NZICF 2013: Le Comique – Keep Calm and Comedy On

Le Comique

Le Comique is a riotous night of comedy with a bit of a twist.  Featuring an eclectic line up of mostly “oddball” acts, this is a great option for those who enjoy their comedy a bit on the quirky side.

This delectable variety show is co-hosted this year by boisterous ex-pat icons Jarred Christmas and Urzila Carlson and there couldn’t have been a more suitable pair to host the festivities.  From Urzila enlightening us on what “white people curry” is to Jarred’s amusing “true anecdote time”, this energetic duo easily kept the audience well and truly entertained throughout.  I particularly enjoyed the series of “joke offs” where they tried to best each other which in the end culminated with someone prancing around in a flashy red onesie!

With eight acts on the bill, your laughing muscles do get a bit of a workout!  In the first half, Vance Fontaine impressed with improvised songs about love and refrigerators and select audience members received scarily accurate tarot readings by gifted spirit “comedium” Ian D Montfort.  Then Clayton Carrick-Leslie entertained us with his John Key impersonation and a rant about the fine dining menus of today before things turn a little raunchy with some cheeky cabaret by the saucy ladies of Titty Bar Ha Ha.

Markus Birdman kicks off the second half with his brilliant style of witty sometimes controversial commentary followed by “Juan Vesuvius from Venezuela” whose bizarre interpretation of calypso music with maracas and audio tracks didn’t quite resonate with the audience.  James Acaster picked the energy back up with a hilarious set which included a crash course on the three types of mariachi  music and his aspirations to be a sky writer.  The evening ends on a high with crowd favorite The Boy With Tape On His Face who effortlessly enthralled us with his unique brand of silent comedy.

Le Comique is the perfect way to end the weekend and a nice halfway point in the comedy festival.  If you didn’t make it this year, I strongly recommend that you add this to your to-see list next year!

The Whimsical Banana rates Le Comique: 5/5 bananas!

Most of these acts are performing their solo shows this week.  Check out comedyfestival.co.nz for dates and tickets.

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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!

NZICF 2013: Tom Green

TomGreen

Tom Green’s show was like no other comedy gig I have attended.  With non-stop (positive) “heckling” from the crowd, it definitely felt more like a Freddy Got Fingered catchphrases and appreciation night than anything else.

While his film roles and MTV show precedes him, Tom is a skilled and superb stand up comedian in his own right.  His unique brand of “shock humor” sits well with a Kiwi audience as does his cynical but comical thoughts on many things, like getting high on twink (the old school kind that came with a brush) and my personal favorite of the night – the discovery that there is no cheese in Chinese food.

Tom’s comedic style is edgy and “in your face” but not overly reproachful – put simply, he’s just bloody entertaining!  His material is made up of intelligently written one liners that sit in snappy scenarios rather than long drawn out anecdotes which means a lot is covered within the hour.

What I particularly enjoyed was his brilliant delivery of some really engaging social commentary which he incorporates seamlessly in to his set.  His thoughts on what if suicide was made to be illegal and how we reward bad behavior by “failing upwards” not only rouses much deserved laughs but is surprisingly insightful.

Judging by the popularity of his show and the exuberant vocal nature of the crowd, his arrival on our shores has been long overdue.  Let’s hope he returns for an encore.

The Whimsical Banana rates Tom Green: 4/5 bananas!

Tom Green is performing TONIGHT 9pm (May 5th) at the Opera House in Wellington and at the Aurora Centre in Christchurch, TOMORROW.  For tickets, click here.