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Corin Healey, Ed Amon, Heta Dawson My County. NZ International Comedy Festival

Words Sarah Kidd

What’s better than a laugh fest featuring three comedians? One that has a feel-good factor too; those in attendance last night informed by Ed Amon that the profits from the sold-out performance would be donated to a charity that helps settle migrants in New Zealand. Following the enthusiastic round of applause that Eds’ statement elicited – and for good reason – it was down to the show at hand.

Featuring the talents of Corin Healy, Heta Dawson and the aforementioned Ed Amon, the trio of stand-up comics threw down the gauntlet, challenging each other to give as good as they get, some friendly ribbing revealing itself immediately. Take one small-town Te Puke boy turned bona fide JAFA and mix him together with a Pakistani Muslim living in sin and a Rewa Hard Māori father who knows the fine print in the treaty and you have the recipe for some quick quips and riotous roasting.

Turning their attentions on the audience the trio coax forth information which they gleefully play with before discussing their distaste of personalities such as Mike Hosking, Simon Bridges and the one and only Brian Tamaki; a man none too popular with anybody in the room and some great fodder for humorous social commentary. Breaking it down and giving the crowd a chance to get to know each one of them a little better – complete with visuals in the form of a projector sized photo from their younger days for shits and giggles – on an individual basis, Corin and Heta disappeared to allow Ed the floor, stories of his strict upbringing and requirement to hide his girlfriend in a cheap motel every time his parents come to visit the source of much amusement amongst the crowd; international barbs arriving in the form of statements about Yemen and Egypt which also reminded you of the wolf often facing others doors.

“There are more Kiwiana gems in here than you can shake a stick.”

IT Manager by day and stand-up comedian by night Corin Healy regaled those in attendance with advice on how to take down keyboard warrior hate groups, and guidance on when the appropriate time is to ‘smash an avocado’, the term taking on a whole new and sometimes dangerous connotation dependant on your current geographical location in the country. Heta the last to appear solo told tales of traditional family games while incorporating some Te Reo; the subject of flags and how many are too many when walking through the streets of Manurewa, one that many in the audience fully understood.

There was material that worked and some that didn’t, the three comics testing the waters and genuinely laughing at their own wins and failures which was quite frankly part of the enjoyment. Here were a group of men melding routine material and friendships into one big ball and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.
Pegging both stereotypes and political correctness out on the table for some lively poking, there are more Kiwiana gems in here than you can shake a stick


Words Sarah Kidd

The duo of Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Richards aka Fuq Boiz were first introduced to the world in 2017, the matching tuxedo wearing comedians receiving nothing but praise for their debut show that later went on to spawn ‘Fuq Boiz Resurrection’ last year.

But the end has come for the beloved duo, Parkinson and Richards presenting one and all with their ‘magnum opus’ to the brilliant triptych that sees the audience join the Fuq Boiz in the depths of Hell to which they have been sentenced for their crimes.

Parkinson who has been a previous winner of the coveted Billy T Comedy Award is fantastic, his often frenzied performance leaving you transfixed as he leans this way and that into the different scenarios, each one more unpredictable than the next, not once within the sixty minute performance ever giving an inch. In fact, Parkinson is so engrossed in his own character that he continues long after the last audience member has left the room, his manic rabbling’s echoing down the hall and nipping at your heels.
Richards on the other hand has an honesty to his persona, his love and devotion to his partner in crime shown through a range of actions, emotions and periodic hilarious brief musical interludes that will make you chortle while simultaneously pulling at a heart string or two.

Social commentary is also cleverly weaved throughout, the script showing not only outstanding humour but intellect as well as it dives headfirst down the rabbit hole into a nonsensical wonderland of absurdity.

Fuq Boiz is surreal humour, the physicality and at times sonic assault with a side order of props resulting in an immersive act that drags you in and will not relent until you beg for mercy. Happy in their rather warm fiery surroundings with their favourite reading matter to hand – the Ponsonby News not only a prop but a bubbling cauldron of statement – the Fuq Boiz cavort amongst their cherished memories of an outstanding day, seemingly content in their locked down and unbreakable partnership. But something is afoot in the bowels of hell, a chain of events bringing about mistrust, jealously and flashbacks that had the audience howling in laughter.

