Sri Nair – Upside Down

Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

09/05/2023 - 13/05/2023

NZ International Comedy Festival 2023

Production Details

Born in India, raised in Oman, settled in New Zealand.

Upside Down is a show that takes you through Sri’s life experiences – breaking the ‘Indian norm’, his eagerness to fit into the kiwi lifestyle, seeing a psychologist for the first time, sex, abandoning his religion and eating steak.

As seen on TVNZ’s 60 Seconds and in the 2022 Best Foods Comedy Gala (Wellington).

“Enthusiasm, warmth and welcoming energy” – Theatreview

Winner – Best Show 2018, Wellington Comedy Awards

Best Comedian nominee 2022, Wellington Comedy Awards

Price: $17 – $21
Time: 8.45PM

Comedian – Sri Nair

Comedy , Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

50 minutes

Comedy gold from experiences as an immigrant, parental dismay and therapy sessions

Review by Margaret Austin 10th May 2023

The two people sitting next to me at the Fringe Bar tell me they met tonight’s performer Sri Nair at a party. He was really funny, they relate, and then he told them he did that for a living. Comedians take note – how to advertise your show.

Sri’s entrance is preceded by ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ Well, that might have been a theme earlier on, but he’s been here for 13 years. Arriving from Oman, India, at age 26, hardly young enough to be super impressionable, he has nevertheless been subjected to life in Upper Hutt, and to Kiwi culture in general.

“Is that our Uber driver?” is a question he gets sometimes, and his very best joke of the evening constitutes his response. If any overtly racist remarks have come his way, he doesn’t make a big thing of it, preferring instead to recount how living in New Zealand has expanded his vocabulary. Enter the ‘f’ word, and the ‘c’ word. How sad it is that Nair’s constant use of these reflect us as a nation.

He’s reasonably sanguine about Indian dairy owners, notes that Fijian Indians are distinguishable by looking happy, and delights me by confessing that his therapy sessions, though they dismay his parents, are “comedy gold”. (Hope said therapist is not present.) As well as therapy being a no-no where Sri comes from, gay marriage is out, as is DIY.

New Zealand is much kinder than Australia with its sharks, snakes and spiders. At immigration in this country, the only question asked was thankfully innocuous. A regret of his I share is the lack of authentic Indian food on supermarket shelves. “My culture exists only in ready-to-eat packets.”

It’s difficult for most of us to imagine the initial shock and subsequent adaptation made necessary by moving countries – and sticking it out. A long way for someone whose first sight of a white man was in Jurassic Park. I can only hope that Sri comes right side up, or at least that he stays happily upside down.  


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