Steve Wrigley: The First Time

Bluenote Bar, Wellington

29/04/2008 - 03/05/2008

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

05/05/2008 - 10/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


In last year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival, two big names in New Zealand Comedy, Steve Wrigley and Simon McKinney teamed up for the hugely successful show: Doomed to Awesomeness. In this year’s festival the two will be squaring off against one another as they are both nominees for the prestigious Billy T James Award.

Steve Wrigley has been a fixture in New Zealand comedy since the late 1990s and in that time has built up a reputation as an improv extraordinaire and master story teller. He’s bringing his unique style of standup comedy to audiences in both Auckland and Wellington in his first full length comedy show – Steve Wrigley: The First Time.

"Simon and I are great mates, I loved doing our show together last year but I suppose it is an added edge that he’s up for the same award as I am. We obviously learned a lot from each other last year and it’s cool that we’re both up for the Billy, I’m really looking forward to his show."

Steve’s been compared to Robin Williams and Andy Kaufman by the Dominion Post, he’s headlined New York Comedy Clubs and he’s won numerous awards in the New Zealand comedy scene but he thinks that trying to win the Billy T award will be his hardest journey yet.

"I’m really excited about my show. I’ll be doing two full seasons which is something I haven’t done for a while, and my recent trip overseas has given me a wealth of material to work with."  

That trip overseas saw Steve flying to the United States to see his girlfriend who he spends half a year away from, a difficult situation for both of them. "While it is hard, it does provide me with that tortured grief that every standup comic needs."

Steve’s trip took him via Amsterdam, London and L.A’s notorious airport, LAX. All three places provide a fair amount of ammunition that he’s stored up and ready to fire in his show. "Things kept going wrong while I was away, be it my run-in with the dwarf customs officer in L.A or yodelling Swedes in my hostel room, I couldn’t just go away and have a nice normal trip, I had to make life difficult for myself."

Dates: Tues 29 April – Sat 3 May, 8.45pm
Venue: Blue Note Bar, Corner Cuba & Vivian Streets
Tickets: Adult $18.50 / Conc. $15 / Groups 4+ $15 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration: 1 hour

Dates: Mon 5 – Sat 10 May, 8.45pm
Venue: The Classic Studio, 321 Queen Street, City
Tickets: Adult $20 / Conc. $16 / Groups 6+ $15 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration: 1 hour

1 hr 5 mins, no interval

Honest, wicked, imaginative

Review by Sian Robertson 06th May 2008

For this year’s festival Wellingtonian Steve Wrigley’s theme is ‘first times’. He talks candidly of some of his first experiences of sex, drugs, travelling and other stuff. Lot’s of it’s about being young and dumb and, well, on drugs, which all sounds like pretty generic comedian fodder, but his intensity and generosity are infectious and he comes at things from odd and unexpected angles.

Although there’s a thematic thread, Wrigley’s set is loosely structured and associative, trawling you energetically through the dirty laundry of his thoughts, which can be squalid and touching in equal measures, but either way, pretty damn funny. His weaknesses are his strength. 

He also speaks openly about his process of devising comedy, about the traumas of growing up in a large family, his involuntary reactions to German people and dwarves, and cool things you can do with dry ice. 

The opening night audience, packed like sardines into the Classic Studio, rewarded the show with deservingly warm and hearty applause.

Unpolished, honest, wicked and imaginative, Steve Wrigley is a true blue Kiwi comedian – a definite keeper.


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Touching humour

Review by John Smythe 01st May 2008

Last year Steve Wrigley’s set in Doomed to AWESOMENESS! (which he shared with the very different-in-style Simon McKinney) moved me to opine at length about the bully factor in much standup comedy, and Wrigley responded he had been having a good cogitate about that himself. Well this year, in his The First Time show, there’s none of that.

The night I saw it, at The Bluenote Bar, he did say of a young woman crossing in front of him to go to the toilet, "It’s a stage she’s going through." Ha. Even then he comes over as extraordinarily good natured: a pleasure to spend time with.

He gave the first five minutes to young Guy Williams, about to represent Wellington in the Raw Comedy finals in Auckland. His is a stream-of-consciousness style, or that’s what it could become when his random shtick doesn’t sound quite so rehearsed. And his quirky humour will work even better when he masters the art of the deadpan face and voice. But yes, he has potential.

After warming us up some more with his random thoughts, Wrigley gets into his chosen subject – a range of first time experiences: sex the first time ever; first one night stand; first time he did it with someone he really loved …

They are touching stories, and I mean that in a good way. We see him innocent, vulnerable, gullible: the key qualities of the classic clown. And because it’s always the first time – doing drugs, going to porn shows, maxing out a credit card – that innocence factor lets him get away with stuff we might otherwise find a bit tacky or antisocial. It’s an inspired concept.

My companion, who’d seen him many times before, felt this was the first time she’d come close to getting to know him for real and she, like me, felt quite moved. And amused, of course. I should mention that: he’s very funny.


Steve Wrigley May 2nd, 2008


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