Fuq Boiz Forever is a show that gives you everything you could ever desire in a comedy, from old school slapstick to satirical one liners that will have you smirking like the Cheshire cat. So come, let your hosts Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Reynolds show you around, stay awhile and partake of all there is on offer. Just remember, don’t touch the ham

Cedric Burnside Gig Review

Words/Photos Wal Reid

American electric blues drummer, guitarist, singer and songwriter Cedric Burnside has Blues written all over him. He was literally born with the genome running through his Mississippi veins.

The son of Blues drummer Calvin Jackson and grandson of Blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist R. L. Burnside, it was Auckland’s turn to experience the hypnotic Deep South sounds he wrangled out of his beat up guitar, alongside slide guitar/drummer virtuoso Brian Jay.

Amongst many others, Burnside is no slouch in the drums department also. Having either live or on record, bashed the skins for legends Jessie Mae Hemphill and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. But tonight he played songs off his latest album Benton Country Relic, his voice a refined raspiness while picking a flurry of pentatonic notes – it was pure sonic bliss.

“If John Lee Hooker was right and “Blues is the healer”, then Cedric Burnside administered just the right dosage to leave the Kiwi audience wanting more. “

He was in fine form tonight, his Southern drawl almost tailor-made to the carefully crafted set including some traditional Muddy Waters before hamming it up with Jay accompanying him on slide guitar, the pairing added a fantastic funky groove to the night while the music resonated with the full house audience, punters intent on having a good time.

Every time he belly laughed “Well, well, well.” It was followed up by an equally impressive intro, like into Hard To Be Cool or Death Bell Blues the music transporting the listener to the rich Delta Blues heritage he harkens from. The night was divided between Burnside and Jay taking turns swapping instruments, as they closed out their generously timed set to a spent and satisfied crowd.

If John Lee Hooker was right and “Blues is the healer”, then Cedric Burnside administered just the right dosage to leave the Kiwi audience wanting more. Fantastic

The Improv Bandits. NZ International Comedy Festival

Words Sarah Kidd

There is an art to improv – despite what the non-believers might tell you – it is a form of comedy that by no means is as simple as it looks. It requires lightening speed reaction times, quick wits and a little more than a dollop of twisted humour. Luckily The Improv Bandits are seasoned professionals, each armed with an abundance of the above skills and a few other little tricks besides.

Utilising the large blank space at Auckland’s Herald Theatre the troupe of six (Wade, Geoff, Mark, Tom, Paul and Amy) began the evening with some warm-up exercises; not for themselves mind you, but for the audience. A clever icebreaker for both performer and attendee it resulted in much laughter and a few eye-opening retorts.

“The Improv Bandits are seasoned professionals, each armed with an abundance of the above skills and a few other little tricks besides.”

Formed in 1997 The Improv Bandits are not only experienced but award winning, founding member Wade Jackson – who at one point had many of the audience members in literal tears as he ‘visually interpreted’ a particular scene – having himself been awarded a world championship title more than once. Members have come and gone over the years, some such as Geoff Simmons branching off to form troupes of their own in Wellington, but never turning down an opportunity to come out and play for their appreciative Auckland fans.

Requesting key words from the crowd has always been an integral component of improv, the more amusing and leftfield suggestions providing the Bandits both a challenge and material that can result in some of the most uniquely, original scenes that attendees could ever hope for; so don’t forget to think outside the box! But it’s not all just acting, both Mark and Paul bringing an additional musical element to the evening, that is as charming as it is face-achingly funny; familiar personality about stage and screen, Tom Kane’s physicality bringing a whole other dimension to a skit that involved both slow motion and stunt doubles.

For most of the show the six performers will utilise common improv tools, requesting a particular scenario from an audience member with a few additional details upon which to build a form of play that at times is so believable that you often forget that they had only just been given the facts a few moments ago. In otherwords, yes, The Improv Bandits are just that good. Word play, double entendres, mice with matches and fish phobias reigned supreme in a fun-filled hour that left you feeling delightfully elated. The brilliance being that you could return to every subsequent show and know that you would witness something completely different again.
The Improv Bandits are for anyone that wants to sit back relax and let the frivolities unfurl before them, safe in the knowledge that in the Improv Bandits hands humour will only bloom.

