Stand-Up and be Counted!

Katipo Cafe & Bar, 76 Willis St, Wellington

07/10/2009 - 28/10/2009

Production Details

Stand-Up and Be Counted – new comedy for National Radio!  

SUABC is a brand new and unique radio comedy series conceived and created by Mike Bodnar and captured for radio right here in Wellington!

Be part of this ground-breaking new comedy concept as we record the four programmes for National Radio, one each Wednesday in October. But first, here’s the premise:


  • Each SUABC show will be half an hour long and will be broadcast over four weeks (schedule still to be decided).
  • In each week three different stand-up comedians will be taken on one afternoon to an undisclosed "secret" destination for up to two hours where they will "experience the environment".
  • They will then have approximately three hours in which to write no more than six minutes of absolutely brand new comedy inspired entirely by where they’ve just been, what they saw and what they did there, etc.
  • Then, that same evening they will perform their material in front of a live audience as part of the show, which will be recorded.

Think pressure-cooker comedy. Think ad-lib with some preparation. The comedians will be under pressure to stay focused on topic, demonstrate genuine comic ability both in material and performance, and while doing all of that, bring the house down!

Each week the audience chooses a winner, and in the final (fourth)show the three previous winners will again be taken to a secret location, experience it, write new comedy and then perform live and against each other in the ‘grand final’.

The recordings will take place at Katipo Cafe, home of the monthly Willis Treat comedy, starting at 7pm on Wednesday 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of October.

Entry is free but bookings will be essential, so contact Mike Bodnar on or phone 027 208 9453.

The comedians taking part:
October 7: Danni Taylor, Matt Mulholland, Benjamin Crellin
October 14: Hilaire Carmody, Jim Stanton, Derek Flores
October 21: Chelsea Hughes, TJ McDonald, Fergus Aitken
October 28: three of the above (as now highlighted)!

This promises to be a lot of fun, and as an audience member you’ll get a chance to support your favourite comedians. Come to one or come to all of the shows, see you there!

Cost:  Free, but bookings essential


Location:  Katipo Cafe, 76 Willis Street, Wellington Central

Whiff of danger enhances the audience experience

Review by John Smythe 29th Oct 2009

The stand-up comedy response to Two Day Plays is Stand-Up and be Counted. It takes three stand-up comedians on a ‘mystery site’ experience which provides the source material for a six-minute routine each is challenged to write, learn and present at a 7pm gig on the same day, at the Katipo Café, home of the monthly Willis Treat comedy show.

Hosted by Mike Bodnar, the hour-long live shows have been recorded and edited as half-hour radio shows, playing on Radio NZ National’s Arts On Sunday ‘Laugh Track’ spot. They can also be found at RNZ National’s Drama / Comedy Features / Stand-Up and be Counted page.

Heats took place over the first three Wednesdays in October. The first trio visited the Southern Landfill Second Treasures recycling depot for inspiration, and Benjamin Crellin won that round. Group two got off on a rainy day visit to Wellington Zoo, bringing Jim Stanton through to the finals. Wellington Airport’s Aviation Security provided the stimuli for group three, giving T J McDonald his final spot. (Click the show title above to see who else was in the heats).

The final trio met at Wellington Railway Station yesterday morning, whence they were transported by a Rolls Royce limousine to Wellington’s performing arts-friendly Museum Hotel (de Wheels). A conducted tour of the facilities provided the inspiration for the evening show at the Katipo.

Setting the bar comfortably low, MC Mike Bodnar warms us up, along with Gabriel Page, whose darkly witty original songs – ‘Baby You’re a Dead Girl’, ‘You’re Lucky (that you have me to love you)’ and ‘Facebook Girl’ – are marred only by the knee-jerk American accent he sings them in. (Insert ‘why do so many Kiwi singers volunteer to be culturally colonised?’ rant here.)

TJ McDonald takes the ‘fish out of water’ line, characterising the hotel as posh and himself as the kind of guy the staff thinks is devaluing the antique furnishing just by looking at them. He reminds us the Museum Hotel was moved down and across the road to make way for Te Papa and, in a strong finish, generates approving applause for his vision of a Te Papa de Wheels rolling gently into the harbour.

An enthused Jim Stanton likens the foyer décor to a chocolate box, rather expects to see monkey butlers and discover secret passages, then decides, "It’s like the set for a murder mystery." Just as she fantasises about the paranormal, a Radio NZ sign behind her falls inexplicably, leaving her bewildered as to why a simple line got such a big laugh. I especially like her response to being told the foyer’s luxury bathrooms were ‘unimaginable’: "Thanks for underestimating the creative reach of my dreams."

Benjamin Crellin is delighted to be shown around the sort of establishment he usually gets thrown out of. Playing the naïve boy taking things at face value, he starts off impressed by the individually wrapped towels in the flash bathroom but is concerned at how hard they are to flush. But it’s the mirrors, everywhere, that get him in the end: huddled on a bed, calling security about the "fat bald guy" sitting on the other bed who just won’t leave and shouts over the top of him every time he yells at him to go. Priceless.

From a strong field who clearly deserve their places in the final, it is Crellin who wins on audience acclamation. It’s making that shift into recreating an actual experience – taking us with him into the moment – rather than just commenting on it, that makes the difference for me.

Stand-Up and be Counted offers an excellent challenge to new and seasoned comedians alike and brings a whiff of danger to enhance the audience experience. More please.
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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