Brooklyn Bar - 57 Lorne St, Auckland

27/04/2013 - 04/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Have you ever wanted a ‘Get out of death free’ card? You can get one (albeit with an expiry date) at Terry Williams’ show in the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival.  

Although hilarious, it isn’t just an hour of comedy, it’s all about how to live longer. Opening on April 27th, the author of ‘The Brain-Based Boss’ and ‘The Guide: How to kiss, get a job & other stuff you need to know’ presents an hour-long guide to cheating death and living longer. Laughter is, as they say, the best medicine.

The show is co-promoted with partners like the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health who also have a mission to improve the quantity and quality of people’s lives. “The show was, in part, inspired by a book I read last Christmas called ‘Blue Zones – Lessons For Living Longer From Those Who’ve Lived The Longest.’ Scientists studied those places where people lived disproportionately long and quality lives. It’s not all monastic lifestyles, not by a long way – Friends, wine, laughter, oats and getting off your bum!”

Audiences can access an online longevity calculator which estimates how long people are likely to live versus how long they might live if they made some different choices.

The show was also inspired by three rushes to hospital for friends and family in quick succession in 2012. “Humour is a tremendous stress safety valve for a lot of cultures. A tremendously common experience is that fretful waiting in hospitals. There’s a lot of humour there – not to laugh at the unwell – but to help them get better sooner and to help supporters deal with the worry. The machine that goes beep and disconcertingly young doctors are viewed very differently by a comedian.

Based on Auckland’s North Shore, Williams has been performing comedy since 2001, including several previous NZ International Comedy Festivals and to a crowd of 4500 in Singapore. 

“A collection of humorous rants to tickle your funny bone or break it.” – Air NZ Magazine 

“Sharp, original comedy.” – Dominion Post 

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival
Dates: Sat 27, Tue 30 April – Sat 4 May, 7pm
Venue: Brooklyn Bar and Lounge, 57 Lorne Street, Auckland
Tickets: $16 – $20 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800TICKETEK or www.ticketek.co.nz   

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to www.comedyfestival.co.nz

Attractive, charming, incredibly well prepared and very funny

Review by Lexie Matheson 29th Apr 2013

The longest living people have nine secrets. So says Terry Williams, The Grin Reaper, and the aforementioned nine secrets provide the theme for his latest show. 

He’s right, of course, about the nine secrets, but as with most good comedy shows this doesn’t stop Williams commenting liberally on anything and everything including the occasional words of support – and advice – he gets from the more vocal members of his audience and, in so doing, he definitely runs the gamut of human experience.

I first attended comedy festival shows almost 20 years ago and, after watching some pretty dire efforts, with more deaths than laughs, performed by fledgling … I hesitate to call them comedians but that will have to do, I vowed never to go to a New Zealand stand-up comedy show again.

Ever the pretentious classicist, I was raised on a diet of Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Mort Sahl, Sammy Davis Jnr, Shelley Berman and Lenny Bruce which, in time, evolved into Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, the Two Ronnies, Adrian Edmondson, Jasper Carrott, Alexei Sayle, Robin Williams, Bill Maher, Jerry Seinfeld and George Carlin. I ached to laugh at great women comics and had to make do with Phyllis Diller, Lucille Ball and Joan Rivers until Ellen DeGeneres and Sarah Silverman came along.

I have to add that I was also a real fan of The Comedy Company, and in particular Mary-Anne Fahey and Kim Gyngell, with the Fahey genius perhaps best reflected in the characters of Kylie Mole and Jophesine while Gyngell’s Col’n Carpenter, reminding me as he does of our own prime-time comedian Colin Craig, an all time classic. They were, happily, Australian so I grudgingly approved and allowed them to squeeze into my inventory of top comic entertainers.

Such was my overseasia.

As to New Zealand being an incubator for comedy brilliance I would have none of it. Others said ‘yes’, but I said ‘not a whit!’

Last night I had to eat my words.

Actually I’d been eating them for awhile because, no matter how hard I’ve tried to the contrary, I consistently find ‘Seven Days’ massively entertaining and most of those guys are Kiwis. Occasionally they even allow a woman in – the delicious Madeleine Sami, the outrageous Urzila Carlson and the immensely talented Michele A’Court – but comedy in Aotearoa New Zealand is still largely a man’s game and no matter how much I may carp volubly about this no-one seems to be listening. Laughing, yes, but not listening.

I have the pleasure of reviewing quite a number of shows during the 2013 New Zealand International Comedy Festival and what I’ve written above I will say only once – but it may well inform the nature of my comments on other shows from here on in.

So be it.

Terry Williams is one of this new breed, a strain of comedian that I seem to have missed while in my self-imposed, petulant, anti-Kiwi wilderness. He’s attractive, charming, incredibly well prepared, has good material and, surprise of all surprises, he’s actually very funny. Not riotously, pants-wettingly funny, though he did elicit more than a few gutsy guffaws, but more subtle, more sneak-up behind you funny and it goes down a treat with his full opening night house.

I learn a bunch of stuff, too.

I learn that longevity is 25% luck – the cards you’re born with – and 75% life style choices. I learn that if you grow up in Okinawa your life expectancy is increased immeasurably. I learn that I can visit Blue Zones website and do a survey and I am given a Get-Out Of-Death-Free card which goes with the website. I also learn what not to do when returning a jar of mayonnaise to the ‘fridge.

I especially like Williams’ carefully constructed gags, the ones he’s built from the ground up and which are almost idiot-proof. I like that he has great one-liners to poke the audience with when we fail to catch on to his more arcane and convoluted thought trains. There’s a few of these and they’re well worth the effort though I do wonder how they’d go down at the Taumarunui Cosmopolitan Club. They probably wouldn’t, because Williams is a class act and I’ve little doubt he has material to suit every occasion.

There’s the classic content, too, the jokes that pitch one suburb/region/country against another. The French, Hamilton, Westies and gays all cop some stick but it’s all good natured, well timed fun – and in the spirit of living longer so who can possibly complain.

There’s the self-deprecating stuff, too, but that’s somewhat less successful. Not much, just a bit. Sorry, Terry, but we like you and we’re not that chuffed when you take the mickey out of a mate and by the end of 55mins that’s how we’ve grown to see you. You’re our mate, and we’re happy with that.

A word about the venue: big ups to Brooklyn Bar and Lounge. The venue seats about 60 comfortably and it’s stylish and tasteful. Alcohol and comedy seem to go together and, if this is your bag, then Brooklyn Bar and Lounge is a very nice way to marry the two. Either way, it’s a great venue for taking in a show and the staff are terrific as well.

The Grin Reaper certainly reaps the laughs and Williams, playing at 7pm and great in his own right, is also a first-class precursor to a later show if you’re up for more than one in an evening and Brooklyn Bar and Lounge, just happens to be within 5 minutes walking distance from all the other comedy venues.

Catch The Grin Reaper if you can – you might even get to win a bottle of his sponsor’s fine product!


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