NZICF 2013: Arj Barker – Go Time

Arj Barker

If you don’t know “Arj Barker, the comedian” then you will almost certainly recognize him as “Dave from Flight of the Conchords“. Arj is back on our shores with an 85% new comedy show (so he says) and one which I found to be quite the scintillating experience.

The show kicks off on a bit of a musical high; Arj serenades us with a comical vocal performance where he promises to deliver gags until we all “L-O-L”. His set is a display of extremes that mesh together seamlessly – he is energetic yet low key and his material is unquestionably entertaining yet also surprisingly contemplative.

Arj eloquently describes Go Time as a “smorgasbord of treats” and this is definitely true. He goes from talking about the dangers of ordering spring rolls to how hide-and-seek has been ruined by technology to his very witty Utopian view of the future. Where he strikes comedic gold is one particular gag that becomes a running feature throughout the hour – I will not divulge any more as I really do think it is best coming from the man himself!

When some jokes do not get the response he was hoping for or when he discovers all too late that a bit was ill researched, he tells us that it’s all part of his new joke structure. I found this clever approach of critiquing his jokes to be incredibly endearing. His set consistently runs along this path of self reflection which makes for quite a candid and personal show.

Go Time is an insightful hour of profound and intelligent comedy with some really great laugh-out-loud moments – just as he promised in his opening number! It’s a rather mellow and philosophical show but one that is compelling, uplifting and extremely enjoyable.

The Whimsical Banana rates Go Time: 4/5 bananas!

Arj Barker is performing tonight May 10th and tomorrow May 11th at SKYCITY Theatre – click here for tickets. Seats are limited so get in quick!


Counting Down to the NZICF…

NZICF 2013

It’s that time of the year again!  In just under 3 weeks, the very best of local and international comedic talent will be tickling our funny bone and I for one cannot wait!

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival kicks off on the 26th April and as always the line up is looking fantastic.  I am disappointed that a few of my favorites will not be here this year, namely Marcel Lucont, Mark Watson, Jason Byrne and Chris Cox, but in saying that there are plenty of new names that I’m keen to check out as well as ones that were here last year that I didn’t manage to get to.

Unlike last year, this year I am being super organized with who I want to see and have already plotted dates for most – am trying to fit in as much as I possibly can!  That said, here are the acts on the top of my list:

I am most excited about…

Danny Bhoy Stephen K Amos The Boy With Tape On His Facejpg

I’m extremely stoked that my “first comedy love” Danny Bhoy is back this year and I don’t doubt Dear Epson will be brilliant and full of hilarious anecdotes as always!  Also looking forward to the superb Stephen K Amos and his new show The Scotsman and of course I cannot wait to relive the phenomenal silent show that EVERYONE should see – More Tape – by someone I feel so privileged to know, the super talented The Boy With Tape On His Face!

I am looking forward to…

Gordon Southern Chris Martin Idiots Of Ants

Last year I really enjoyed Gordon Southern and Chris Martin but only managed to see them as part of an ensemble show so these two excellent comedians are definitely on my to-see list!  I was also really gutted I missed out on the entertaining sketch comedy antics of the Idiots of Ants so am happy they are back this year too.  Thanks for returning, guys!

I am keen to check out…

Jack DeeWayne Brady Dan Nightingale

Super pumped that Jack Dee, Wayne Brady and Dan Nightingale will be at this year’s festival as their respective styles of comedy are my favorite kinds of stand up!

I am also planning on seeing…

Arj Barker Tom Gleeson Urzila Carlson

I have seen Arj Barker, Tom Gleeson and Urzila Carlson so many times on TV I think it’s about time I see these top notch comedians in the flesh!

And last but not least this year’s Billy T nominees – Eli Matthewson, Joseph Moore, Pax, Rose Matafeo and Tom Furniss.

Billy T Nominees Eli Matthewson Joseph Moore Pax Rose Matafeo Tom Furniss

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Billy T Jams/ comedy festival program launch at Q back in February (thanks Spencer!) and so I got a taste of what these newbies to the comedy scene have in store for us.  They are a talented bunch with great potential – am definitely looking forward to checking out their full shows.

Snippets from their spots at the Billy T Jams can be found on the Comedy Festival YouTube page.  I would also strongly recommend heading to Keeping Up With NZ and checking out this awesome podcast featuring the nominees.

The above mentioned are of course only the tip of the iceberg.  There are a ton more comedians that are on my to-see list, and of course let’s not forget the Comedy Gala, Le Comique and Last Laughs… Looking forward to the laughs!!

To find out more about the above comedians’ shows, click on the pictures for show details but for the full line up of this year’s comedy festival, head on over to the NZICF website.  Get ready to Laugh Yourself Silly, Auckland (and Wellington) – it’s going to be epic!

*Picture credit to