THE CLASSIC LATE and LIVE 2014: An All-Star Comedy Selection omedy Selection

The Classic, Auckland

25/04/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

THE CLASSIC LATE and LIVE: An All-Star Comedy Selection



The Classic LATE & LIVE, every Wednesday to Saturday from April 25th at 10pm will be a crowd favourite during the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival. A show where punters have come to expect the unexpected with spontaneous moments of comedy gold that are tucked away in a show that features local and international comedians letting loose at the end of a ‘long day’ at the office. The unpredictable show is hosted each night by one of the international guest comedians visiting the festival.

Traditionally at LATE & LIVE comedians will challenge the audiences, break some new ideas and aim to be as topical as possible, matching wits with each other and the punters. No two shows are ever the same and line-ups change every night, so if you like your stand-up to have some unexpected twists and turns then the Classic Late & Live is for you.

Special guest during the first week of the Festival is a Classic favourite, Carey Marx from England. He is fondly regarded as a ‘comedian’s comedian’ with the rare ability to tiptoe along the very edge of offensiveness with a great sense of mischief. The CLASSIC LATE & LIVE – Weds to Sat at 10pm throughout the 3 week festival at the ‘Home of Live Comedy’, kicking off Fri 25 April. Line-ups are posted every day on and at the door of The CLASSIC.

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.

For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to

Dates: Fri 25 & Sat 26 April, Weds 30 Apr – Sat 3 May, Wed 7 -Sat 10 May, Wed 14 – Sat 17, 10pm
Venue: The Classic, 321 Queen St, Auckland City
Tickets: $20 – $25 Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) /


Challenging the gaspers

Review by Robbie Nicol 26th Apr 2014

Initially, The Classic LATE & LIVE doesn’t quite match its description on the website. This not because of the comedians, who are of a very high standard, but because of the polite New Zealand audience. As the show progresses, however, the people who gasp at ‘the c-word’ lose their authority over the audience. With the help of wine and beer, the comedians shift that authority to the depraved amongst us.  

Before the interval, Markus Birdman accused us of being a Christian choir out for a fieldtrip; by the end of the night, Carey Marx is surprised by what he can get away with. That is what late-night comedy is all about, and it’s why the Classic LATE & LIVE should start later than ten when the gaspers have gone to bed. I’m sure the Classic could still fill the house. 

Michael Legge is a fine MC. He uses the names of Louis and Bez (two individuals in the front row) in almost every joke, and fulfils his MC duties by getting the audience to practice applauding. It’s his job to keep the audience upbeat, and so he is only allowed to revel in his misanthropy for moments at a time. These moments are undoubtedly when he is at his most funny. Given free rein to rant about the sort of people who think Mrs Brown’s Boys is funny, I am sure his own solo show at the Classic Studio from the 14th to the 17th of May will be vitriolic bliss. 

Chris Martin is the perfect comedian to go to on a date. No part of his material is too offensive, but neither is it dull. A clever and confident observational comic, he is consistently on form. He opens with jokes about Auckland’s quantity of sushi stores and things with manuka honey in them, and continues to do a series of jokes about the difficulties of living with a girlfriend. These might sound like jokes you’ve heard before, but Martin’s charming originality guarantees that his ‘Responsibilliness’ at Q Theatre will be a great night out.

Markus Birdman is back. The person to my left has seen his solo show earlier in the evening, and apparently a decent chunk of his LATE & LIVE performance covers the same material. “See their solo show, or see them at LATE & LIVE, but don’t do both,” he tells me. Birdman is a tattooed father with 1950s hair and a hole in his heart.

He opens his set with the sort of bad-taste joke one expects from late-night, and becomes the first comedian to take up the challenge of encouraging the audience to relax. He is more controversial than Martin or Robins, and is performing earlier than Marx, and as a result he struggles with the audience more than any other comedian. I might not follow my companion’s advice. I think I will go to see Birdman perform with an audience specifically gathered for him at ‘Happily Ever After’, on at the Classic from the 26th of April to the 3rd of May.

John Robins is the most English of the four English comedians. While Birdman has a nervous British tone adopted to match his hair, Robins is steeped in a contemporary English-ness. He apologises for putting all of his eggs in one basket, hoping we still laugh at his telling a story that involves panel-show culture and the Only Way is Essex, despite being from a place with neither of those things. He needn’t have worried. Robins is self-deprecating without any tinge of self-pity or self-righteousness, and the way he brags about shagging different women on “an almost bi-tri-annual basis” is infinitely relatable, and determinedly charming.

Standing up for women who shouldn’t be expected to vajazzle their vajayjays allows him to use a variety of words for the female nether regions, while also railing against the sort of men who are apparently growing bored with ordinary, non-glittery vaginas. It is angry on the surface, while always affirming and positive. Robins is a crowd-favourite for good reason and is another reason the Big Show at the Comedy Chamber is a very tempting, if slightly expensive, ticket. 

Carey Marx finishes the night, and it’s a good thing he does. If he’d been on earlier then his performance would have been half as long. He sounds like a race-horse commentator, with an inflection on the punchline followed by a slow grin. The well-rehearsed material that he rattles off at the start of his set guarantees success; you barely need to listen to the words to find the confidence of his delivery entertaining and funny. He skilfully turns the audience against those who were prudish in earlier acts. “People are afraid of taboos, they’re not respecting them at all,” he says at one point. “I don’t like being protected from language and thought, because I like language and thought.”

One joke that I can’t repeat in print, about paraplegia and rude words, sums up Carey Marx’s performance in its entirety: slightly arrogant, potentially immoral, but well-rehearsed and tremendously clever. If that’s what you’re looking for, catch Marx with ‘Intensive Carey’ at the Classic from the 5th to the 17th of May.


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