The Classic, Auckland

30/04/2013 - 11/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details



“a natural intellect with a knack for reporting the harsh realities of life with a dark and absurdly optimistic cynicism” New York Times 

Tom Rhodes is a world traveller comedian.  An adventurer forging his own path, Rhodes has built a career that includes television, live CD’s & DVD’s, his own podcast, travel writing and a non-stop tour taking him to every corner of Earth.  Rhodes is the rare comedian to regularly headline shows in Bali, Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Geneva, Zurich, Munich, and Stockholm as well as the more common comedy cities of London, Sydney, New York and throughout North America. 

In May 2013, Rhodes will make his first appearance in New Zealand with an exclusive season at The Classic, New Zealand’s home of live comedy.

Tom was the first comedian to sign a one year development deal with Comedy Central that led to his one hour special, Viva Vietnam, (1995) a comedy travel log to the newly opened country as a heartfelt tribute to his father and the other veterans who served. The special was critically acclaimed with The Washington Post featuring Tom and his father on the cover of the Style section in a story about the special and how the show’s premiere in Washington DC attracted both Vietnamese and US diplomats laughing in the same room when they were once mortal enemies.

In 1996/97, Tom created and starred in the sitcom Mr. Rhodes, which aired for a full season on NBC and around the world including New Zealand.

Over the last 10 years Rhodes has toured the world performing, writing and recording blogs, releasing three DVD’s of his work including shows at the Sydney Opera House.

It was during this time that he first met local comedian, Brendhan Lovegrove, most recently at the Jakarta International Comedy Festival in October 2012, prompting an invitation to the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival and his season at The Classic.

As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2013


Dates: Tues 30 Apr – Sat 4, Mon 6 – Sat 11 May, 8.30 pm                 
Venue:  The Classic, 321 Queen St
Tickets: $25 – $28 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800Ticketek or or

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

Owning his bravery, genius and brilliance

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 01st May 2013

An established American comedian with a razor sharp global perspective, plus an honest take on a dirty mind and a healthy disregard for some aspects of his own country and culture, comedy don Tom Rhodes is up there with the best. 

Introduced by his #1 Kiwi fan Brendhan Lovegrove, Rhodes is unaffected by jetlag, lack of air conditioning and the oonst-oonst music from elsewhere in the building (get some Classic sound-proofing when you can afford it please), as he struts on and launches into a blistering hour of comedy with more JPM (jokes per minute) than I’ve ever heard from a solo stand up. He layers them up thick and fast with that gorgeous gritty gravelly voice: set up-punch-line-boom-next-set-up-punch line-boom… all night long. So good.

Not so much the meandering narrative or “here’s a bit of a story for you” sort of guy, Rhodes’ style, at first, is cocky and confident, fast and incredibly diverse. Pacing round like a caged lion, the diversity of content is extraordinary, from badass blokey to subtle sensitivities; from unique world-view, to personal perspective.

At the top of the night, it feels like he uses his standard material to suss us out: who are we, what do we like, how do we react and where are our boundaries. Thankfully he realises this Kiwi crowd is looking for something more than dope, Australia v NZ and sheep jokes. The turning point for me is his sublime break-dancing injury gag, after which he relaxes (slightly), softens (slightly), and even reveals a bit of self-deprecation by the end. The rest of the night is excellent.

Rhodes gives an astute self-assessment of his own material (a reviewer’s dream!), declaring some jokes are designed for one person at a time, while others are for everyone. Consequently I’m on my own when I laugh like a drain at the cook-book joke, but my jaw drops in silent disbelief when he goes to Boston so soon after you-know-what. He’s brave, he’s genius and somehow – because he qualifies it as ‘in development’, and it’s within the tapestry of the rest of his brilliance – he owns it.

Personally, favourite topics include: observations from global travels (especially Amsterdam, England and Germany); judgmental Christians; how mosques will save America; homophobia in the military; his mongrel mix, the origins of racism, and how to rid the world of racism; the probing question he’ll never get to ask Michael Jackson; American gun laws; haters on YouTube; cricket; Robert Plant; the importance of good timing and finally – true happiness.

Mr Rhodes, thank you so much for going the extra 1500 miles after your Oz gigs, to finally make it to NZ. Please come again. Highly recommended.


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