Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Town Hall, Auckland

04/05/2010 - 08/05/2010

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

26/04/2010 - 01/05/2010

Glenroy Auditorium, The Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop Street, Dunedin

24/03/2011 - 25/03/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Dunedin Fringe 2011

Production Details

A shining star of the 2009 Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala, and now with his very own BBC radio series (The Wilson Dixon Line, BBC Radio 2), our favorite country singer from Cripple Creek, Colorado, is back at the NZ International Comedy Festival with a brand new show about an epic road trip he took across America.
For the last two years, Wilson has been living next to his ex-wife, Maureen – she ran off with another man, a man who happened to be the next door neighbour. Consequently, his life has been quite strange; like the time Maureen threw a bbq or when she popped over to borrow a cup of sugar – to make her new man a birthday cake.
So Wilson says goodbye to his horse, packs his guitar and his dog, and hits the road (he doesn’t really pack his dog, he just comes along for the ride. Packing dogs is actually illegal. Let’s put an end to this madness).
Putting miles between himself and his life in Cripple Creek, he throws caution to the wind, blows away the cobwebs, and subsequently has to deal with some angry spiders in the air vent of his pick up truck.
And what a world Wilson encounters; a lonely lady running a butcher shop and hairdressing salon in one, a philosophical hick pumping gas, and a man in a wheelchair that gets pulled around by a crocodile in a harness.
After thousands of miles and hundreds of towns, Wilson eventually finds himself in Nashville, Tennessee the home of country music, and is faced with one of the biggest choices of his life.
Since his 2009 total sell-out NZ Comedy Festival season of Wilson Dixon Saddle Sore, the cowboy philosopher has toured NZ with the Crunchie Comedy Convoy and The Comedy Christmas Gala and premiered Wilson Dixon’s American Dream to rave reviews and sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe, he also appeared on Loose Ends on BBC 4 alongside Griff Rhys Jones, Malcolm McLaren, Clive Anderson and Diana Quick. His own BBC Radio series The Wilson Dixon Line was played in May 2009 throughout the UK and has recently enjoyed a second transmission.
"Wilson Dixon is a construction of genius… As his masterful wordplay built to a climax, the suppressed laughter was palpable even before he finished each devastatingly astute couplet. His simple formula delivers consistently, and his full-bodied character allows for forlorn and wistful moments in an affectionate nod to the musical tradition which produced this comic creation."
Upstage Write, Cutting the Fringe, UK [Edinburgh Fringe Festival preview, July 2009]
For the first time ever Wilson Dixon will also be heading down to the capital, so Wellingtonians hold onto your hats, this is a unique brand of cowboy humour – get in fast this will sell out!

Dates: Mon 26 April – Sat 1 May, 8.30pm
Venue: San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, City
Tickets: Adults $27, Conc. & Groups 10+ $25
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK, www.ticketek.co.nz 
Show duration:   1 hour 

Dates: Tues 4 – Sat 8 May, 7pm 
Venue: Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE, City 
Tickets: Adults $28, Conc. & Groups 10+ $26.50 
Bookings: 0800 BUYTICKETS (289 842) www.buytickets.co.nz 
Show duration: 1 hour 

THUR 24TH & FRI 25TH MARCH 2011 

A marvellous, fully developed and loveable character

Review by Patrick Davies 25th Mar 2011

Another Dunedin comic makes it big, and in front of a capacity crowd, Jesse Griffin’s loveable cowboy wowed them. Jesse was one of a posse of Dunedin talent that went through Allen Hall Theatre at one of its most prolific and talented times. He moved onto fame and work with ‘The Four Noels’ in Australia and continues his success with Wilson Dixon.

Wilson has been making appearances on television and Griffin can be seen popping up on 7 Days, but this is the first time Dunedin audiences has seen Griffin perform since 1994. And what a wonderful return it is. The moment Wilson walks in there is a cheer from the crowd, while the door almost knocks of his hat – somehow extremely fitting both for the character and the comedy to come.

Wilson comes from Cripple Creek and this show is his American Dream, in the form of a road trip. This trip is like once of those journey on-the-road songs, telling us the tale of Ol’ Wilson when he went on his journey, his tale, his life, and his return to Cripple Creek somewhat wiser.

Of course his trip – which is regaled in an understated way (his voice and patter remind me of the best of Conway Twitty) – is peppered with country / western songs (that also appear on his many gloriously ironically titled albums). Each song isdelivered with a laid back tone that allows sly irony and Wilson times his delivery so that each gem gets its deserved laugh. He is a master of rhyme, assonance, and fitting horrendous amounts of syllables into a line and still making it work.

