Tag Archives: NZICF 18

NZICF 18 | Arj Barker: Organic

Typically terrible Auckland traffic.  Running late for show, unexplained absence of my plus 1 …  All variables that may equate to a possibly unfortunate evening …

Luckily my Saturday night offered me salvation in the form of laid-back, renowned comic genius named Arj Barker and his show from the NZ International Comedy Festival 2018 – ‘Organic’.

An opening with air-craft safety demonstrations, Arj demonstrates his seasoned prowess and farcical technique, with topical comedic artistry.  With popular monikers and references to identifiable cities such as; ‘Boring Brisbane’ and Auckland – ‘The City of Sails’,  he uses his loll Californian drawl to his advantage.  Which is also evident in his relaxed dress, style of comedy, as well as his delivery …

Hilarious comparisons between marriage and murder.  The life-cycle of gluten and the consequential lack of pleasure whilst adopting an anti-wheat lifestyle, Arj taps into the raw and organic nature of our everyday lives and provides us with astute and observational humour in the process.

“You step in shit, at least you still have one good shoe … ”  Just one of the many amusing slogans/life affirming quotes (which incidentally you are able to purchase in sticker form after the show) that Arj Barker hits us with, throughout his witty and wild ramblings.

To me, his strength lies in his ability to coerce the audience in visualizing a specific (and sometimes ludicrous) scenario, albeit without props, but through pure wit and imagination.  His comparisons between death and marriage, through the medium of music; a’la Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” and Chopin’s ironically titled “Funeral March”, were admittedly on-point and certainly hit the funny frontal-cortex of many an audiences brain.

Concluding with an inspiring musical composition that ties together the theme of the show; organic living, produce and of course the soul of the apple …  All in tune with his signature Californian rhyming,

Arj Barker knocks the last organic apple off the tree and leaves us all wanting more!


*** Arj Barker: Organic is now playing for 2 more nights Friday 19th -Saturday 20th May

NZICF 18 | I Am Your DeeJay

K-Rd? Check.  Deep,dirty underground?  Check.  Whammy Bar ….. ?

These opening adjectives and location alone, suggest that this will be no ordinary show from the NZ International Comedy Fest 2018.

A throwback to late nights and bacchanal activities,  ‘Juan Vesuvius – I Am Your Deejay’s’ run of sold-out performances this season, is proof enough that this is one event not to be missed.  Upon initial research and the sold -out status of his show, Juan had me chomping at the bit even before opening night!

‘Decked’ in 1970/80’s tennis garb, sports towel draped over shoulder and Pablor Escobar’esque moustache, comedian Barnie Duncan‘s alter-ego Juan takes us through a journey of house music from Chicago to Ibiza.

His show is packed full of interesting and historical facts, as well as being awesomely entertaining as well.  From the anti-gay laws of 1960’s New York, fascinating references to the infamous after-hours gay bar – the ‘Stonewall’ and consequent riots; the private apartment/nightclub – ‘The Loft’ and equally as legendary DJ & proprietor Dave Manhuso, with his particular penchant for attractive, towel-clad men …..   Juan’s knowledge of the foundations of house, audiophile equipment and progression of high-fidelity sound is second to none.

As this audio trip takes us into the next decade, we are treated to the hyper-sexual vibe of disco, in the most clever, crazy and side-splitting way …. drawing parallels to Donna Summer, horny flowers and exploding pollen.

Of course classic, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and the inevitable fate of disco make a notable mention, as does the succeeding warehouse sound of Chicago and development of club culture through Manchester’s ‘Hacienda’ – a hedonistic playground and home to ‘The Smiths’, ‘Happy Monday’s’, ‘Depeche Mode’ (my personal favourite) and much more of electronica’s finest still.

Hilarious observations of house music’s nemesis, David Guetta and his sound slaying of popular artists such as; Snoop Dogg and The Black Eyed Peas, are undeniable.

This is a comedy production that is out of the ordinary, indescribable, and from the reaction of the audience I was lucky to be a part of; a show that people will definitely be talking about for a long time after ….

Juan Vesuvius: I Am Your Deejay.  To put it bluntly, ‘fucking brilliant’.


*** Juan Vesuvius is playing from 15th – 17th May @WHAMMY K-RD

Note: All shows but Thursday 14th are now SOLD OUT  so get in quick!


NZICF 18 | Not Suitable for Children

Despite being jet-lagged from an 11-hour flight the day before and running on fumes, The Umbilical Brothers managed to thoroughly impress and entertain with their special brand of effervescent physical comedy.

It’s not often I find myself with nothing to criticise, but it’s a struggle to find things I didn’t enjoy during this show. The Umbilical Brothers produce an impressive array of sound effects, using just themselves and a couple of mics. Lots of well-timed (mostly) to-and-fro, ‘Dane’ and ‘Shaved’ are cheeky and barefaced in nature with a comedic charm, I was totally immersed during the show. The aptly titled show contains a blend of nsfw banter, innuendo, and a Disney “cameo appearance”- of sorts, making for a perfectly-paced, cleverly composed entertainment piece.

The Umbilical Brothers will be performing “Not Suitable for Children” until this Saturday the 19th of May. I highly recommend checking out the show before it ends.

Purchase tickets to see the duo HERE.

4.5/5 Stars

For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to the Comedy Fest website. Running 26 April – 28 May 2017.

NZICF 18 | 5 mins with Matt Okine

Matt Okine’s worn many hats over the yars and now the comedian, actor, broadcaster and writer is returning to New Zealand with his brand new live show, The Hat Game.

