BATS Theatre, Wellington

09/03/2015 - 12/03/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

From the Little Kumara to the Big Apple in Twelve Tiny Tequilas 

When stand-up comedian TM Bishop had a few drinks in her hometown of Dargaville, the last thing she expected was to wake up in New York two days later.

Opening March 9 at BATS Theatre, Big City Hillbilly recounts the experience of a provincial girl from one of New Zealand’s smallest towns surviving a drunken, spontaneous move to one of the biggest cities in the world.

“Sometimes you get drunk,” says Bishop. “Sometimes you wake up in your own bed, sometimes you wake up in someone else’s. Sometimes you wake up in New York.”

Big City Hillbilly details the comedic juxtaposition of a naïve country bumpkin attempting to live in a strange land with bizarre customs and traditions. “It was definitely a culture shock,” says Bishop. “But since I was there, I thought I’d stay for a drink.” 

Bishop is one of New Zealand’s most widely-touring comedians, appearing on television and at top venues around New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. She returned home from New York in top form to win three awards in the 2013 New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards, including Gag of the Year and The President’s Medal.

“gobsmackingly amazing Kiwi comedy thriller” – LateNite Show host, Scott Black

” -generating laughter across the nation and the world in her distinctly down-to-earth Kiwi style” – PJ Taylor 

“Her antics most certainly had us billowing with laughter.” – Mac+Mae 

Dates:  9 – 12 March, 6:30pm
Venue:  BATS Theatre
Tickets:  Adults $18, Conc. $14/$12
Bookings:  04 802 4175 or  

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,


From nitty-gritty to poignant surprise

Review by Jo Blick 10th Mar 2015

Most of us wake up after a big night on the tiles with an acid stomach and a vague sense of regret. Comedian TM Bishop woke up to find she’d booked a plane ticket to New York and had three hours to get to the airport. 

Big City Hillbilly is a slice of life romp through TM Bishop’s helter skelter world. TM concentrates equally on the hillbilly as she does the big city, with her upbringing in Dargaville as much of a focus as her adventures in The Bronx. And why not? The upstanding rural folk of New Zealand’s Kumara Capital are just as crazy as the crackheads of New York … At least they are the way TM tells it.

TM’s down-to-earth performance style allows her to turn some sensitive topics into excellent comedy. Her series of jokes about her absentee, alcoholic Dad are hilarious, her skewering of small town homophobia is dead-on and yes, there are jokes about sheep shagging. It would be un-Kiwi not to laugh.

She’s not squeamish about the nitty gritty of relationships between the sexes either. As she says “There’s a lot of jizz in this show.” (Note: for those of a nervous disposition,no actual bodily fluids are spilled during the performance.)

It’s possible that the later New York section of the show is not as fully realised as the early part of the show dealing with life in Dargaville. The laughs are there as TM tells us tales of how tough it is living in a shoebox sized apartment with a crack house down the road, the difficulties of dating and how she fell into an accidental threesome, but the pace seems to flag a little.

Then just as you’re wondering what it’s all about, she hits us with something that is as poignant and thought-provoking as it is surprising, given the belly laughs and blowjob gags that have preceded it.


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