The politicking and partisanship around how to solve society’s problems can start to look a bit like a comedy show at times. The Green Effect Comedy Show flips this on its head and lets comedians apply their unique approach to finding solutions for the world’s ills.
Kirstie MacDiarmid threw a few questions at Brendon Green, creator of The Green Effect Comedy Show, to get the low-down on how the show has evolved since it first started making the world a better place, and his predictions on how this year’s comedians Te Radar, Penny Ashton and Pax Assadi will fare tackling one of the biggest environmental issues of our time… Auckland’s traffic woes.
How did the idea for the first Green Effect show come into being?
Brendon Green: Like all great ideas, I started with the name first. I was talking with friends and someone described what I did as “the green effect”, which I immediately filed away in my brain because it sounded like a great show name.
It turned into a natural fit with a panel show I was developing at the time. I am a big fan of showcasing comedian’s skills in ways which aren’t always accessible to them. We know they are great at stand-up comedy, but let’s see how their brain looks at these other aspects of life. The Green Effect was my attempt at showcasing the genius minds of local comedians, with the added bonus of maybe making the world a better place.
How has the show evolved since its debut in the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival?
The first version of the show focused heavily on the concept of me stealing the ideas that are brought up on stage. So a comedian would come up with a great concept on how to end world hunger, which I would then steal and claim as my own, letting it forever be known as The Green Effect.
While that concept still lingers in the show, it’s developed into a much more open discussion-style show. The comedians debate their ideas and the audience decides which idea is the best.
From past shows what do you feel is the number one best world problem a Green Effect show has solved? Any attempts made for its implementation?
We’ve done shows that solved world hunger, stopped all war, ended global warming, changed the financial sector, and even made politics honest. And I think if you look around the world now, it’s safe to say we nailed it and fixed all of them.
Two of my favourite solutions were Urzila Carlson fixing our education system by allowing adults to mildly bully children (it made sense at the time, trust me) and Donna Brookbanks who fixed income inequality by establishing a barter-based system that rewarded politeness.
In terms of actual problems solved, the show culminates with audience members sharing their personal problems (anonymously) which are then discussed by the comedians. The audience problems are a hotbed of real life change. For example we 100% saved a relationship falling apart due to one person eating all of the cheese in the fridge by suggesting the radical solution of “buying more cheese”.
So solutions can come from anywhere, from “eat bees” to “let women be in charge already!” It’s an unpredictable night, but always a great time.
The goal for this year is finding solutions to Auckland’s environmental challenges. With this in mind, who do you think is the best problem solver of the three comedians joining The Green Effect this year?
I think Te Radar is coming in a strong favourite, due to his dedication and years of experience working and living to help the environment. But don’t discount Penny Ashton, who has been part of four Green Effect shows so far, and has won EVERY ONE OF THEM. She’s undefeated in the competition aspect of the show, and I’m sure she will do anything to keep that streak going.
I am really interested to see what Pax brings to the show. This will be his first Green Effect, and he is one of the best live comedians New Zealand has right now. He’s one of my favourite people to talk to after gigs, because he will take ideas to hilarious extremes. If he gets on a roll with a traffic solution, he will be hard to top.
So watch out Te Radar, don’t get too confident just yet.
The Green Effect Comedy Show is on Thursday 30 March at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre, and all proceeds will go towards supporting EcoMatters Environment Trust in their attempts to find practical solutions to Auckland’s environmental challenges. You can find tickets here.