San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

09/04/2015 - 09/04/2015

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

23/04/2015 - 23/04/2015

VK's Comedy & Blues Bar, 60 Dixon St, Wellington

16/04/2015 - 16/04/2015

Production Details

The Search Begins

The Wellington Raw Comedy Quest returns to the capital to find Wellington’s funniest face for 2015.

The winner and runner up will compete in the National Raw Comedy Quest final, the biggest comedy competition in New Zealand.

In 2014 at only 18, Wellington student James Malcolm became one of the youngest winners of the National Raw Comedy Quest, beating out the best in country in a sold out final at Q Theatre in Auckland.

With only 6 minutes to impress the judges, this can be the first step on the path to becoming a professional comedian, or it could be the last! Either way, every competitor will have joined a long list of Kiwis vying to become the National Raw Comedy Quest champion.

There are only two heats left in the competition. With only 8 semi-finals place left, this is the last chance for performers to make it. 

Six heats, two semi-finals, one Wellington final, one National final, $2000 in prize money, one winner. Can Wellington do it again?

All shows start at 8pm
Heats $15/$12” San Fran 171 Cuba St 

Remaining heats:
Heat 5 Thursday 02 April – Fringe Bar, with MC Ants Heath 
Heat 6 Tuesday 7th April – San Fran, with MC Ben Caldwell 

Semi-finals $18/$15
Semi-final 1 Thursday 9th April – San Fran, with MC Neil Thornton
Semi-final 2 Thursday 16th April – VKs Comedy Bar, with MC James Nokise 

Final $25
Thursday 23rd April – San Fran, with MC Justine Smith 

Ticketing through Eventfinda.co.nz 

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

Five from 12 head to the final

Review by Patrick Davies 21st Apr 2015

The second of two semifinals in the Humurous Trust’s competition is hosted by James Nokise and features another 12 competitors. The bar is packed and humming – VK’s is quickly becoming the go-to spot for comedy. 

Nokise’s style is wonderfully relaxed, yet pointed: this man is as sharp as a tack. He quickly rounds up the audience into groups, bouncing and riffing between the two without seemingly going into any stock material. A real Pro. 

The first set opens with Peter Hodkinson who roller-coasts his way through his attempts to pick up women, even inviting audience participation. He is confident and has solid material. Next up its Savanna Calton who has some good material about being still at home and the way some things in life should be rebranded. Her energy is more compact but still as strong.

Bas Jeffrey has a more mature theme going down, simply because he is more mature and has more material to go on. He begins strongly but does lose momentum near the end. His ideas on Easter and what it means for whom is his best stuff. Last up before the drinks break is Lee Ray who brings motherhood into focus. She’s strong and with a wide variety in the audience easily moves through her parenting styles getting great laughs from all.

Second set and it’s the only pair I’ve seen in these two nights – Zane and Degge. Dressed as a Zebra they are the more out-of-the-box style. They hold the room brilliantly with some physical lazzi (a gag that grows the comedy through repetition and evolving the gag) involving their pants; and their structure is brilliant, leading inexorably to a great pun. Next up Anna Hammer who has sass written all over her. Sometimes she comes across a little too strong and may need to woo her crowd more.

Miriam Malthus has a thing for cats and mines some gold out of reverse psychology. Both Anna and Miriam could benefit from better mic technique as we, at the back, are sometimes leaning in to hear them. Amberly Sutherland arrives up with haggis. She is very confident and strongly finishes the set. 

The third and final set starts with Ollie Crafter, a Brit with an obsession for embarrassing bodies. He has some good stuff leaning towards the British sense of schadenfreude.

Joel Hansby is someone I’ve seen before and here he has material I’ve seen before. This is perfectly fine and dandy as this is a competition and all comics repeat loads of their material. Here it is an object lesson in refinement. I reviewed this material in the Fringe where it was some one liners with a threadbare through line. Then I saw some of it again when he appeared at the opening of VKs where it was greatly improved but still a little hit and miss. Here it’s tighter, leaner and funnier. Joel has learnt when to hold, when to reveal, and how to place the killer twists that structure the set.

Lucy Roche follows with an (apparently) anti-feminist Valley girl who skewers aggressive sexuality and takes no prisoners. She’s strong, confident and charms the audience to her own liking. Lastly is Louis Tait who has some very practiced material around Nelson, Nick Smith and the like. He’s in charge of what he’s doing and the crowd likes it.

Nokise has kept the evening running well, though it is a long evening. He’s kept us in tow as well as keeping in mind that some of the performers have less track record than most comics you see today. Not that that really shows. He certainly takes on hecklers well and were it not a long night I would have enjoyed hearing him deal to a drunk patron at the back.

Unfortunately for us he knows it’s not about him and the drunk so we get to onto the people going through to the final at San Fran Bar (Thursday 23/04, 8pm). They are: Pete Hodkinson, Savanna Calton, Joel Hansby, Lucy Roche and Louis Tait.


