TOM FURNISS: Worstest Hits

Q Theatre, The Vault, Auckland

26/04/2014 - 03/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Never in the history of art has anyone been so bold (read stupid) as to exclusively reveal their worst creations to the outside world. But at Q Theatre between the 26th of April and the 3rd of May, that is exactly what the visionary messiah, the comedic pioneer, the fucking moron, that is Tom Furniss will endeavour to do. This is his Worstest Hits.

Michaelangelo had his Sistine chapel, Bronte her Wuthering Heights, Hootie and The Blowfish their “The Best of Hootie and The Blowfish”, and now Tom Furniss has “all those stupid, unintelligible partial sentenced iphone memos he sent to himself whilst drunk.” The jokes, the stories, the musings, that were up till now deemed too terrible to share with an audience. 

This being his fourth NZ International Comedy Festival, Tom has had three consecutive sell out shows, being nominated for Best Newcomer in 2011, then was a Billy T Award nominee in 2012 and 2013. In 2011 he wrote and directed the V48 Hour Film Competition winning film, The Child Jumpers, and most recently has had multiple appearances on TV3’s 7 Days. It’s about time he did something with a little less scope for achievement.


Dates: Sat 26 & Wed 30 April – Sat 3 May, 10pm 
Venue: Vault at Q Theatre, Auckland 
Tickets: Adults $18.00 | Conc. $15.00 
Groups 6+ $15.00* service fees may apply 
Bookings: 09 309 9771 
Show Duration: 1 hour

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,


Drunkards a help or hindrance?

Review by Nik Smythe 27th Apr 2014

This show is billed in the Festival Programme as Grand Cheval Life!, a two hander starring Tom Furniss and Cam Neate.  According to the PA announcement by Tom’s trusty technician Nick, Cam had to pull out at the eleventh our apparently because of something to do with bees?  I didn’t quite catch it to be honest.  So Tom’s going it alone with a show called Worstest Hits.

There’s a loudly drunken birthday crowd in the first two rows, shouting aggressively and egging eachother on.  The birthday boy tries to take the mic to tell a joke but is sent back to his front row seat with his mortifically embarrassed girlfriend by the venue staff.  By the time the show begins the remainder of the house are a bit concerned these obnoxious yobbos are going to ruin it for everybody. 

We needn’t have worried, although as Furniss’s opening act ‘Keegan’ enters, an awkward sheltered teenager with grown-out hair and a jersey that prompts the drunk party to call him David Bane, the tension mounts as his purposely stiff, ungainly opening gambit gets them gibbering with disbelief at what’s happening. 

Birthday boy pipes up again and Keegan tells him to shut up.  Birthday boy’s girlfriend approves shouting, “You tell him!” 
Keegan replies, “I did, I’ll tell you next!”
Gf: “Oh please do!”
Keegan: “Alright, shut up!” and the crowd goes wild with mirth.  You may have had to be there…

After Keegan, Tom Furniss starts his show proper and the closest analogy I can muster, as opposed to a train wreck, is the comedy equivalent of the burning monk.  Except instead of the Vietnam War, he’s protesting, I don’t know, political correctness and what scant remnants of good taste and decorum still exist in the comedy scene?  And instead of being perfectly still and meditational he’s all over the show like a hyperactive maniac.  So it’s a crappy analogy really, which in a way makes it valid. 

The deal is Furniss willingly baring and crucifying the dark soul that is the repertoire of drunkenly scribbled jokes he’s compiled in his four years as a comedian.  Specifically, the ones he’s never used in any previous acts because they weren’t good enough, yet apparently he never thought to delete them – perhaps in case the zeitgeist of what’s funny or not dramatically shifts in the future? – and that is ultimately what is being tested tonight, on us.

It’s possible I’m attributing this outrageous, gall ridden lame-fest with more philosophical depth than it really holds.  In any case, as far as the jokes and loose routines go, the Worstest Hits title fits. 

Normally I shy away from revealing a comic’s jokes out of respect and desire not to spoil it for people planning to go.  In this instance I’m really just sparing you for the most part.  The jokes are bad and he knows it, all pumped and wired as he is delivering them in rapid fire chunks between other bits of business.  Sometimes hilariously bad, others just plain bad. 

What does win the crowd over, even the front rows, is his sharp-witted, fearless interactions with his borderline hostile public.  The main culprits are so fully served I half suspected they were stooges but I really don’t believe so.  I’m left wondering whether he could’ve reached the comedy heights he somehow achieved this opening preview night with a less boisterously pissed audience.


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