The Classic, Auckland

29/04/2013 - 29/04/2013

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

12/05/2013 - 12/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details



So who will stand-up and stake their claim for the title of the ‘funniest new face of the year’ decided in front of a panel of expert judges on Sunday 12 May at the Rangatira, Q Theatre, 305 Queen St. 

Launched in 1995, the Raw Comedy Quest is New Zealand’s biggest comedy competition, with $2000 in prize money, the glory and promises of further work as a professional comedian to be won. 

Since it began 18 years ago hundreds of Kiwi’s have made a stand at the Raw Comedy Quest, a high light of the annual NZ International Comedy Festival. Some have gone on to enjoy continued success as part time and full time performers. Many others have discovered that all they are good for is a few jokes at the office party. But most importantly all of them have faced human kind’s greatest fear – ‘Public Speaking’, with the added expectation of being funny.

The heats for the 2013 Raw Comedy Quest kick off at The Classic on Monday March 4th for 7 weeks, followed by
semi-finals during the festival on
Mon 29 April and Sun 5 May.

The Grand Final featuring up to eight competitors from Auckland and two from Wellington kicks off at 7pm on Sun 12 May in the Rangatira room at Q Theatre, 305 Queen St. 

To enter call Scott at The Classic on 09-3734321 or email

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival

Date: Sun 12 May, 7pm
Venue: Rangatira @ Q, 305 Queen St, Auckland City
Tickets:  $20 – $25 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: Ph 309 9771 or

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to  

High calibre acts

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 13th May 2013

Launched in 1995, The Raw Comedy Quest has seen hundreds of Kiwis take to the stage. Some have gone on to enjoy continued success as part time and full time performers. Many others have discovered that all they are good for is a few jokes at the office party.

If you are a new face and you reckon you have comedy in your bones then chances are you will find your way into The Raw Comedy Quest. The competition runs for seven weeks at The Classic in Auckland and San Francisco Bathhouse in Wellington, and it has seen over 80 competitors in 2013 whittled down to just eleven.

Tonight these eleven comedians (two from Wellington and nine from Auckland) are on stage to battle it out in New Zealand’s biggest comedy competition, with $2000 in prize money, the glory and promises of further work as a professional comedian to be won. Each of them has just six minutes on stage, which is an incredibly short time, so these new faces are challenged to pack their best gags in between a searing, endearing opening salvo and a memorable giggle to finish.

Aussie good-guy Mickey D is our host this evening, and as I enjoyed him on Monday at The BIG Show I knew our night was in good hands. Establishing an almost instant rapport with the near capacity crowd he explains the nature of the contest, and warns us to give our best. We are all humming with excitement so there is no shortage of enthusiastic response. Contests are always fun and obviously there are plenty of supporters in for the acts. 

The first cab off the rank can often choke a bit in front of a fresh crowd, but this guy has all the confidence in the world. U-Live presenter Tim Lambourne is not visibly daunted by the big crowd nor the big stage. He is likeable but lacking the spark in his gags to really get the crowd on side.  

James Stewart is welcomed on stage to much hooting and hollering. It’s clear he has a lot of people on his side tonight, not that he needs them. He is very confident and polished in his delivery. I have received modern day love letters so find myself sniggering heartily in parts. He does go overtime but otherwise a solid act.

Gerrard Paapu is really very funny. Funny because he is honest and real. He has mined himself well, big laughs coming in as he admits what he gets up to with the K-Mart catalogue. I get the feeling we will see more of this guy around the traps!

Maarten Idema is a real change in pace. Much drier, with a quiet energy, he commands the room with his stillness. His gags are sparkling, the laughs are plentiful. A delight to watch.

Itay Dom‘s material is quite confronting (a Jewish man who wants to have two children named Adolf and Anne…?) and at times I feel a lot more like I am in a lecture theatre being given a keynote speech rather than a comedy routine.

Closing off the first half is Jimmy Guan, a preppy Chinese fella who has been in NZ for five or so years. Plenty of cultural cringe as he plays up to the Asian stereotypes, much of which pales in comparison to his off-the-cuff calls. I am not sure if he has figured out why he is funny yet, but he is. 

After the break Wellington based Canadian comedian Rob Harris is solidly funny. He is talking about being a smoker and two months ago I was one, so I was able to laugh from both sides of the gun. His act is polished and presented flawlessly; rich laughs abound. 

Ben Cleland brings giggles with his likeable blokesy humour, his unspeakable acts involving the battery hole in a remote control is a cracker! Comedy potential-plus here.

Wellington’s Nick Bruce-Smith is plucky and energetic. I wonder if his subject choice may have hindered him a little: religion and paedophilia are brave, risky topics for even a seasoned comic. 

Damien Blank shows potential and though we are a rapidly tiring crowd, he works hard to keep up momentum.

Becky Crouch is the final act, and the only musical act. I am delighted that we have one female on the show. She is friendly, likeable and most importantly funny. Rounding off her set with an original song she has us all singing the chorus with her. This is one lady to watch, and given the dearth of female comedians on the Kiwi circuit she could fast become hot comedy property.

After some solid banter from Mickey D a decision has been made. Top Brit funnyman Stuart Goldsmith (one of the judges) takes to the stage and makes notable mention of Rob Harris and Becky Crouch. As I suspect, James Stewart is runner up and Maarten Idema‘s solidly droll performance takes out the top spot.

Watching new comedians is always exciting. The calibre of acts is high and seems to get higher with every year that passes. I think there are a some big hitters in the group and recommend you keep your eyes peeled for Becky, James, Maarten and Rob but also Gerard and Jimmy. I am convinced this is not the last you will hear of them!


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