is slightly difficult for me to write this from a non-biased perspective (I went to Ben's stag-do and we sat next to each other in Law School in Criminal Law because we were loners - I kid, Law school is uh, a fine time?). Tough Tiger Fist is full of millennial angst and is undoubtedly my kind of humour. Self-deprecating, laid back, and explores those deeper thoughts around random societal manners. They're different - they're chill, they play instruments and cover a wide range of topics. Heck, what else could you want from a show? Go Matt and Ben!

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