Vaughan King: Inventor

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

13/05/2009 - 16/05/2009

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

20/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Star of the New Zealand Pub and Comedy Club circuit for the best part of the last decade finally performing his first solo Festival show.  Vaughan King is the best comic you’ve never heard of.

An inventor since birth, Vaughan has come up with thousands of inventions in his 36 years on the planet. In the 2009 NZ International comedy festival he will use his distinctive style of stand up comedy to show the audience the best and worst of these. The audience become like the Dragons of "Dragon’s Den" as he pitches one idea after another. Is there a million dollar idea in here? From the bedtime story for adults to the toilet that never needs cleaning, you get to decide.

Vaughan King is committed to New Zealand and to NZ comedy, not leaving for the glittering overseas circuits like many others but still making a good living right here. Constantly on the road since his entry into professional comedy in 2002, Vaughan has travelled the length and breadth of this country performing everywhere from Central Otago pubs to classy Wellington bars and is, of course, a regular at The Classic in Auckland. 

Boasting more NZ comedy miles than anyone else, Vaughan is a rare act, completely accessible but totally original. He has the respect of audiences, comedy promoters and his peers alike. Now it’s your chance to find out why.

Dates:  Wed 13 – Sat 16 May, 10pm 
Venue:                 The Fringe Bar, Corner Cuba & Vivian Streets, City 
Tickets:  Adults $16 / Concession $14 / Groups 10+ $14 
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) 

Dates:  Wed 20 –  Sat 23 May, 10pm 
Venue:                 The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, City 
Tickets:  Adults $18 / Conc. $16 / Groups 10+ $16 
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) 
Tickets:  Adults $18 / Conc. $16 / Groups 10+ $16 

1hr, no interval

Good ideas abandoned

Review by Hannah Smith 14th May 2009

Vaughan King is an inventor.  Not a bespectacled boffin working away in his laboratory striving to find a cure for cancer, but a Kiwi bloke with an entrepreneurial streak who sees a need – however small, however unusual – and invents a product to fill it. 

The show consists of King displaying his inventions to the audience and having us judge them as Success or Fail – somewhat like TV program The Dragon’s Den – and in between he riffs on sex, medicine and milkshakes.

The invention gimmick is a clever idea, but in this particular Dragon’s Den I would rate the concept as a Fail. King does not have the necessary stage presence, confidence or banter to make it work. He begins conversations with audience members which he abruptly abandons – without a joke – and when heckled comes up with no more inventive response than to pull the fingers.

More importantly he does not even follow through on the Dragon’s Den set up.  We rate the first invention as a Success, but then the rest are skimmed over without our voting; discarding the very premise on which the show is constructed. This seems like a missed opportunity for ongoing interaction with the audience and I felt a bit robbed.  I had opinions about some of those inventions.  I wanted to vote.

His jokes are tired (strippers and blowjobs) and he seemed tired too. He explained he’d been at a gig on the other side of town, an Irish pub full of drunks, which had him in the wrong headspace – telling crass gags – but it seemed more like that had worn him out for the evening.

Perhaps this is why the set was so short; less than forty minutes is a bit under par for a show that bills itself at 1 hour for $16.

But you don’t just have to take my word for it – there is a test!  Vaughan King’s publicity flyer contains a message in code (cool idea). If you crack the code a joke is revealed.  Do this. If you like the joke, perhaps you will like the show.  I didn’t like either.
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The Invisible Reviewer May 14th, 2009

Hmmm,  Ive seen Vaughan king a  couple of times before, the first time was a few years ago while on a business trip in New Plymouth. While I forget the name of the venue, his stage persona I found to be quite relaxed and charming, it was a show that he was clearly enjoying and that fed the energy of the audience.  I saw him about 6 months ago at the Classic and while a lot of the material was familiar to me from that show way back when, this performance was clearly one that he was not enjoying - or at the very least struggling with. I figured I'd seen him firing before and enjoyed myself immensely, personally I liked the gimmick on his flyer, I decided I'd check out his show.

From the start, he seemed somewhat flustered or rushed. He did say that he had been at  another gig and he did say it might have put him in the wrong headspace for a one hour show. Had he not made that statement, I might have assumed that he was ill prepared. I enjoyed the show overall, the concept of an inventor seeking public response (positive or negative) before patenting is a curious twist to the standard "here is an hour of funny Ive made up".

I saw it less as "Dragons Den" and more as one of those infomercials you see on late night tv - "how did we ever survive without titanium carbide fly swatting non stick reversable cheese graters before? " ran through my head as I chortled.

It's a pity we were'nt given the opportunity to vote on some of the inventions, it was a nice idea that would have been thethread that bound the whole thing together, having said that, the show was no less enjoyable and though lacking in structure tickled me pink. I hope those gloves will be on sale somewhere 'handy" soon.

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