Humorous Arts Trust April 21st, 2015

Thanks Patrick and Theatreview for being available to review the Raw Comedy Quest. The Humorous Arts Trust would also like to thank the Wellington City Council for supporting live stand up comedy through the Creative Communities scheme. 

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Four from twelve …

Review by Patrick Davies 10th Apr 2015

Reviewing stand up is like reviewing Improv, only a smidge easier. Regular appearances of comics lets audiences get used to the style of a particular comic and whether they want to follow them or not. But still this kind of performance is really a ‘you had to be there’ kind of night. We are at a well packed old haunt of comedy – San Fran Bar – where comics old and new have been ripping up the boards for years.  

Neil Thornton (check out p32 of the Comedy Fest programme) is our Master of Ceremonies, warming us up and keeping us pumped in between acts (3 sets of four). One feels one would attend more Theatre if there were a bar in one’s auditorium. He’s been in Welly for a year and as a New Yorker has some great comparisons between the two. He has a knack for saying almost the wrong thing to this crowd and then tickling them with his punchlines.

Each of the comics have been through the heats and have 6 minutes to make their mark while mysterious and anonymous (to the audience) judges watch in the shadows. There’s always something fun and relaxing about a dingy dive, beer and the smell of a crowd ready to laugh. 

First set and up first we have Craig Savage who has a confident voice, good pace and structures his Moroccan adventures well. If this is the bench mark of the evening (and it pretty much is) then we’re doing well. Sanjay Parbhu follows with geeky material and it’s his beat box interpretations that really appeal with a solid set.

Next Welshman Adam Chown follows Neil’s riff with some great comparisons between the Welsh, the Irish and the Wellingtonian. His appeals for the audience not to laugh at some of his jokes is a stroke of genius, and he has the patter that a cockney at a street market would be proud of. Jundas Capone rounds out with some material I’ve seen before in the Fringe. Here it’s tighter, slicker, and therefore funnier. He has a great sense for the one liner and when he jumps into the audience you can feel the temperature of the room rise – a very well used sense of tension. 

After our first drinks break Li’i Alaimoana is a very big presence and brings up an interesting question. I find some of his topics bordering on offensive, and not in a good way. Certainly the people at the table around me (not friends) are quiet and yet around the room there’s some very loud laughter. Is it OK for a darkie to use the word “nigger”, but not OK to parody Indians? At what point is it OK to have the drunk Irishman but not comedy of possible sexual abuse? I use those terms simply to see what visceral feelings are engendered as you read. He achieves what Neil Thornton describes as the Holy Trinity of Comedy: The “Oh”, The Groan and The Clap simultaneously.

Alice Brine is a staple on the comedy scene and it shows. She also has a geeky side and insights into all-female flatting that find their mark. Lyle Newman is one of the more structured sets relating to old people, tattoos and cleanliness that has a wonderful pay off to finish. We end with Uther Dean and a collection of articulate thoughts with a very strong narrative. He has an ease of performance. Complete [in joke – as I say, you have to be there on the night). 

The last set of the night starts with Lorraine Ward who is a stand out of the evening. Seemingly po-faced she paces her delivery perfectly in tune with the crowd. She’s adept at waiting for the right moment to add the next punchline to a growing joke eliciting great laughs. As a nana she has a different perspective from anyone else on the stage tonight, and while her material around age reminds me of Michele A’Court she comes to it with a different voice.

American Halley Gray also riffs on the differences of nationality and introduces us to the wonder of Yawn Popping. She has a great line in enjoying being vanilla (heterosexual, middle aged, etc) and her family stories skirt some interesting boundaries around leaving this earth, but hey, these are the guys that gave us Bush so we go with the flow. When she says ‘true story’….

Patch Lambert follows very confidently. He has a presence that you recognise as the ‘male comedian’, in a good way: confident, sure of his material and cocky, in a good way. He responds to the audience like an old hand. His early work on the Hutt (where would Welly comedy be without it) and Bunnings goes well, but he does begin to lose momentum on his shark material. But he swaggeringly reprimands the audience and gets away with it.

Last of the evening, as he rightly laments to us, is Josh Davies. At 18 he looks possibly the youngest of the night, utilizing this and his wait time to get some very genuine laughs at his own expense. This material seems to come straight off the audience interaction and we like him because it shows a more mature comedian’s skill. He also has a disability and brilliantly uses it without asking for pity, in fact his reverse tactic as ‘the best excuse ever’ goes down a treat – I’ll never look at skiing the same way again. 

While the judges get together we are treated to a set from Daniel John Smith, last year’s winner. He’s a comic I haven’t seen before and he moves through his set with ease and fun garnering laughs left right and centre, as if he’s been doing it forever. If you see his name around (again, a ‘you-had-to-be-there’ in-joke), make sure you go and see him. You might not take your nana to see him unless she has spent time with his family.

With that the judges are back and (in order of appearance) Adam Chown, Jundas Capone, Alice Brine, Lorraine Ward and Patch Lambert are on their way to the Finals. 

Next Thursday the Second Semi-Final is at VK’s (the old BATS Satellite Bar) and I suggest you get there early to get a seat. 


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