Tag Archives: Stand Up

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 17| Brendon Green – Best Friends

The lights are dim in the intimate bar. A bearded man is perched on a stool strumming a guitar, serenading a photo of his beloved.

His beloved being a feline, not a female.

A favourite at the NZ International Comedy Festival, 2014 Billy T Award nominee Brendon Green is back to charm us with his clever wordplay once more in a set dedicated to our friends from different species. Since winning the award for Best Newcomer here for his debut in 2012, Brendon has been busy touring North America and has also performed twice at the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Heart-warming and at times heart-wrenching, Best Friends is not a conventional stand up comedy set in that it is half performance art. Three harrowing stories, carefully curated by his cat, are divided by interludes of hilarious anecdotes about his fear of the ocean, being raised by two parents with different parenting styles, and moving in with his partner. It is actually in these interludes where Brendon shines as a comedian and is most relatable. While compelling with brief moments of humour, the three stories themselves are not comedic per se, but serious.

Even if you’re a self-proclaimed dog person, don’t worry. Brendon won’t hold that against you (much). Energetic, funny, and exuding an easy stage demeanour that makes you forget you are an audience member rather than in conversation with a friend, Brendon’s new show is both personal and enjoyable.

Be sure to catch his ode to our furry friends and the paw prints they leave in our lives at the NZ International Comedy Festival. You can buy tickets here.

3 out of 5 stars

NZICF 17 | Ed Gamble – The Best of Ed Gamble

Comedian Ed Gamble is a regular performer at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and I hope he becomes a regular here in New Zealand as well. Full of classically British self-deprecating humour, enthusiasm and charm, he guides you through trials of internal panic and bodily betrayal with easy laughter.

Earlier in his career, Gamble was best known for his work as one half of the comedic duo Gamble & Peacock. In 2014 Gamble debuted his first solo stand-up act and since then has had numerous television appearances, including regular spots on BBC2’s Mock of the Week, a headline stand-up spot on Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central and a performance on the US television show Conan. In addition, he is also the star of BBC America’s faux reality show Almost Royal, in which he plays a clueless British aristocrat experiencing America for the first time.

In his own words tonight, “As a comedian, my goal is to lure you in with observational material and then make you think I’m disgusting”. But, strangely, I don’t. I think he’s genius.

Gamble’s interaction with the audience throughout his performance was a highlight. Full of sharp wit and observations about both British and New Zealand stereotypes, he immediately made the audience warm to him.

His flatulence, propensity to panic and say exactly the wrong thing, adult circumcision, and foreign hair in the strangest of places…nothing is off limits. Gamble’s comedy set is very personal and he deftly manages to turn his insecurities and the awkward experiences of the human condition into comedic gold without being overly crass.

Exceeding thirty years of age holds nothing positive for some people, but for Gamble the transition into a new stage of life is a wealth of humorous content for his set. From navigating the bizarre living habits of girlfriends once they move in, to deciphering whether the universe is signalling that it’s time to reproduce, if Gamble is anything he is incredibly relatable and honest.

4 out of 5 stars


Be sure to catch Ed Gamble at the Comedy Festival performing in Auckland until the 6th of May and in Wellington on the 14th of May. You can buy tickets to see him here.

NZCIF16 | Ismo Leikola – Observing the Obvious

Successful and hard-working comedian both at home and abroad,  Ismo Leikola is not a name one easily forgets, nor would one want to.  The funny man from Finland is a must-see hit of the International Comedy Fest, and has been selling out the Classic all week.

Ismo’s genius is his ability to take the most mundane aspects of day-to-day life and spin them into quirky anecdotes that scream at the absurdities of modern culture.  Looking at the rest of the world from a Finnish point of view somehow makes everything we say and do seem ridiculous. 

From toilet to toiletry-humour, the ever-progressing state of mobile apps, the confusing subject that is the British measuring system, and the absurdities of the English language with their silent letters, Ismo casts a glaringly ‘obvious’ light on the illogicalities of our everyday existence. 

