Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

14/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

07/05/2013 - 11/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Award winning comedians Vaughan King and Alan McElroy bring you “One Bucket, Two Comedians” playing Wellington on the 7th to 11th of May and Auckland from the 14th – 18th of May.  The show takes standard bucket list ideas and takes them beyond your imagination – with the help of director Ben Crowder

One Bucket, Two Comedians begins in the future with two washed up comedians, full of regrets about not achieving their own goals from their bucket list.  So they embark on a crazy interactive journey back in time to now!  To this show!  On this stage!  In a homemade time machine!  And they set about fulfilling their own ridiculous bucket list ideas and helping members of the audience achieve theirs.

Alan McElroy was born and bred in Dublin, Ireland.  He has a degree in Media Production and Management worked in live television for two years before moving to Auckland in 2010.  Later that year, he was voted the “Best Newcomer” at the NZCG Awards and has become very busy on the pro circuit since. His debut solo show at the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival sold out 6 nights and an extra show was put on.  This year he has been the warm up comedian for the television shows ‘Would I Lie To You’, ‘7 Days’ and the live recording on Red Nose Day.

Vaughan has been performing comedy in New Zealand for over a decade and has toured the length of the country a number of times with great success. Twice nominated for the coveted Billy T Award, Vaughan has also taken home several NZ Comedy Guild Awards including “Best Show”, “Best MC”, “Green Roomer”, “Most Offensive Gag” (all 2010) and “Best Show Concept” in 2009 for his groundbreaking and certainly comic look at the world of the inventor; Vaughan King: Inventor. In 2012, Vaughan won over audiences with a touching biographical showcase of his life in; From Zero to Twenty in Sixty Minutes. And one of the best shows yet ‘What could possibly go wrong.’ 

Vaughan’s friendly manner, astute, acerbic observations and quietly disturbing self-deprecating style of comedy is a hit with people of all ages, placing him well on the way into the elite ranks of kiwi comedy. With spots on ‘Comedy Galas’ and ‘7Days ‘, Vaughan King is without argument one of New Zealand comedy’s golds.

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival 


Dates: Tues 7- Sat 11 May, 8pm
Venue: BATS, Corner Cuba & Dixon Streets
Tickets:        $16 – $20 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 04 8024175 or

Dates: Tues 14 – Sat 18 May, 8.30pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City
Tickets:        $16 – $20 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842538) or

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Unpolished, unfocused, sloppy

Review by Stephen Austin 15th May 2013

So last night I felt I was a bit outside the demographic for some of the references from Joseph Moore and his 90s rap upbringing.  I guess tonight, I’m gonna feel a bit more at home with a couple of comedians a bit more around my age doing some classic sight gags and prop comedy.  Right? 

Uh.  I guess…

Vaughan King and Alan Mcelroy try to seize life and set out to tick a few achievements off their respective ‘Bucket Lists’ before they die.  Life is simply too short, so they’ve decided to share that with us and help us tick a few off our own by leaving a bucket in the foyer for us to throw our ideas into. 

Except it seems all anyone in the audience who actually knew the bucket was there in the first place wants is to have sex with All Blacks.  Or has a death wish.  

Ok, so the improvisation element has been dispensed with and both performers now have to rely on the sketch comedy that they’ve written to keep the hour sustained.

Whether this is intentional or not, I’m unsure, but it makes for a bit of an anarchic, shambolic mess by the end of the hour.

Prop comedy is best when it is manipulative or transformational.  Simply throwing around lots of Two Dollar Shop knick-knacks really isn’t going to take an audience anywhere, unless you have some interesting ideas and a structure on which to hang it.

King and Mcelroy don’t too seem concerned that the sketches are unconnected, the laughs are strained and the gags are old.  They just go for it as frantically as they can and try to pretend its all intentional.  

Sure, this isn’t ‘high-end theatre’ and there are a few somewhat funny moments and they connect with the audience well, but by the end of it they seem to have missed the point of the exercise and I feel I’m left a bit short-changed on the original idea of exploring the wishes, no matter how weird, of everyone in the room. 

Sound is way too loud for performers to be audible and the design of it is riddled with indulgent gags.  Lighting cues are applied with a sledgehammer and quite unfocused. 

I feel relieved to be leaving the theatre: a piece of smashed plastic guitar having narrowly missed my face during the finale of the show. 

