SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

15/05/2015 - 16/05/2015

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

05/05/2015 - 09/05/2015

The Press Big Top - Busker Park, Christchurch

14/01/2016 - 23/01/2016

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015


Production Details

Your favourite ex-pat South African Urzila Carlson delivers up your yearly dose of side-splitting witticism in one jam packed hour with Man Up at Auckland’s Skycity Theatre 15th and 16th of May, and Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse on the 2nd and 6th – 9th of May.

Man Up explores society’s expectations of a man when he becomes a husband and a father… especially if that man is a lady. Urzila will examine gender roles, sexual rolls and ham rolls; all whilst demonstrating how to have a cup of cement and harden up — because big boys don’t cry right? Also, your long awaited answer to the “who’s your daddy” question. Best pop along and find out in what is sure to be another sassy, sell-out season, from this award-winning festival favourite.

Urzila hardly needs introduction, taking out the coveted TV3’s People’s Choice Award the last two years in a row & the NZ Comedy Guilds Best Female Comedian for the last 5 years with her straight up style of comedy. She is a regular on hit panel show 7 Days and 2014 saw her smash another hit season on the Australian touring circuit. 2014 also saw her appear in the OXFAM Melbourne International Comedy Gala, the ABC’s popular television show Spicks and Specs and ABC’s New Years Eve Live special.

Her shows have sold out for the last three years running, so avoid missing out on these pearls of gender wisdom and book now!

“Urzila Carlson is a unique sort of gem” – Dylan Moran TV3

“Standout performance, sidesplitting” – Rip It Up, Australia

“One of the best” – Russell Baillie, NZ Herald

As part of the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, for some great laughs, grab your favourite people and join us from 24 April – 17 May. 

For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz

Dates: Friday 15 – Saturday 16 May, 8pm
Venue: Skycity Theatre, Level 3, Corner of Wellesley and Hobson Streets
Tickets: $28 – $30 (booking fees apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 539) // ticketek.co.nz
Dates: Tuesday 2 May, 7pm, Wednesday 6 – Saturday 9 May, 8.30pm
Venue: Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace
Tickets: $28 – $30 (booking fees apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 539) // ticketek.co.nz


The Press Big Top, Busker Park
14th to the 23rd January, 7.30pm


Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Comedy ,

1 hour

Irresistible conviction

Review by Lindsay Clark 16th Jan 2016

Entering the stage of the Big Top to face an all but packed house has to take a bit of careful planning for a comedy performer. Urzila Carlson just does it to the beat of One Direction which she turns around to be her establishing material, reassuring and engaging with well-honed vivacity.

She is larger than life but at the same time that straight talking down-to-earth woman you come across at the bus stop. If you are very lucky. 

The persona will be unforgettably familiar to followers of television’s 7 Days, among other comedy highs and her style has been a hit in Australia. She is that big personality who has no need of anything more than the microphone to fashion a memorable evening out of observation and revelation strung along a wandering thread of highly entertaining reasoning. 

We should all man up. Why? Because men are stronger, can open jars for example and heft luggage… but then we’re off on the equalisers that make humanity rather than gender the most important thing about us. We have reflections on emotions and relationships and marriage. Unflagging energy, a voice rich in chuckles and a wonderfully expressive face weave it all together with irresistible conviction.  

Carlson’s material is saturated with personal memories and experience. Although she takes us from musical taste to a checklist for assessing strangers to the complications of long distance plane flights, gay marriage and the pitfalls of wedding cakes, the essential quality which creates her style and appeal is the sense of the real person behind the banter. 

An audience well pleased to meet her again would not have been disappointed in this latest encounter. She checks her watch now and then to pace the flow, but her audience would happily have had time suspended. 


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Loud, proud and irresistible

Review by Dione Joseph 16th May 2015

I’ve had the chance to see a few snippets of Urzila Carlson in action at this year’s comedy fest and they’ve been entertaining and smart – but her full-length show takes it to a completely new level and is an absolute BLAST.

This is the grand cocktail hour of comedy, from the opportunity to listen to Carlson’s iPod playlist and receive a multi-generational introduction to her personal musical choices; her refusal to pick on her audiences (except for the loudmouth); an invocation to smile more (not withstanding the ramifications of excess because that could hurt) and, to top it all off, a smooth effortless commentary on gender, social equality and of course, bringing babies into the world when you’re a lesbian.

Carlson is brilliant. Poised at the edge of Skycity theatre’s stage with twinkly stars behind her, she delivers her set with sass and style plus a dash of improv that never fails to get laughs from the audience. Man Up is laced with personal anecdotes and it’s clear the South-African-born Kiwi from West Auckland isn’t shy about bringing some hard-hitting truth to her audience. But she does so with such style that her 700 strong crowd is rocking right along with her.

The script feels fresh and some of the more familiar jokes are perfectly timed. The ending itself is super and wraps up a fabulous night of one of NZ’s best comics.  

A strong woman, loud and proud she offers you a night of laughs that you just can’t resist.


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Lights up the room

Review by Emma Gatsby 07th May 2015

Winner – Winner – Sold Out! That’s the heading that follows this lady’s media! I’m not surprised then to find the theatre packed out and glad I’ve got my ticket.

Urzila delivers gag after gag in her one woman show, Man Up. She’s a feminist and I’m thinking oh shoot, this is gonna either push my buttons in an attempt to undermine the masculine or try to put pants back on the women who fought so hard to get back into skirts post-feminist, first world modernism.

I’m wrong on both counts. This beautifully crafted, seamless, non-stop flow of gags, sitting neatly in observational comedy at its best, is full of non-gender-detrimental, seriously funny, punchlines. From falling off bikes to wrestling with musical preferences, Carlson breezes across the stage, like she has been there forever, tossing the audience self-reflective incidents which amuse to a high degree. 

Carlson clearly enjoys laughing at herself, making people laugh and having the audience laugh with her. Some even jump in their seats as her body articulates jokes with sporadic noises and charming gestures. She’s as sharp as a razor, her eyes and ears seemingly everywhere as she glides effortlessly between scripted jokes and stumbling into moments – including the Wellington wind howling at the Hannah Playhouse roof – to mould her comedy around.

No-wonder she’s a sell-out comedy star. She lets us into her seemingly ordinary world, lights up the room with her well refined freedom of speech and shows us what a huge laugh life is.

If you don’t have a ticket yet, find one, pinch one. Get yourself in front of this amazing and highly gifted comedienne, you won’t regret it.


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