It’s that time of the year again for all us Kiwi comedy geeks – the New Zealand International Comedy Festival! As I am on the other side of the world, sadly I will not be attending this year – my first in since forever! – but rest assured I will be supporting, reading reviews, tweeting, etc from afar.
Another top line up this year as to be expected with the usual suspects but also some new faces! For those who are getting overwhelmed by all the shows that are on offer, here are my recommendations (in no particular order):
1. Chris Martin
Chris’ warped perspective on many things in life and his great comedic sense is an excellent formula for a fantastic, laughs aplenty hour of comedy.
I went to his Edinburgh Fringe show last year and thoroughly enjoyed myself – check out my Broadway Baby review here.
Chris will be performing at the Loft at Q on 25 & 26 April and from 29 April to 3 May. Click here for more details and to book tickets.
2. Markus Birdman
Markus is an extremely sharp and engaging comedian and a captivating raconteur. His anecdotes are skillfully structured with pitch-perfect comedic timing and will have you in stitches.
Check out what I thought of this same show when I went to see it at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe here.
Markus is at The Classic on 25 & 26 April and from 28 April to 3 May. He is then performing at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington from 6 to 10 May before he’s off on a nationwide tour as part of the Comedy Convoy! Click here for more details and to book tickets to his solo show.
3. Gordon Southern
Gordon is the best comedian to go see if you are after comedy that is witty, fast-paced, energetic and just so incredibly feel-good.
Last year’s show was such a joy to watch and one of my favorites from both last year’s festival and the Edinburgh Fringe – here’s my review of the latter show.
Gordon will be at The Vault at Q from 6 to 10 May and The Fringe Bar in Wellington from 13 to 17 May. Click here for more details and to book tickets – also features my contributor The Laughing Kiwi’s review of this year’s show which is currently at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
4. Jason Byrne
Jason is born to be on the stage and to do comedy – he is an absolute master at his craft. His style of comedy is a little bit silly, very raucous and just bloody entertaining.
I was lucky enough to secure a review ticket to see his show – check out my Broadway Baby review here.
Jason is hosting the Comedy Gala on 24 April and then performing at the Rangatira at Q from 25 to 27 April – only three days so get in quick! Click here for more details and to book tickets.
5. Marcel Lucont
Everyone’s favorite Frenchman is back on NZ shores! Sardonic, deliciously narcissistic and oh-so-dashing, Monsieur Lucont is a must-see.
The last solo show I attended was in 2012 when he was last in Auckland – read my review here.
Marcel will be gracing us with his presence at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 29 April to 3 May before his Auckland run in Rangatira at Q from 14 to 17 May. Click here for more details and to book tickets.
6. James Acaster
James fast gained popularity during last year’s festival and all the buzz and rave reviews are true. His material is sharp, witty and highly entertaining.
Here’s my review and if you need more convincing here is The Laughing Kiwi’s review who only just saw him at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
James will be at The Classic on 25 & 26 April and from 28 April to 5 May (not 4th). His season sold out in a flash last year so get your tickets early! For more details and to book tickets, click here.
7. Urzila Carlson
Though she hails from South Africa, NZ has very much claimed her! Urzila is extremely funny and a top notch comedian with a natural gift of the gab.
Check out what I thought of her show last year here.
Urzila is performing at the Rangatira at Q from 1-3 May and then at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington from 6 to 10 May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.
8. Dan Nightingale
Dan’s affable nature and conversational style teamed with his hilarious stories and self-deprecating humor make for a genuinely enjoyable hour of comedy.
Here’s my review of the show he brought to last year’s festival.
Dan is performing at The Basement from 6 to 10 May and then at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 13 to 17 May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.
9. Tom Binns as Ian D. Montfort
For something a little different, Tom’s unique brand of “comedium” comedy is a good option. He is a talented and adept performer and whether you are a believer or a skeptic, I daresay you will leave impressed.
I went to see him last year and was both thoroughly entertained and amazed – have a read here.
Tom as his alter ego Ian will be at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 6-10 May and then the Loft at Q from 13 to 17 May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.
10. Stephen K Amos
Stephen is an accomplished veteran in the industry and if you haven’t already seen him, you should! He is extremely good at what he does, garnering laughs effortlessly with his feel-good style of comedy.
Here is my review of last year’s show.
Stephen is at the Rangatira at Q on 25 & 26 April and from 29 April to 3 May before doing one show at The Opera House in Wellington on 4 May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.
While I have not had the pleasure of seeing him do a solo show I would also totally recommend Stuart Goldsmith. I saw him at last year’s Comedy All Stars where he was compère and in the brief times he came on stage, he delivered some really good material. I also got to see him host his critically acclaimed comedy podcast at the Edinburgh Fringe which was excellent – here’s my review.
If you want more bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with ensemble shows as they are like the ideal comedic tasting platter! I would definitely recommend the Comedy Gala; it is quite pricey but well worth it and will get you pumped for the coming weeks of laughs. There is also the 5 Star Comedy Preview, the Comedy All Stars (this year there are two – #1 and #2) and The Big Show (in the CBD and at the BMC).
For something a little different, Le Comique is a fun variety comedy show that is a great option if you have more eclectic taste. And finally, for that last comedy festival fix, Last Laughs is a fantastic way to end the festival on a high.
So there you go, my fellow Kiwis – my humble recommendations based on what I have gone to see and enjoyed. Now get booking and get excited for (in my opinion) one of the best few weeks in New Zealand’s live entertainment calendar!