Unpolished, unfocused, sloppy.  These two seasoned comedians should know how to put a show together better by now. I think a return to the drawing board is called for. Or an outside eye. 


JennyD May 15th, 2013

Apologies John, my fault, I meant to say Stephen Austin, have changed it now.

John Smythe May 15th, 2013

Cheers Tammy - Steve Austin reviewed the Auckland show.  My review is here:

John Smith May 15th, 2013

Wow, you must have been the only one who did not enjoy the show.  The audience loved it.  If the 'gags were old' why were there so many laughs?  My partner and I loved the show!  It was 'anarchic' and what is the problem with that?  'Bottom' and 'The Young Ones' were anarchic and they were fantastic and I was reminded of those tv shows from the start. 

I was not expecting to enjoy the show so much because I was dragged along but i recommend the Bucket show, we had a very fun night

JennyD May 15th, 2013

I completely disagree with this review as well and think Stephen Austin must be the only person who left this show not laughing or having had fun!

I thought the show flowed really well and couldn't believe it had been an hour when it ended. Alan McElroy and Vaughan King worked great together and had me and - although I can't speak for everyone - the vast majority of the room, laughing from beginning to end.

I definitely recommend going to see this show, absolutely brilliant!

Tammy May 15th, 2013

I saw this show last night and I totally disagree with your review.  I found the story line great, the gags were funny and well thought out and I found the props and sound effects really added to it! 

I have been to a lot of comedy shows over this festival and this has been one of my favourites.

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A hodgepodge of ‘hey, this’ll be funny’ ideas

Review by John Smythe 08th May 2013

Billed as “interactive chaos that you’ll never regret”, One Bucket, Two Comedians is an odd mixture of absurdist and crass comedy. 

Opening the show in bad wigs – Vaughan King in frumpy drag; Alan McElroy in a strange outfit – they play cards, get physical and chase each other about, kicking a few randomly scattered buckets in the process … McElroy has a long and crumpled ‘bucket list’ and a bucket that was strategically-placed bucket in the foyer before contains ‘wish list’ items deposited by the audience.

It emerges they are a couple of washed up old comedians – way in the future – whose job now is to warm up clothes for various clients, delivered and dispatched via a chute up-stage centre. The second consignment is the dark suits they wear for the rest of the evening, and that’s that for that promisingly absurdist idea.  

What looks like a wheelie bin turns out to be a splendidly rigged-out ‘time machine’ which transmits them back to this very night at Bats Theatre so they can “put things right”, given their downward spiral began right here … I guess this means if they go down well tonight they’ll have redeemed themselves and if they don’t, they’ll have demonstrated why they become washed up.  

Betwixt and between the interactive stuff, random sketches are played out by the ‘Two Comedians’. Vaughan King has a well-focused moment masquerading as a psychic. But Alan McElroy brings the tone down early on with his “that’s what you call a mono-log” gag. Twice.  

I’m not sure any of the ideas plucked from the bucket are genuine, or whether such ‘bucket list offers’ as we might make would ever be conducive to improvised comedy. The desire to be shot from a canon certainly isn’t ‘real’, given the handy proximity of the required props, but it does allow for some enjoyable audience participation (thanks Craig).

In a sequence pumped up as a game show spectacle, one Evan gets to guess the contents of sandwiches. And Mike, also from the audience, is amusingly subjected to a lie detector test to fulfil someone’s apparent desire to “Get away with a crime”. 

Alex and Cherie happily role play a LARP fulfilling another presumably phony bucket list item: jousting. But the knight’s helmets made from buckets are well wrought. And the prize Alex wins sees his bag searched at Customs, which results in perhaps the best gag of the night. 

The ‘round the world with 15-odd hats and props’ is lots of fun too, seasoned as it is with equal opportunity cultural stereotyping. 

The early set up of McElroy wanting to be The Cookie Monster and King wanting to be a street musician from Harlem gets paid off as the musical finale – and if you thought you’d seen the last white actor in blackface somewhere around the middle of last century, think again.  

Over all, possibly because it is both under-developed and under-rehearsed, One Bucket, Two Comedians comes across as a hodgepodge of ‘hey, this’ll be funny’ ideas with no greater purpose and no real unifying theme despite the bucket motif, so ‘try hard’ is the term that springs to mind.

But given the actors and director (Ben Crowder) have impressive credentials, it may well hit its straps as the season progresses. I hope so.


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