Simon McKinney: My Time as a Talking Fish

The Garden Club, 13b Dixon Street, Wellington

27/04/2010 - 01/05/2010

Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar, Dunedin

24/03/2010 - 27/03/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Production Details

A TRANSFORMATION FROM FISH TO GROWN UP At 31 Simon McKinney has had a somewhat peculiar and intriguing life thus far. One with diverse and interesting facets that until now have been stewing away in the back of his comedy mind and now, finally, make their way out onto the stage. Simon’s natural curiosity for the peculiar things in life have seen him become a favourite with New Zealand audiences, and with “My Time as a Talking Fish” we see the result of his take on his own growth as a person and as a comedian.

One of Simon’s first jobs was as the voice of Hamish, the Scottish talking fish on kids TV show “Squirt”. Thus started Simon’s career of making people laugh. The stories of his development from talking fish to a proper grown up form the basis for this retrospective look at Simon’s progress through life.

Many people know Simon as the voices guy having seen him on TV2’s Big Comedy Gala, TV3’s AotearoHA and Comedy Central’s Bits, that he is and so much more. Whether it’s the Queen, the check out lady or a Glaswegian work mate, it all started with Hamish the talking fish. 

And now Simon has grown up. His astute observations and sublime characterization form the foundation for a comedian who has matured and come of age. Don’t be fooled by the voices, this is a comedian of the highest quality that consistently delivers brilliant stand up and is a guaranteed laugh any day of the week.

Following on from the success of his 2008 show “Land of the Long White Clown” and his 2009 installment “Tells a Bit of a Yarn” the 2007 NZ Comedy Guild Best Male Comedian brings his latest hour of perfectly pitched, hilarious and inspired stand up

*Proud purveyors of Fine Comedy, keeping it Notorious since 9.15am

Dunedin Fringe 
Dates: Wednesday 24 – Saturday 27 March, 6pm
Venue: Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar
Tickets: Adults $18, Conc. & Groups 6+ $14
Bookings: Ticket Direct, 03 477-8597,  

Dates: Tues 27 April – Saturday 1 May, 7pm
Venue: The Garden Club, 13 Dixon St
Tickets: Adults $25, Conc. & Groups 10+ $23
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK,
Show duration:   1 hour
Dates: Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 May, 7pm
Venue: The Elliot Stables, 39 Elliot St, City
Tickets: Adults $25, Conc. & Groups 10+ $23
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK,
Show duration: 1 hour

Highly engaging

Review by Priyanka Bhonsule (Hutt News) 28th Apr 2010

Simon McKinney is a likeable guy; so likeable, in fact, that you don’t begrudge him the poo jokes (there are a few).

McKinney’s tightly scripted act traces his journey from being a film student in Dunedin, being offered the role of talking fish ‘Hamish’ on children’s TV show Squirt, to present day as an established stand-up comedian.

His uncanny ability to pin down the voices and accents of nearly everyone make him accessible – McKinney could be your grandma, your dad, your four-year-old niece or that stewardess you saw on an Air New Zealand flight. The rapid switching between these characters is also impressive.

McKinney’s theory on Bob Dylan’s song-writing is hilarious and definitely pegged as a highlight (I’ll never be able to listen to Dylan the same way again).

While the Garden Club is pretty cavernous as a venue with its high ceilings and the performer on quite a raised stage, McKinney doesn’t let that stop him from engaging with the audience.

With an hour of impressions and pretty funny yarns, McKinney’s show should definitely be on your ‘must-see’ comedy checklist.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Warm, amusing, likeable

Review by Sharon Matthews 26th Mar 2010

I am always prepared to like a comedian who has made a living from voicing a cartoon fish called Hamish. Simon McKinney didn’t disappoint me; the man is, in a word, cute. If he was a puppy, he would be a golden Labrador. Blonde, energetic, likeable, and would probably wee on your shoes.

He also defused any residual anxiety I might have felt about the dangers of front row positioning by explaining he is always very nice to his audiences. And, since McKinney’s a Dunedin boy, we then had a nice chat about whether the local crazy people were still around. Although this intimate approach could possibly have backfired on him, as there was a momentary danger that he would have problems in getting the audience to STOP talking.

I loved this show. McKinney’s comic routine consists of gently humorous stories based upon his observation of small incidents: visiting a school and watching deaf children ‘whisper’, by signing with their hands under their clothes; the dangers of ‘crazy eye’ in old people … Every story is acted out in front of us complete with the appropriate funny voices, which is hardly surprising given his previous job.

I obviously have an infantile sense of humour myself, as I found McKinney’s intimate anecdotes about the small embarrassments of sneezing and farting immensely satisfying. As was his yarn about an unfortunate female friend, a small piece of poo, and a room full of rugby watching men.

This is a man who loves to inspect the small details of modern culture: Kermit’s mid-career voice change, the dangers of mimicking the ‘funny’ accents of others – remember Jim Bolger? – or the inability of the Thunderbirds puppets to make contact with the dials in their space-ships. But, I have to say I was very offended by his tone here, and will probably not invite him over to play with my Thunderbirds Island model.

This discussion of puppetry allowed McKinney to a seamlessly segue into reminisces about his time with Squirt, a local children’s cartoon. This gave us the biggest laugh of the evening as he pondered the intersection of gay porn and children’s television caused by TVNZ’s decision to promote the show via a website

Overall, McKinney is a warm, amusing performer who does trade on his likeability, but who delivers a well structured show. I was impressed by the lively physicality of his performance, and his obvious vocal skills. My only real quibble: showing your audience fan photos of yourself posing with various animated creations, such as B1 and B2, is only funny if the photos are either very good or really bad, otherwise it comes across as the family slide show that we all try to avoid.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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