Simon McKinney: Land Of The Long White Clown

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

22/04/2008 - 26/04/2008

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

30/04/2008 - 04/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Finally, the show we’ve been waiting for.

After a long wait we finally have a solo show from one of the country’s top comedy talents here in New Zealand. Having been performing comedy for ten years Simon is vastly more experienced than his youthful looks would betray. With over 300 gigs in the UK, a show in the Mecca of comedy The Edinburgh Fringe and multiple appearances on TV’s Pulp Comedy it’s about time New Zealand got to see a full hour from this vastly talented performer and comedian. 

Simon’s ability has seen him nominated for the 2008 Billy T Award. This is after he was voted by his peers as the 2007 Best Male Comedian at the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards. This is truly a unique position and has certainly put the spotlight on Simon for 2008. Undoubtedly people are expecting big things from him as he moves to the next level. Being asked to perform in the 2007 Crunchie Comedy Gala and the 2008 Comedy Convoy are sure indications of the belief in his skill at making people laugh. 

Simon’s life has been varied, from the voice of an animated fish to a working in a news agents in Edinburgh train station he hasn’t quite seen it all, but a lot of what he’s seen is often hilarious. A natural comedian coupled with an unnatural curiosity for the human race and all its quirks. The Jamaican, the German, the Scotsman and of course the Kiwi check out operator all give us a taste. His performance at the 2007 Crunchie Comedy Gala garnered praise from audience and critics alike. "I’m still giggling about Simon McKiney" said the NZ Herald 

His impersonation of The Check Out Girl at the Warehouse hit a note that sent people into fits. It is his ability to mimic voices, accents and personalities along with his astute observations that have found him become a favourite of audiences. From Glasgow to Dunedin, Simon strikes a chord wherever he performs. This is no overnight sensation. Simon has been honing his style and craft both here and overseas and after performing alongside Steve Wrigley in Wellington as part of last years NZ International Comedy Festival is more than ready to deliver an hour of sublime stand up comedy.

Dates: Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26 April, 7pm 
Venue: San Francisco Bathhouse, Cuba St, City 
Tickets: Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 6+ $15 (service fees may apply) 
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK, ticket price? 
Show Duration: 1 hour 

Dates: Wednesday 30 April – Saturday 3 May, 10pm & Sunday 4 May, 7.30pm
Venue: The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, City
Tickets: Adults $18 / Conc. $15 / Groups 6+ $15 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK,
Show Duration: 1 hour 

1hr, no interval

Intelligent gem

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 01st May 2008

Simon McKinney is a really nice, polite guy – like the ‘boy next door’ you know Mum & Dad would love to meet. But can nice & polite be funny?  Oh yes.

Even though occasionally his routine feels slightly over rehearsed – right down to the last pause and intentional word-muddle – his content and delivery are refreshingly upbeat, quirky and entertaining.

Choosing to concentrate on his own experiences, McKinney uses his trade mark vocal characters and facial expressions to cheerfully share entertaining memories of working and travelling in the UK; working as a Jeff Wilson Mascot in his home town of Dunedin; Radio 4XD; his man-hating History teacher and her obsession with his compass (disturbing but hilarious) and the ill-fated deflated red M&M from Planet2.

His mood is carefree and light-hearted – even the retelling of the ‘leaving it too late to have a dump’ story, is done with that likable optimistic exuberance and with empathy for those who have shared a similar experience (such a boy thing…), rather than gross shock-value. 

A keen observer of human behaviour, he re-enacts and embellishes the reactions of kids, parents and other interesting characters, with excellent comic timing and the skill of a seasoned actor.

Stand out moments include ‘uptight angry women with penetrating gaze’; ‘excessively made-up old woman who swears like trouper’; ‘Jim Henson channelling Miss Piggy through a drunk Yoda’ and the ‘pirate-parent.’

Finishing on his ‘drunken man delegated to call a taxi’ routine, his appreciative audience give him anything but a really nice, polite response – we cheer heartily and applaud loudly.

This intelligent gem is worth venturing out in the cold for.


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From impressive to genius

Review by Patrick Davies 28th Apr 2008

Billy T. James nominee Simon McKinney finished his Wellington season on Saturday with Land of the Long White Clown. In a show made up of mostly new material he kept the full crowd laughing from go to whoa.

McKinney is best known for his ‘funny voices’ which he uses with great skill to bring to the stage a range of characters and experiences, from over made-up aggressive old people to an hilarious sequence called ‘Parents of the Caribbean’.

His set starts with some ‘poo’ material that has me worried we’re in for toilet humour but he has us in stitches as we recognise the pain of being caught in extremis in public. This, and his sequence about make-up addicted pensioners, is his weakest material. He even currently ends both sequences by admitting there is no punch line as yet. But his charm and stage skills get him by where other comics could have easily failed.

I have seen McKinney over the years and was impressed with the smoothness of his set. He was prone to lengthy somewhat rambling sets but on Saturday night he was tight and the transitions through the material were seamless.

His ability to ‘perform’ his characters is one of his greatest talents which he uses with aplomb. He’s a natural performer with some quirky views on life who really knows how to handle an audience.

His final section on ‘The Drunk Taxi Call’ is genius and has the crowd (who might later be doing exactly what he was doing) hooting with laughter.

McKinney, (along with Jeremy Elwood and Dai Henwood) is being managed by the new company Notorious Management and the change is noticeable. One of the nicest and most talented performers hitting his stride, it won’t be long before he is one of those comics headlining festivals around the world.


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