NZICF 19 | 5 mins with Ian Smith

Returning to New Zealand after a successful debut last year, award-winning comedian, Ian Smith will grace the stage in not one, but three shows this year. Catch him as part of the 5 Star Comedy Preview, Comedy All-Stars and across 11 dates of his critically acclaimed fifth solo show; Craft.

Describe your show in three words or less…
Comedy. And. Origami.

What’s the inspiration behind it?
The senbazuru – the folklore that if you fold one thousand origami cranes you get a wish. The plan is to make some wishes come true live, while also telling some jokes and stories.

Where will we find you at the festival?
The Classic for my shows – and on Sundays, I’ll be heading to Waiheke Island and having so much wine I forget that I can’t swim. I think last time I went to a vineyard (on Waiheke) I was asked if I could praise the cooking a bit quieter because I was too excited.

NZ Comedy Scene – would you swipe right or swipe left?
I don’t know which direction means what, so I don’t know. Diagonal swipe?

Do you have any top picks for this year’s festival?
I think James Acaster is all sold out – but he’s the best, so go and see him if you can! Rhys Nicholson is always brilliant too.

What song or movie best describes the story of your life?
This is a very hard question. Billy Elliott? I guess that’s about someone from the north of England trying to pursue something artistic. Replace ballet with comedy. Also, I don’t know anyone who worked in the mines.

What are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
I watched season 2 of the OA and really liked it – but there’s a (spoiler alert) giant talking octopus in it and it comes out of nowhere really and then gets (spoiler alert) killed, and no one seems to mention it again. I think about that most days now. It didn’t seem like a talking-octopus sort of show. None of the characters seemed to find it weird. A big talking octopus!

And your top 3 songs on Spotify?
Anger Management Relaxation Tape Vol 1.
Anger Management Relaxation Tape Vol 3.
Anger Management Relaxation Tape Vol. 4.
(I’m really angry that they don’t have Vol 2 on Spotify)

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I’d probably learn to play the drums so that everyone else couldn’t sleep either – then I’d have some company for the long nights. Maybe then we’d set up a band? Ian and the Insomniacs.

Word Association:
Comedy = Yes!
New Zealand = Sauvignon (I love a Marlborough)
Adulting = Ironing
Basic = Bitch (I don’t really know what this means though)
Trend = Skateboarding
Joke = Laughs

Ian Smith performs his show ‘Craft’ as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo, running May 2-26. For dates, venues, and tickets, head to