The Big Show

Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Town Hall, Auckland

07/05/2007 - 19/05/2007

New Zealand International Arts Festival

Production Details



Established in 2005 as a world class showcase of international and local comedians headlining the NZ International Comedy Festival, THE BIG SHOW 007 introduces some fresh faces including ALUN COCHRANE and MARK WATSON from the U.K., host MICKEY D from Australia and the return of Kiwi BEN HURLEY, Winner of the 2004 Billy T Comedy Award who has spent 2 years touring the UK Pro Comedy circuit.

Top English comedian, ALUN COCHRANE has been on local producer, SCOTT BLANKS, ‘wish list’ since he first spotted ALUN at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe. But as the saying goes- ‘Good things take time’ but finally, COCHRANE will make his NZ Comedy Festival debut in The BIG SHOW 07.

COCHRANE will be joined in The BIG SHOW by fellow Brit , MARK WATSON, who arrives direct from Australia to guest in the 2nd week of THE BIG SHOW – Tue 15 to Sat 19 May as well as performing his own solo show at The CLASSIC. WATSON made a huge impression with a range of shows at the 05 & 06 Edinburgh Fringe.

Like wise Australian MICKEY D has made quite a name for himself at the Edinburgh Fringe over the last 3 years, particularly hosting his own late night showcase of comedians. With such a vibe brewing we couldn’t resist inviting him back downunder to host this years BIG SHOW.

Wellington comedian BEN HURLEY did his time on the local PRO circuit before winning the 2004 Billy T Comedy Award. He used the prize money to establish himself and gain valuable experience on the UK Pro Comedy circuit where he has enjoyed 2 years of regular employment. He returns to NZ in 2007 as a special guest on THE BIG SHOW alongside fellow Pro comedians from the UK.

THE BIG SHOW will also feature some guest appearances by other international and local guests during it’s two week season including Jason John Whitehead from Canada.

Dates: Tue 7 – Sat 12 & Tue 15 – Sat 19 May, 8.45pm
Venue: Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE®
Tickets: Adults $39.59 Conc. $33.50 Groups $33.50
Bookings Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  2 hours 

HOST Mickey D

Jason John Whitehead
Simon McKinney
Alun Cochrane
Ben Hurley
Mark Watson

Theatre , Comedy ,

2 hrs

England wins

Review by Jacob Powell 12th May 2007

AND THE WINNER is… England. 

Australia – 6; Canada – 1; New Zealand – 7; England – 9; The Big Show – 7. 

That’s about how I score the show now that the dust has settled. 

The Big Show is a veritable 50c mixture (+ $39.40) of four able comedians playing a 2 hour-plus show throughout the week at this year’s comedy festival. Tuesday night’s line-up at the Crunchie Comedy Chamber in Auckland’s town hall included: laidback Canadian Jason John Whitehead; the man with a New Zealand woman’s accent, Simon McKinney; gangling English Northerner Alun Cochrane; along with Australia’s dirty little Mickey D MCing the whole affair. [Read more]


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An abundance of titters

Review by Sian Robertson 09th May 2007

The Big Show‘s opening night was a little wobbly, but promises a good follow-up, I think, with refreshed line-ups of talent providing a variety of avenues to tickle your fancy.

Mickey D, host and provider of unreserved, generous entertainment, makes you feel like he’s in your lounge, cracking open the next round of beers as he pulls out yet another crafty impersonation (such as his astute impressions of South Africans) or self deprecating tale of misfortune.

Jason John Whitehead is at his best when laying a trail of caustic, uncharitable and lewd satire, detonating an explosive response combining appreciation, disbelief and discomfort, challenging the audience who nonetheless lean forward for more.

He misses the mark a few times with this Auckland audience – attempts at grasping for the sympathy vote fall flat, and self-pity doesn’t become this laid-back, insolent young Canadian, but he grabs back the respect with his trademark gleeful irreverence and razor sharp ridicule.

Well-travelled Kiwi, Simon McKinney, is strong on the tried-but-true topics of accents, language barriers, how to get home despite being blind drunk, and the dangers and pitfalls of being a stand-up comic. His sometimes over-extended anecdotes almost lose me a couple of times, but he always snaps back the elastic in the nick of time, with an unexpected punch-line or new tangent.

As for Alun Cochrane – I don’t know about you but I find nothing more infectious than a comedian whot can’t help genuinely cracking up at his own jokes (as long as they’re funny!). Often deadpan, never boring, Cochrane makes anecdotal fun of his own mishaps, whilst inexplicably making you wish you’d been him, just so you could look back and laugh at your own misfortune.

The most memorable act of the night (clothes pegs will henceforth make me think instantly of nipples and mousetraps, in that order), he has the spine-tickling talent of making you feel exposed, with a compulsive honesty publicising all those embarrassing secrets and idiosyncrasies no one talks about but everyone has stashed away somewhere. 

His bizarre theories on ‘The Sex’, marrying teachers, and ‘busy people’ are refreshing and sharp (even if you flat-out disagree with them, as I did!). Cochrane hardly misses a beat and holds the audience in thrall, so unassuming yet confident is his rapport. On his first visit to New Zealand, this wry young Englishman is definitely one to check out.

A lurking theme for the night, however, seems to be a defensive ‘you’re a tough audience I’m going to have to crack, unless I can make you feel sorry for me and cut me some slack’, which grows wearying and I can’t help wondering when did it start to be the punters’ job to put these guys at ease, rather than the other way around? With the exception of the gregarious Mickey D, all seem to be testing out the waters: perhaps a case of opening night jitters.

Overall an even share of laughs, an abundance of titters, but a bit light on uncontrollably side-splitting, pants-wetting hilarity. Too safe: not enough missiles of mirth that we get to really suck on or duck to avoid! Some memorable moments, though. Hopefully this bunch’ll find their feet enough to take some risks and own the show for the next two weeks. Keep an eye out in this changing line-up for other gems such as frenetic Welshman Mark Watson, and consummate Kiwi Ben Hurley, plus a few more.  


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