Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

28/04/2012 - 05/05/2012

Production Details

Comedians out of their comfort zone. This could go VERY WRONG 

What makes a great comedian? Is it material, timing, personality or just that indefinable X factor? In a world first, Terry Frisby will be hosting a late show with a difference where comedians will be performing material written by and for someone else completely. See one liner merchants performing musical comedy, storytellers trying magic and physical comics doing deadpan. Premiering on Saturday 28th April in The Basement. 

Featuring stars of 7 Days, international guests, Billy T winners and nominees, Fred winners and a lot of surprises every night. The line up will change every night, so no two nights will be the same. This is the show the comedians are all talking about more than any other. Could be amazing, could be a disaster. A proper late show where anything and everything is likely to happen

Devised and hosted by Terry Frisby who returned to NZ last year after 11 years working on the UK comedy circuit. An original member of NZ’s Brat Pack who toured New Zealand for 3 years culminating in a run at at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001 with Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords), Jeremy Elwood (7 Days) and Chris Brain (Billy T Award 2009) – Terry has over 15 years as a professional comedian and is acknowledged as one of NZ’s leading comedians.

As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Dates: Sat 28 April and Weds 2 – Sat 5 May
Venue:  The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City
Tickets:  Adults $20, Conc. $16/ Groups of 6+ $16
Bookings:  0800 ticketek (842 538) or www.ticketek.co.nz   

For a full line up of performances, booking details & more information, visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz  

Was there an initial hypothesis?

Review by Nik Smythe 29th Apr 2012

Another late-night assortment of standup protagonists, with an original twist: rather than offering a taste of their material and plugging whatever shows they have on during the festival, head comedy-lab technician Terry Frisby has appointed each performer with ‘inappropriate material’. i.e. cast-against-type scripts from other local comics.

First, with his thick glasses, big nose, white lab coat, clipboard and leering grin that makes one thankful he’s not a gynecologist, Professor Frisby warms us up with the above brief/disclaimer and some obligatory get-to-know the audience banter, plus a few pithy insights and personal assessments names and relationships, e.g. “I’m married too; don’t worry, it’s not serious.”

Bravely breaking the ice is the “hardest working woman in NZ comedy,” Jan Maree, sporting a bogan cut-off sweater, Daisy Dukes and hot pink tights.  Her blokeish routine primarily discussing the curious phenomenon and inherent risks of euphemism, is by no means a total departure from her usual base, unfeminine character and I correctly identified the author as her own one-time collaborator Mike Boon. 

Subject # 2, pasty white upper-middle aged John Carr, offers a straight-faced, ironic monologue provided by someone clearly younger and less Caucasian: “There’s a reason I’m so ethnic-looking.  My father was South American and my mother was Cliff Curtis.”  Again I recognised the vernacular of original artist Cori Gonzales-Macauer, and Carr’s professional delivery takes the least self-referential liberties of anyone in the line-up and thus is the most technically successful in doing his prescribed material justice.

I regret that due to a flurry of audience commotion both times his name was announced, I didn’t catch the name of the third performer – I think it was Dan-something.  He’s not a comic, just an acquaintance that Frisby implies made the mistake of getting drunk with him late one night and seconded into making his stand-up debut at this dubiously momentous event.  The result is, for want of a better word, admirable, and although we aren’t told the name of the chap behind his soundbyte-length snappy quips erring on the side of shamelessly offensive – tame example: “Chlamydia’s not that bad ladies, take it from me” – I’ll take a stab at Ed Caruthers (given half a chance). 

Fourth up, international guest Reuben Lee gives an apologetic rendition of a quirky, contemplative series of pun-based flippancies such as, “Is a seasoned comedian one who’s been basted in wine and oregano?”  A long-suffering good sport, Lee’s counterpart is again not named but the purposeful idiosyncrasy coupled with his fluffy fur jacket has me thinking Te Radar.  All he’s willing to divulge as he exits is, “Thank you very much, I’ve been somebody else.”

Rounding out the selection of supplemental test-subjects is Tevita Manukia with a diatribe on television, in particular the chasm between real life as we know it, and that which is portrayed in TV commercials.  I have no idea who he’s emulating and, antithetic to John Carr, Manukia derives most mirth from the crowd by losing his place, laughing at himself and generally making a hash of it.

All in the name of good fun and scientific exploration.  On reflection, it occurs to me most academic experiments are based on a preliminary hypothesis to be either confirmed or disproved.  I wonder whether Dr. Frisby’s included this step, and if so what the premise was and whether or not it has thus far proven successful or otherwise? 

Either way the exercise is reasonably engaging and sufficiently amusing, so far as its inaugural line-up is concerned anyhow.  Different players perform different routines each night, so really it’s anybody’s game. 


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