Ten Shows to See at the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival
Laugh your bits off at half-naked solo shows, Gloriavale kitsch comedy and Finland's funniest export.
There's no question that uncontrollable cackling is the best way to de-stress. And the New Zealand International Comedy Festival is without doubt the best time of the year in our beautiful wee country to laugh all of your bits off. This year's haul promises 117 comedy shows in Auckland and 68 in Wellington, with the world's best comedians cracking funnies at bars, comedy clubs and theatres from 27 April – 21 May. From international jokesters to up-and-comers, you can expect everything from half-naked solo shows, Gloriavale kitsch comedy and Finland's funniest export.
There are dozens of comedians at the Comedy Fest and not every joker is going to float your boat. So try before you buy with the 5 Star Comedy Preview— a two-hour long showcase of nine well-known international comedians. Highlights include half of Peacock and Gamble - Ed Gamble, award-winning British comic Lou Sanders, and a Finnish fellow who was crowned the funniest man in the world in 2014.
The Basement's Preview Show will give you the chance to get up close and personal with performers, and enjoy a bit of back and forth with them if you have the cojones. This show gives you the chance to sample the best of the festival with bite-sized performances from the likes of Guy Montgomery, Nick Sampson and Lana Walters. The night is hosted by festival regular Donna Brookbanks and promises countless chortles.
An undisputed rising star of the Australian comedy scene, Becky Lucas is one of the must-watch young acts at this year's festival, with a resume most comics would kill for. She's written for Josh Thomas' Please Like Me and Matt Okine's upcoming show on Stan, and opened for the likes of Wil Anderson, Joel Creasey and Jim Norton. (She's also one of the funniest people on Twitter, for what it's worth.) Her new show Little Bitch is about, amongst other things, drunk emailing, sharehouse living and sex while wearing a backpack. Who can't relate to at least one of those things?
Ben Hurley is a funny f**k. He's one of the longest standing and well-loved joke machines in the country and his new show, 22 Rants About Fuck, sounds like vintage Hurley. He's calling it punk-rock music comedy. It features a live two-piece band and will mix the two art forms in a comedic hurricane of jokes and rants. You can bet it'll be a thigh slapper with Ben behind the mic.
David Correos has so much energy that he could probably stand still onstage and still get laughs. That's probably why he was recognised as the country's funniest up-and-comer last year, winning the 2016 Billy T Award. His new show David Correos is Going Full Correos promises as much bombastic energy and absurdly executed loudly proclaimed jokes that one audience can take. If you've ever witnessed a regular Correos show, the full Correos version is likely to be an assault to all the senses.
You may recognise Brynley Stent from Three's Funny Girls or fromlast year's breakout show Camping. For this year's Comedy Festival, the comedic talent willportray an escapee from religious closed community Gloriavale. Providence Gratitude, a naive young woman residing in the religious closed community of Gloriavale, thinks there's more to life than churning butter. After a discarded Rainbow's End flyer blows into her hard-working hands, Providence decides to explore what else life has to offer and hitches a ride to the City of Sails. You can also catch Stent in the latest kitsch comedy from theatre makers Parker & Sainsbury: D.O.C.ing.
Finland's funniest export is kind of a big deal. Ismo Leikola is huge in his home country, playing major arenas and hosting his own TV show. He was crowned the funniest person in the world at the 2014 US Global Laugh Factory competition and US audiences are now lapping up his unique Mitch Hedberg-esque brand of humour. The geniuses at Q Theatre have somehow lured him away from international acclaim for one show. This is your chance to Finnish April off with a giggle.
Reckon you're a funny? Got jokes? The Raw Comedy Quest 2017 is your chance to prove it, giving newbie comics the chance to get in front of an audience and compete for glory, the chance to become a pro comedian and $2K in cash. Heats are held every Monday from February 13 at The Classic— sign up at comedy.co.nz to get your jokes on the big stage. If that sounds like a bad idea, watch from a safe distance in the audience instead.
Fresh from his stint in the jungle on I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, TV and radio personality Nazeem Hussain is taking the stage at the Comedy Festival for his new show Public Frenemy. As he did time and time again in his brilliant, Logie-nominated sketch series Legally Brown, expect Hussain to carve up social prejudices, shatter expectations and break down in frank, funny terms his "love/not-so-love relationship" with modern day Australia.
There's never been a better time to be a political comedian, and the UK's Andy Zaltzman is one of the sharpest in the business. Best known as the voice of the satirical news podcast The Bugle — which he used to co-host with Last Week Tonight's John Oliver — Zaltzman will put despots and dictators to the sword with the help of some alternate facts and a few well-placed puns. Actually, it'll probably be a lot of well-placed puns. He'll also record the first ever live Bugle, featuring "live guests, people on screens, freshly-hewn satire, lies, puns and high-grade bullshit".