Tag Archives: Alistair Barrie

NZICF 19 | 5 Star Comedy Preview

Friday night at Sky City on a lovely autumnal eve – within the confines of a bustling energetic and jammed packed theatre,  it was undeniably (as the multiple promotional banners would suggest) a SOLD OUT show.

Comedian Ian Smith introduces himself as the MC of the night, who upon initial observation seemed an interesting choice of host, alongside the stellar lineup for the introduction to the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival.  Unassuming, though extremely affable and endearing with his tales of our local tourist industry – glow-worms and sheep shearing jokes ensue … He is the boy-next-door-of comedy and as the night warmed up so did my impression of him, as he kept pace with the impressive array of stand-up that was to follow, from the likes of; Alistair Barrie, Tom Houghton, Brennan Reece, Lauren Pattison, Phil Nichol, and of course the irrepressible Sinnerman ‘aka’ Paul Sinha (in no particular order) 🙂

Self-proclaimed ‘posh twat’ Tom Haughton led the show’s UK heavy charge with cute yet preposterous anecdotes of life as an impressionable, musical loving, boarding school youth growing up in upper-middle class Britain. ‘Manspreading’, child abandonment/spanking, double-barrelled surnames and an impressive rendition of Macavity’s Cat, were just a sprinkling of the issues touched upon by this young and vivacious comedian.

Slick, suave and metro, Scotsman Chris Henry is up next; playing on his nations dialect and providing us with the jazzy and energetic dance moves he honed and perfected during his not-so memorable stay in the Buttlands.   He incites the audience with his refreshingly open and honest observations of modern dating and recreational drug use, with clever and funny parallels between addiction and cheese.

Cue 2015’s English Comedian of the Year, Brennan Reece.  He dives straight into the internet gags and it’s inappropriate and questionable (or in his case, often appropriate) use, equating the typical gym junkie bod to that of a triangular Dorito on steroids was particularly hilarious, as was his distinct disrelish of a local personal trainer, who in this instance we shall refer to as only Marc. With a ‘C’ ….

Alistair Barrie rounds off the entertaining first half of the 5 Star Comedy Preview, with sharp, intelligent and astute digs at his own nation’s dubious history of colonization and its universally acknowledged lack of cultural sensitivity.  Alistair Barrie was a standout for me, with his mastery of creating situational imagery in such comical yet relevant fashion!

The lovable Yorkshireman welcomes us back for the much-anticipated final half, imposing a ‘chip amnesty’ on those many audience members crunching their way through the nights festivities …

With jokes regarding the London Underground network and it’s automated systems, Ian Smith provides a warm and familiar platform for the acts that are next lined-up to entertain us.

Making her own mark among a sea of men, Lauren Pattison assumes her position and stands up (no pun intended) in her own right to regale us with endearing tales of home (Newcastle) the initial differences of class within her own relationship and a most interesting fact regarding the Latin translation of part of the female anatomy most sacred

And now, to the moment we’ve all been waiting for (but particularly the competitive trivia geek in me) this 2019 comedy season we have … Paul Sinha, aka the ‘twat in the white suit’ and according to Wikipedia ‘the world’s only gay Anglo-Bengali GP turned stand up comedian’

He did not fail to impress, taking us on a journey, from his parents migration from Bengal to Bedfordshire, his not so stereotypical(yet at same time stereotypical) passion for football and cricket and a surprisingly unremarkable moment of sexual revelation to his unrattled father.  The Sinnerman surpassed all my expectations with his quick-wit, intelligence and well researched art of comedy, which reflects his undisputed reputation as international quiz-master.

Thus bringing us to the last act of the night.  Going against the UK grain that held court through the majority of the showcase, we are force-fed the crazy, fast and furious goodness of Canadian/Scot, Phil Nichol!

Like a dog on heat or ADHD – this cat blew me away with his energy and irreverance.  Pushing myself and the audience out of their comfort zone with his physical jousting and sexually charged innuendos.  Rounding off the stage with such spirited acoustic ballads as, ‘the only gay Eskimo’ and an impromptu duo between himself and the unsuspecting hero of the evening, the extremely accommodating and  hidden gem of the audience, leopard-print shirt wearing ‘Mal’.

Phil Nichol is a surprise catch of the season, and one to not miss – you will literally be falling off your seat with laughter!

The 5 Star Comedy Preview.  Like a fine tapas or tasting menu of delectable treats where you can, at your own discretion go back for seconds and recommend to your most discerning friends.

*****5 Stars!


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 comedyfestival.co.nz.