When a man with a heavy accent travels from the other side of the world to speak to a room full of Kiwis about the most boring aspects of their lives, in theory it shouldn’t really work.  But somehow, this did.  From sex-adaptors to silent letters, alcoholic uncle-cats to squirrels, Ismo had the Classic in the palm of his ring-bearing hands.  

4 Stars  ****



NZICF 16 | Pax Assadi – In Mid-Season Form

What do you get when you take a Pakistani and Iranian refugee and place them in New Zealand? ……a Tongan, apparently.

Pax Assadi is a mixed-race Kiwi, born in New Zealand to parents of Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern descent. Easily one of the best local comedians at this year’s festival, Assadi’s show is packed full of personal stories of a young, mixed-race kid growing up in Auckland’s North Shore, to a man with a family of his own, now in South Auckland.

Assadi has many stories to tell and he does so in an unscripted, conversational way – sometimes a little too unscripted, but it works for him. His material is funny, his characters are easily identifiable and his accents are well-articulated.

If his wife doesn’t give birth today, you still have time to see him tonight and tomorrow – click here for tickets.

4.5/5 stars.

NZICF 16 | 5 mins with Alice Fraser

Award winning writer, broadcaster, performer, and comedian.  Oh, she’s also an ex academic, ex-corporate, ex-lawyer, and a terrible banjo player!

Alice Fraser has entertained world over, and if tweets are anything to go by, her show SAVAGE will be an hour well spent.

Describe your show in three words starting with a vowel…

Original, Appealing, Aggressive

What’s the inspiration behind your show?

The show is inspired by trying to make comedy in a time of tragedy, and wrestling with the moments in our lives that define us.  

What are your top 3 festival picks?

Guy Montgomery, James Acaster and Tessa Waters.

Tell us about your most memorable time on stage…

I got hauled into a German Cable Television show while busking with my banjo in Munich. It was very surreal, and I’m not sure if my German was quite good enough to translate my jokes on the fly, but they seemed to laugh a lot.

Word Association:

Comedy – truth

Fashion – a thing that exists

New Zealand – friendly!

Sheep – terrifying slit eyes

Selfie – always more attractive than accidentally turning FaceTime on and seeing your real face at a less flattering angle

Dating – my tips on Twitter

And finally, describe the last meal you ate.

Banana bread with a friend. Cake for breakfast!  

ALICE FRASER  performs SAVAGE Tue 03 – Sat 07 May, at Auckland’s Basement Studio, as part of the 2016 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. from 22 April – 15 May.  For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz

NZICF 16 | 5 mins with Renee Lyons

Tinderella is outrageous, absurd, definitely funny – but not always pretty.  And when the clock strikes 12, Tinderella turns 40.  We caught up with Renee Lyons before she takes over Auckland’s Basement Studio for 5 sold-out shows.  

Awkward dates, terrible life choices  and female anatomy – her show will have it all.

Describe your show in three words starting with a vowel…

A hot mess.

What’s the inspiration behind your show? 

Travelling through my 30s trying to figure out how to become an adult whilst failing miserably at the love game.

What are your top 3 festival picks? 

Felicity Ward – “What if there is not toilet?”

Lords of Strut – “Chaos” 

Alice Brine – “Brinestorm”

Tell us about your most memorable time on stage…

During Silo theatre’s season of “Life is a dream”, my fellow actress and I were running through our fight choreography as we did every night before the show. This particular day we had a different interpretation of what “On three….One two three PUNCH” meant. I got a broken nose, the show went up 20 mins late and I dripped blood over the floor from start to finish.

Word Association:

Comedy – Fun

Fashion – Fail

New Zealand – Home

Sheep – Cute

Selfie – Spew

Dating – Disaster

And finally, describe the last meal you ate: 

Breakfast this morning. 2 soft boiled eggs mashed on a bit of toast with excessive amounts of butter, 1 lemon water, 1coffee.

Renee Lyons performs her show TINDERELLA at The Basement Studio in Auckland Tue 3 May – Sat 7 May as part of the 2016 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. from 22 April – 15 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz