Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

01/05/2012 - 05/05/2012

Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

15/05/2012 - 19/05/2012

NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Production Details


TJ McDonald’s brand new comedy show is an exploration of the absurd, dumb and, above all, hilarious choices that he’s made throughout his life.

McDonald has become known for his brand of smart, edgy comedy and this brand new show is no exception. In what promises to be his most hilarious show yet, he willingly relives some of the most sharply embarrassing moments of his life, solely for the entertainment and amusement of his audience. From first dates and bedroom misadventures, to his Catholic upbringing and his relationship with drugs, no memory is too sacred or sinful to bring to the stage.

TJ is one of the newest professional comedians to arrive on the Auckland scene, having made the move from Wellington late last year. The move has paid off – earning TJ a nomination for the 2012 Billy T Award and landing him an upcoming appearance in the second season of TV2’s A Night At The Classic.

TJ McDonald has been performing on the New Zealand circuit for five years. In 2010 TJ spent three months in the U.S.A, where he performed in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. Then in 2011, TJ made the move from Wellington to Auckland in order to more firmly establish himself on the professional scene. TJ is a regular performer at The Classic Comedy Club in Auckland. 

TJ’s festival show will be premiering in Wellington on Tuesday 1st May and in Auckland on Tuesday 15th May.

‘Spirit of the Festival’ Award Winner – 2010 NZ International Comedy Festival

2012 Billy T Award Nominee

“Funny, astute and intelligent… I highly recommend you go.” – Lillian Richards, Theatreview

As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2012 

Dates: 1 May – 5 May, 7pm
Venue: The Fringe Bar, Cnr Vivian & Cuba St

Dates: 15 May – 19 May, 8:45pm
Venue: Upstairs @ The Basement, Level 1, Lower Greys Ave

Tickets: Adults $20, Conc. $18 / Groups of 6+ $18
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK or
Duration: 1 hour

For a full line up of performances, booking details & more information, visit  


Relaxed, casual, self-effacing yet quietly confident

Review by John Smythe 03rd May 2012

The Fringe Bar’s stage is already dressed with three flip-pads as we wait for the show to start. The central one announces ‘These Are The Things For Which I Shall Not Apologise’ (denoting an impeccable education in English grammar, at least). This is an interesting contrast to his show’s title: My Life Has Been a Series of Poorly Made Decisions

Stage right features ‘Life Lessons I Have Learnt’ and stage left, ‘Dad Jokes’, with both lists hidden by removable strips. All very promising. And in his relaxed, casual, self-effacing yet quietly confident way, TJ McDonald delivers.

His warm-up beat almost comes unstuck when a “Where are you from?” elicits “Spain” and he has no rejoinder to that (isn’t their economy sinking?). The whole girlfriend – current lack of – status is a recurring theme; always good for the sympathy vote.

TJ’s ’60s-style spectacles are offered as fair warning that his humour includes a “slightly dated sense of racism and sexism” – and again, he delivers, unapologetically, as also foreshadowed. A Roman Catholic education also, happily, makes God stuff and Pope jokes inevitable.

The four ‘Dad jokes’ interspersed through the hour are splendidly groan-worthy and have the added benefit of making his other material comparatively sophisticated.

As to his Life Lessons, it’s what he does with each category that’s insightfully funny, so I don’t think it’s a spoiler to reveal he covers his bad habits, his desire to be noticed, how religion made him a loser, his cowardice and – testing us on this one too – the question of whether or not he is a racist and what exactly that means.

With quips about the fortunes arising from becoming a full-time stand-up comedian, TJ draws to his climactic conclusion by [doing stuff I’ve been asked not to reveal].  

His laid-back style is a welcome contrast to the high-energy, manic and/or angry dynamics others bring – quite validly – to their work, making the Fringe Bar an ideal venue for his show. 


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