Darryl-Lee Wendelborn: Beca NZ, Managing Director – NZ Business Podcast 39

Over 20-years Darryl-Lee Wendelborn progressed from an Engineer to Managing Director at Beca New Zealand. In this episode of NZ Business Podcast we delve into Darryl-Lee’s life in business, gaining insights and learnings from her fascinating journey.

Get the Podcast here:

Show Links:

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You can keep current with our latest NZ Business Podcast updates via Twitter @NZ_Business, the website.

The post Darryl-Lee Wendelborn: Beca NZ, Managing Director – NZ Business Podcast 39 appeared first on NZ Business Podcast.

C-SUITE ALL FEMALE, ALL FUNNY. NZ International Comedy Festival

“The comedians made especially good use of running gags and continuity throughout the sweet one hour set.”

Words Joelle Reid

It is a bleak Friday morning and I am stirring a very large coffee cup with a very small teaspoon. ‘Fuck!’ I frown at the spoon- I have childhood trauma issues for picking that teaspoon.

-Or so I was taught last night when I attended the C-suite improv comedy show. The all female cast (starting talented Gill Berry, Narelle Jackson, Evie Ashton, Tamara Androsoff, and Darcy Murray) pulled first world problems out of a hat and managed to gripe about everything from tea spoon users to SUV drivers. The improv made me giggle, and the comedians made especially good use of running gags and continuity throughout the sweet one hour set.

The Tiny Theatre at Garnet Station was intimate and homely which put me in a great mood for a laugh. With a wine in hand I could have a front row view right from the back, where I could see even the nervous glare from the comedians. It added to the overall enjoyment for me though because I felt as much as I could see they were trying hard and having fun, they could see how much the audience was enjoying it.

C-Suite is performing tonight (10th May), and tomorrow (11th May), so if you hate traffic as much as they do and are looking for a laugh head along to the Garnet Station, Westmere, to hear their gripes at 7-8pm.

Rhiannon McCall Eat Slay Love

“The pointed and jabbing humour often working best as the crowds’ awkward discomfort increases.”

Words Sarah Kidd

Happiness, we all want it. But how do we truly achieve it? In an age where the number of Instagram followers seems to be the preferred barometer of self-worth, social media peddlers of ultimate euphoria flaunt their wares, each one claiming to hold the organic, vegan, ethically sourced answer…and you can have it too, if you just buy the book.

Enter Dr. Rhirhi, a divorced mother of two that woke up one morning and decided to re-invent her life into that of a self-made guru (actual qualifications not required when you just believe in it!) who churns out literary guides faster than it takes your home-made kombucha to ferment.
Rhiannon McCall has absolutely outdone herself with this rather physical comedy which drags the audience – at times reluctantly – into the world of Dr. Rhirhi and her latest book tour, which includes a comprehensive three-step program for fundamental happiness, complete with disturbing beauty regimes and a constant neurotic need for verbal validation.

Performing an entire stand-up routine based on a singular character takes guts; the risk being that audience members may not bond with the persona, which can result in a gradual death knell for a comedian who relies on audience participation to keep the flow of the show alive.
McCall is aware of this and works the room, leaving very little chance for the audience to ever become disinterested, the performance itself short and punchy, coming in at just forty minutes. Her character of Dr. Rhirhi is loud and brash and when she periodically crumbles under the weight of the reality of her own circumstances, McCall brilliantly takes her into overdrive; think Annette Benings meltdown scene in American Beauty but with an extra layer of cringe.

And it’s that cringe factor that plays out beautifully throughout the show, McCalls periodic overacting more a statement on how detrimentally unbalanced wearing these constant façades would be. The pointed and jabbing humour often working best as the crowds’ awkward discomfort increases.

Winner of the Best Actress Award in the 2017 48 Hour Film Competition, McCall puts both her skills and natural talent to good use under the directorship of Laura Daniel (Two Hearts), little touches of Daniels’ humour dotted throughout.
With a spectacular ending that is not for the faint of heart, the already impressive physicality of McCalls performance reaching a crescendo that made the entire audience recoil; Eat Slay Love is vivacious satire at its best.