From swimming to slurpees, conga drums to coconut oil; this show will cover it all.  We caught up with Matt ahead of his return to New Zealand.

Describe your show in three words or less
Gold-medal worthy.

What’s the inspiration behind it?
In 2009, I applied to become a Ghanaian citizen in a bid to be selected for their olympic swimming team. Turns out, becoming a ghanaian citizen AND an olympic swimmer is a lot harder than it sounds. This is that story.

Where will we find you during the festival?
Swimming at Waihiki Island during the day, followed by Brother’s Beer for an afternoon Pale Ale, followed by dinner at Tanuki’s Japanese, and then doing my NZICF show at 10pm at the Basement!

NZ Comedy Scene – would you swipe right or swipe left?
Swipe right, for sure. I’ve been booty-calling the NZ Comedy Scene for the last four years. I’d love to go steady, but I need to stay in Oz for work :’(

Do you have any top picks for this year’s festival?
I saw Two Hearts at the Q Theatre late last year and it has easily been one of my favourite shows of the past six months! There’s a good chance I’ll watch them again for NZICF!

What song or movie best describes the story of your life?
The Degrassi Junior High Theme Song.

What are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
I have a TV Show called The Other Guy that is currently streaming on an Australian streaming service called STAN, so…. What is Netflix??

And your top 3 songs on Spotify?
Octavian – Party Here
Set Mo – Near
KLP – Never Be The Same

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Origami. I really like origami. I’d also fight crime in a suit made completely out of folded paper. I would be called CraneMan – the lamest superhero of all time.

World Association:
Comedy – Beers
New Zealand – Wine
Woke – up and had breaky beers
Adulting – Carpet cleaning
Basic – Instinct was on TV the other day and I watched half of it.
Trend – ing
Joke – See me tell them at New Zealand Comedy Festival!


Matt Okine performs 18 – 19 May at Auckland’s Basement Theatre as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo. Buy your tickets now.

NZICF 18 | Bogan Jesus

New Zealand’s favourite bogan was back for this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival with his brand new show, Bogan Jesus. On a mission to convert all to his new religion, Messiah Chopper traveled the length of the country before closing his tour across four sold-out shows at Auckland’s SkyCity Theatre.

We attended his first show of the night which started a little later than advertised. Better late than never; with his signature glasses, jandals, a stole around his neck (looking every bit the religious messiah) and two bottles of beer in hand (Victoria Bitter, no less), Chopper graced the stage to raucous applause.

He began by explaining that there is a need for religion but that all of the world’s religions aren’t the answer… So, he’s saving us all and he’s created his own religion, one where he’s taking on the role of Bogan Jesus. He then proceeded to share his ten commandments.

The show was cleverly written and well-executed, with plenty of laugh out loud moments. His show certainly attracted an oddball crowd, but the well-seasoned comedian that he is, he quickly quietened his hecklers.

Chopper is a unique character with a unique appeal, it’s not hard to see why he’s a Kiwi favourite.

4 Stars.

NZICF 18 | Humble

Frickin Dangerous Bro: Humble.

3 comedians bringing sketch comedy back to life.

In the ever evolving world of comedy, both slapstick and sketch comedy, have not been the latest trends, However, the 3 Auckland Lads have persevered, and their new show, Humble is a great a mid-week, 10p.m performance,packed with lots of laughs..

Pax, Jermaine and James have great chemistry and entertained the crowd from start to finish, with their take on a theatre-based sketch show. Whilst this was my first Frickin Dangerous Bro, they have acquired a cult following of fans, mainly from their recent stint on Maori Television.

Starting off with a courtroom sketch they moved onto several micro-sketches, a crime scene and ended with a signature terrorist sketch, all intertwined with organic laughs and chats. Whilst some of the jokes appeared forced and predictable, there was a genuine feeling that the trio wanted to be there, were all having fun and most of all their organic chats were relatable to ever member of the audience. The highlights of the show were the micro-sketches and trio’s ability to roast each other.

It was a great to see kiwi comedians perform with the finesse, the delivery and the attitude of world comics….Humble they are

4 stars

See them tonight and tomorrow.  Buy your tickets here.

NZICF 18 | Juithy

How did a Venezuelan become one of Australia’s favourite comedians? By roasting them mercilessly, of course. Having lived down under for six years, Ivan Aristeguieta has been immensely successful with his humorous observations on Aussie culture from an immigrant’s perspective starring in his own ABC sitcom Lost in Translation and his own stand-up comedy special Chorizo Sizzle, to winning Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival in 2016.

I had never seen Ivan before, but, as a Kiwi, any comedian who can give the Aussies a good-natured ribbing sounds like fun to me. However, his set was so much more nuanced and original than that. Ivan managed to convey the immigrant experience, with all its highs and lows, in a way that anyone could understand and find funny regardless of whether you were an immigrant or not. From darkly humorous observations comparing third world country issues like food scarcity to the first world issues in his new home Melbourne i.e. the vegan capital of Australia, to deconstructing the oddities of the English language, Ivan is full of energy and a comedian with a talent for striking an instant rapport with his audience.

In fact, Ivan likened his relationship with the audience to the first time a couple gets intimate, weaving hilarious moments into his set where he made full use of his stereotypical Latin charm and asked for a performance review. Somehow, he managed to make sexual innuendo without being too crass, like a lot of other comedians. Let’s just say he promised to call the next day and I’d like to hold him to his word.

English may be his second language, but comedy is Ivan Aristaguieta’s mother tongue. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, I would highly recommend this show.

5 Stars.