Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

02/05/2015 - 16/05/2015

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

16/05/2015 - 16/05/2015

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015

Production Details

Sick of just getting to watch comedy online?

Want to see it live but you’re under 18?

We’ve created The 5pm Project specifically for high school students to go with their mates (no parents needed) every Saturday of the Festival.  We’ve programmed line-ups full of comedians talking about stuff you’re into, and who work on some of your favourite TV shows like TV3’s Jono And Ben at Ten & 7 Days.

In Auckland: Nick Rado hosts a show that’s rammed with fresh stand-up and a tonne of laughs, featuring a different line-up of comedians each Saturday – names below.

Featuring Guy Montgomery, Rose Matafeo & more

Featuring Guy Williams, James Nokise & more

Featuring Joseph Moore, Wilson Dixon & more

In Wellington: Jamie Bowen hosts a show that’s rammed with fresh stand-up and a tonne of laughs.

Auckland Dates: Sat 2, Sat 9 & Sat 16 May 5pm

Venues: Loft at Q Theatre, Auckland

Tickets: $20* service fees may apply

Bookings: 09 309 9771


WELLINGTON Sat 16 May, 5pm

Venues: Hannah Playhouse, Wellington

Tickets: $20* service fees may apply

Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Comedy ,

1 hour

Not quite as successful as it could be

Review by Shannon Friday 17th May 2015

The goal here is simple: get a bunch of professional comedians together, and get them to perform stuff specifically for teenagers.  Simple, right?  I mean, what could be easier than making teenagers – who get bonus points of awesome for being uninterested in grown-ups – laughing?

The day’s host is Jamie Bowen, and he has the unenviable task of trying to warm up the (stone cold sober) crowd.  He alternately cajoles and calls out different audience members into observing the rules of the game: phones off, laugh out loud, etc.  His introduction picks up when he starts observing the different types of laughter, giving folks a common target: laugh-snorters. 

Bowen pops up regularly, vamping between performers.  His later material seems less concerned with being age-appropriate, and all the teens in the room perk up considerably, like they’re being let into a secret club.  His bit about an uncomfortable encounter with another man’s crotch area on London’s Tube has the entire room in stitches.

Sam Smith is up after Bowen’s introduction, with his tricks and games.  An early game of ‘Did you know dat?’ gets the audience playing along, but seems more geared to the grown-ups in the audience than the teens. The group unites with Smith’s list of song parodies, ending with what might be my favourite version of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ ever.  That said, a lot of the songs are common coin with folks Smith’s age, which suits me fine because we’re the same age, but I wish that some more recent hits were thrown into the mi to really close the gap with the target audience. 

Patch Lambert is up next, and immediately gets all the bros in the house onside with his stories about being a wimpy white guy in Naenae. 

James Nokise ups the ante with his recollections of the ineffectiveness of teenage ganstas, most significantly himself before getting kicked out of the Bloods.  He also sends up his father, busting the wise-old-man tricks of the trade with ruthlessness and affection. 

Joel Dommett rounds out the event.  It’s hard to get a bead on what he’s up to, until he re-enacts his performance as a 14-year-old in a Goth band.  His awkwardness as he attempts to be a hard-core frontman while simultaneously really not wanting to be there might be the most detailed character comedy of the entire festival.  We’re treated to a more grown-up version of that awkwardness with a microphone /beard mishap later in the day which actually turns into the highlight of the comedy festival for me.

All in all, I’m not sure that the show is quite as successful as it could be.  While I like the idea of a comedy show for teens an awful lot, the comedians are tentative about connecting with the teenage audience.  Often everyone in the room seems unsure how to handle this situation: What topics will piss off the parents who came? Do teenagers actually care about Cher? (Answer: no.)  Can I laugh at this while sitting next to my parents /friends /children? 

Where the show does work it sparkles, like when Bowen talks about not being on social media and lampoons the (over)reactions to that, or Dommett and Nokise’s impressions of their younger selves.  But this kind of honesty, with age concerns second, seems too rare.


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Vaguely amusing but less than impressive

Review by Aminata Hamadi 03rd May 2015

This show has the potential to be extremely good. It has all the right things going for it: a fantastic line-up of comedians and a specially-targeted teen audience. But it’s missing the x-factor. Overall, it over-promises and under-delivers. 

The atmosphere of the room is rather stale with little response from the audience. Unfortunately this age group is more prone to spectating than participating, putting immense pressure on the artists to deliver outstanding comedy with little to work with. Bear in mind that at this age everyone is too cool for school.

The 5pm Project is hosted by Nick Rado, who does his best to engage the audience. The opening show’s line-up features buzz worthy comedians Rose Matafeo, Joseph Moore, Sam Smith and Guy Montegomery.

Matafeo talks about mums, outdated Dragon Ball Z and Facebook, none of which greatly resounds with the gathering. The show gains some momentum with Joseph Moore who entertains the audience with, among other things, a story about cheating his way into a girl’s heart.

Sam Smith appropriates songs and changes the lyrics to make them his own which sees a few chuckles erupt across the room. Guy Montgomery caters to the video game-playing members of the audience and captivates the audience with his stage presence.

Sadly, when the artists fail to connect with the teens in the room parts of the show are painfully dull. It appears as though this audience receives only the dregs of what the comedians can offer and that no extensive preparation was put into crafting content that was especially catered to them.

At best it is a vaguely amusing but less than impressive offering for teens.  

However, over the next few weekends The 5pm Project will see a new audience and a brand new set of comedians so hopefully it will shake off the blues and get pumping. 


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