Tom Sainsbury – The Man with the Cup From the Staffroom

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

07/05/2024 - 11/05/2024

NZ International Comedy Festival 2024

Production Details

Created and performed by Tom Sainsbury

Tom Sainsbury takes center stage with his cup from the staffroom.

Between sips of weak tea made with water from the zip, he’ll spin everyday situations into comedic gold.

From awkward encounters to bizarre escapades, no topic is off-limits in this rollercoaster of laughter.

Venue: Te Auaha – Tapere Nui
Dates: 7 – 11 May
Times: 6.45PM
Prices: $25 – $30
Booking link:

Comedy , Theatre , Solo ,

55 minutes

Like having a few wines and a laugh with particularly humorous colleague

Review by Tara McEntee 08th May 2024

It’s the first week of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, and the foyer of Te Auaha is packed with punters ready to spend an evening with the viral sensation Tom Sainsbury.

For those who don’t know Tom, he shot to fame in the late 2010s on Facebook with his short-form video content, playing made-up and real characters, much beloved by his audience.

At the start of the show, Toxic Tom is introduced to us, a new character in his repertoire; an office worker who loves a gossip and a ciggie on smoko. From here, Tom has his audience chuckling along with his anecdotes and musings for the next hour, including through running a competition to win a bespoke staffroom cup pilfered from a community hall.

Tom gushes thanks at the top of the show to his target demographic (as determined through social media insights), women aged 35-45, followed by women aged 45-65. It’s clear from the whoops and hollers from the audience at large that his marketing has worked well, and his target demographic are out in force tonight. I’m not a part of that target, nor is my partner, and our level of enjoyment of the show reflects that.

Tom’s content plays to those he’s targeted. The laughs keep on coming from the audience at large, and the hour flies by with stories of Tom’s attempts to be more positive and have a brighter outlook on things, and how bloody difficult that actually is.

Tom’s style isn’t what I expected from a big-name comedian like him; he was generally fairly low energy, and a lot of his content peters out without a classic stand-up punchline. However, it still works for the people intended. I feel like I am having a few wines and a laugh with particularly humorous colleague.

Unfortunately, the show doesn’t feel particularly slick – Tom often stumbles over his words and seems to sometimes get bits round the wrong way. I am sort of disappointed with this; it’s a recurrent theme from Comedy Festival shows in Wellington, where big name Auckland comedians use their Wellington dates as dress rehearsals for ‘the real thing’.

The sold-out show and happy punters leaving the theatre at the end of the hour are proof that Tom knows how to please his people. Tom’s connection with his audience and their love for him was palpable. It’s a shame that the show isn’t for me, but I know there are plenty of people out there who would love to spend an hour with The Man with the Cup from the Staffroom. He has four more shows in Wellington – if you want more Tom content IRL, get along.   


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