NZICF 2014: My Top Picks!

NZICF 2014It’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):

Chris Martin - NZICF 20141. 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.

Markus Birdman - NZICF 20142. 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.

Gordon Southern - NZICF 20143. 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.

Jason Byrne - NZICF 20144. 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.

Marcel Lucont - NZICF 20145. 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.

James Acaster - NZICF 20146. 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.

Urzila Carlson - NZICF 20147. 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.

Dan Nightingale - NZICF 20148. 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.

Tom Binns - NZICF 20149. 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.

Stephen K Amos - NZICF 201410.  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.

Other Recommendations!

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!

Advertisements

NZICF 2013: Dan Nightingale – On Love, On Life and on the North Island

Dan NightingaleSome people have a natural gift of the gab and just know how to tell a good story and Dan Nightingale certainly is one of them.  His storytelling style is casual and conversational and his set feels more like you’re out at a bar having drinks with a good friend.

On Love, On Life and on the North Island is a collection of hilarious anecdotes and random musings from Dan’s life. He covers a range of topics from sharing about his Saturday mornings with Nigella to ranting about his maddening flatmate who has the nerve to eat the “bread defender” (the crust) to an amusing story involving his nephew’s unwavering commitment to singing carols.

It takes great skill to be able to deliver a string of ramblings in a way that it doesn’t appear too prepared but still forms a cohesive and compelling hour of stand up.  Dan nails this perfectly; his material is well structured and cleverly written with some genius one liners, some of which are easily missed as they come up as mere fleeting remarks.

The thing I particularly enjoyed about this show was Dan’s boundless energy and jovial nature which I found to be extremely captivating.  He comes across as genuinely personable which made the Vault at Q the ideal venue as it helped him to easily engage and form a great rapport with the audience.

Dan Nightingale’s observational humor is incredibly fast paced, deliciously self-deprecating and highly entertaining.  On Love, On Life and on the North Island gives you plenty to laugh about and is the perfect mid-week comedy fix.

The Whimsical Banana rates On Love, On Life & on the North Island: 5/5 bananas!

Dan Nightingale has 2 more shows at 8:45pm tonight and tomorrow night at the Vault at Q plus one extra earlier show at 5:30pm tomorrow.  Click here for tickets.

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 comedyfestival.co.nz