Words Mike Beck

What happens when you exchange the academic disseminations of Jordan Peterson for a trio of sassy sisters, who deliver their stuff confidently on the comedic stage? You get one of the best platforms to investigate the sometimes controversial topic of feminism; bring in Role Models.

This debut raw comedy from Bec Sandys, Brooke West & Audrey Porne, harnesses the f word as its essence (as well as continuity to bind the three acts), & challenges its parameters by sharing many of their own colourful & broad life experiences. Each of them has their own unique style also…
West, who is currently well into a pregnancy, presents an honest take on her plight; “don’t judge & just bring the tequilas to the hospital; anyone who goes through the ordeal of childbirth deserves a drink.” The c word flows freely & naturally with this one.

Porne, has a lens that looks leftfield at her numerous personal encounters. Of herself; “I’m a Scorpio; which translates into scary slut”, & when out on a rare date; “he opened the door for him, not me. I’m a feminist so I loved it.”
Sandys appears & delivers with a twist of cocky Ocker; “Gidday ballbags.” She makes light of some considerable family/personal battles; “I remember the 1st time I got fucked up, when I was 2. Parents really shouldn’t leave those bottles all over the place.”

In much the same way that Destiny Church comes under scrutiny for its exclusive entry policy, Role Models exposes a few cracks in the feminist movement to both challenge & humour its audience. The sisterhood should include all sisters, right? & that aspect of diversity is what Role Models has at its heart, filling those gaps of otherness.

Role Models runs til Saturday eve (May 11th), at the cozy setting of the Cellar (drop down at the back of Q Theatre). Its later slot (10pm), & taboo breaking programme make for perfect timing if you want to unravel heading up to & into the weekend.

Cori Gonzaler-Macuer Up/Down. NZ International Comedy Festival

“Yes, mental health features prominently, and yes, it is raw, and it is gritty.”

Words Sarah Kidd

When he isn’t playing the part of a mis-behaved vampire alongside Taika Waititi or delivering thought provoking TEDX talks, you can usually find Cori Gonzaler-Macuer on 7 Days or hanging out in the local park with his three-year-oldy daughter. 2019 however, is also the year that you can find Gonzalez-Macuer back on stage as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival. And what a welcome return it is.

It’s been three years since Gonzalez-Macuer has featured in the festival, and much has changed between now and then. But a lot of things haven’t either. It’s a mix of the two, the ups and the downs as Gonzalez-Macuer will tell you and some days are certainly better than others. But he’s not resorting to a career in real estate just yet.

Appearing in Q Theatre’s Vault space, the intimate setting is perfect for Gonzalez-Macuers’ act. There is comedy to be found here, tied to the gate like a white flag of surrender it is often self-deprecating, coming from within an introspective view of one’s self and past behaviours. With a beckoning hand it welcomes you, lays its cards of insecurity on the table and then delivers the kill shot, right between the eyes.

The show tackles some tough personal issues, Gonzalez-Macuer eviscerating the contents of the last three years and pointing out the goriest bits. Yes, mental health features prominently, and yes, it is raw, and it is gritty; Gonzalez-Macuers’ delivery candidly blunt, his awkward and at times hesitant shift from one detail to another only providing a further insight into the topics he is discussing.

Gonzalez-Macuers’ sometimes-half-hearted and sardonic style of stand-up has been criticised in the past, accusations of a comedian who doesn’t really care about being there in the first-place tainting not only his career but his own self-worth. And to be fair there was probably some truth to that, Gonzalez-Macuer himself admitting to not always being on his best behaviour on stage or off. His delivery last night still maintains some of that dead-pan shtick that he is known for, but the nonchalance has been replaced with a desire to not only communicate but connect, an underlying thread of encouragement for others to do the same drawing the performance together.

But just like the name of the show, it is not all doom and gloom. Hilarious anecdotes of hypnotism by rocks and the rubbing of tummies ensue, whilst one-liners lead the way into some sideways jabs at politicians and well known New Zealand faces. The demonstration of his recently learned improv skills worth the ticket price alone (no seriously, he needs to pay off those classes).

Gonzalez-Macuers’ comedy takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions which at some point may just leave you squirming uncomfortably in your seat, but at least he’s honest about it. And when it comes to the topic of mental health, honest emotions are exactly what this country needs.