Observational comedy seems to have had its day in the sun and this year sees the rise of language comedy, with most of the shows I’ve seen using pun and literalness as sources of humour. Perhaps 7 Days has something to do with this. Griffin’s Dixon beats them all hands down – his laconic energy sitting right with us as both we and he look at the absurdities of language and what phrases are actually saying. And this is where the naivety of a simple country boy proves the best vehicle for this kind of humour.

Dixon also has his own well-fuelled supply of absurdity. It is a measure of the performer and the work gone into the show that once Andrew the horse comes on the scene somehow it all seems totally acceptable. Let alone his major partner who accompanies him on the dream trip.

Jesse Griffin early on displays two great attributes for performance: he knows where to pitch it and he is a really nice guy in the best sense of the word. On stage he is open and endearing (as he is off stage!) and with a simple shrug, look, gesture can suggest visible worlds and experiences. A hand gesture easily relays not only Andrew’s tail but Andrew’s state of mind in all its complexity, and all with a roar of laughter from the audience.

His lyrics and patter slip in some wonderfully sly politics that belie his ‘redneck’ virtues – “I don’t mind gays… some of my best friends don’t mind gays either.” I know it’s usually heresy to include a punchline in a review but there are so many punchlines in the 90 minutes he’s onstage that I’m sure he won’t mind. Speaking of which, I swear I was only sitting there for 30 minutes; the flow of the show and the continuous laughs make the time fly by.

I was pleasantly surprised by the mass turn out of Dunedinites to the Glenroy Auditorium and asked a couple of mates how they heard about it. Most either remember Jesse or had a flatemate who had a CD or had heard/seen him on TV. And it’s great to see another Allen Hall alumni as his manager (Hilary Coe, nee McMillan, up until recently Director of the NZ Comedy Fest and at Comedy Central TV). His performance talent matched with her producing talent make a formidable team.

A marvellous, fully developed and loveable character by a great performer, this show is fantastic. I hope it’s not another decade or so before he’s back.
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Dangling gags

Review by Hannah Smith 28th Apr 2010

From the minute he strolls on stage sporting aviators, a Stetson hat, and strumming away on his ole gee-tar you can tell that Wilson Dixon is one laid-back comedy cowboy.

His down-home-country-style set is a mix of song and story with a deadpan delivery and wry humour that have the audience consistently giggling, if not guffawing.

All the humour is based on the principle of taking things literally – he takes a phrase such as ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ and subjects it to vigorous scrutiny – drawing out all the comedic implications and throwing in a touch of the absurd for good measure.

The songs are amusing and the guitar underneath the banter helps keep up the pace as he strums his way through the jokes. This combats the understated style of the comedy.

A lot of the time Dixon doesn’t make much of the gags themselves, but just dangles them out there. At one point there is an actual literal punchline, but he doesn’t hit us with it, and last night it took the audience some moments to find the laugh.

As far as character stand-up goes this man is a talented actor. Wilson Dixon comes from Cripple Creek, Colorado, USA. Jesse Griffin comes from Dunedin, Otago, NZ. I went to school with his sister. Would it have been as funny if I hadn’t known who he was? I don’t think so. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing a job done well.

Speaking of, there is a great horse impersonation. I won’t give it away as you should go and see the show, but it is a pretty good horse. 
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Deadpan Dixon tells country tales

Review by Dave Burgess 28th Apr 2010

The American dream was tarnished before the crowd even got inside the venue and it had nothing to do with Wilson Dixon.

About 100 would-be chucklers were left waiting on the footpath for almost 30 minutes as another comic finished his set and the crowd filed out.

"It doesn’t exactly put you in a humorous mood," replied a woman waiting in line.

It led to Dixon taking the stage about 15 minutes late, dressed in his trademark cowboy hat, shirt and jeans, and trusty acoustic guitar.

His humour is a gentle brand of storytelling set in rural United States, interspersed with songs that illustrate his yarns – like Flight of the Conchords on chill-pills.

When his wordplay hits the mark – and his entire routine banks on it – the laughter flows.

For example, he said when the cops say "reach for the sky" they aren’t extolling you to reach your full potential.

His song names have great titles, too, with the pick of them being It Is a Banana In My Pocket But I Am Happy To See You.

It tells the tale of being locked in a bar overnight. When rescued in the morning, after drinking a bottle of industrial cleaner, he is wearing nothing but underwear fashioned from artificial fruit.

The gags were always clever during the long-haired lanky-Yank’s 70-minute set, but for some in the audience that wasn’t enough as they sat stoney-faced. That would be because of Dixon’s deadpan delivery and his comic timing, which at times challenges audience members to use their respective top two inches to get a joke.

Dixon delivers a show with enough humour to give the grey matter, and laughing gear, a good workout – but you may have to be prepared to wait outside on the footpath for the privilege.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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