NZICF 19 | 5 mins with Alistair Barrie

As one of the top headliners on the international comedy circuit, UK comedian Alistair Barrie has performed in over 40 countries including acclaimed performances in Australia, Cape Town, Mumbai and the legendary Comedy Cellar in New York. We chatted to him ahead of the NZ debut of his five-star-rated show from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Describe your show in three words or less.
Previously well-reviewed.

What’s the inspiration behind it?
A desperate need to be loved dressed up as concern for the state of the world. Or possibly the other way round.

Where will we find you at the festival?
I’ve never been to NZ before so I have literally no idea. All I’ve heard is ‘The Classic’, which could be a world-renowned comedy club or a spectacular cheeseburger for all I know.

NZ Comedy Scene – would you swipe right or swipe left?
OK. So this is a Tinder thing, right? Not a clue. I met my wife back in the day when you had to disappoint potential partners through the sheer force of your personality alone.

Do you have any top picks for this year’s festival?
Paul Sinha is a dear friend whom I first met years ago when we were both starting out in the comedy circuit. Recently, a UK newspaper ran a story on how the white-suited Chaser was trying to widen his skill set to include stand-up comedy. This is funnier than any jokes either of us will make at the Festival. He’s an absolute craftsman. With a terrible tailor.

What song or movie best describes the story of your life?
Let the Right One In. I haven’t seen it but I believe it’s based on my unsuccessful attempts to get on the TV Gala.

What are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that this questionnaire is not entirely aimed at my demographic. I mean, I’m actually reading Game of Thrones*. What a dick.
* I also feel this is slightly disrespectful to my hosts here in Middle Earth.

And your top 3 songs on Spotify?
You are asking a man who has brought two laptops to NZ cos he couldn’t work out how to transfer his iTunes on to the new one. I only went on Spotify last year to try and listen to The House of Love’s debut without paying for it before I went to see them live, as my cassette player no longer exists. Therefore my top 3 songs are any of the ones on their eponymous 1988 album, from a period known as where all the good music comes from grandad.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Lie awake.

Word Association:
Comedy – The international language of idiocy, although it does appear a lot of the wrong people are fluent.
New Zealand – I’ve always liked the idea there was another place nearby where people turned up with less zeal.
Adulting – A grown up activity in Jamaica.
Basic – an early, patronising computer language.
Trend – Not Classic.
Joke – An Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman walked into a bar and agree to complete a short survey.

Alistair Barrie makes his NZ debut with his show ‘The Internation-AL’ as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo, running May 2-26. For dates, venues, and tickets, head to