Can’t wait until the festival starts to get your comedy fix? There’s plenty of live comedy and exciting events on in the lead up to the festival. Spinoff Comedy co-editor Natasha Hoyland picks the cream of the crop.
At The Classic:
The Classic is Auckland’s non-official home of comedy and produces weekly line ups of New Zealand’s best. There’s something happening all the time at The Classic – here are some of the most noteworthy:
The RAW Comedy Quest heats – Heats: every Monday until the 24th of April, Semi-finals: May 1st & 8th, Grand Final: May 18th
Catch RAW on Monday’s for a mere $5 and see people taking the open mic stage for the very first time. The RAW Comedy Quest heats are on at the moment, and every Monday at 8pm leading up to the Comedy Festival comedians will be battling it out for $2000 cash, the glory, and the promises of future work and fame. See history in the making and get bragging rights when a person in the heat you went to is crowned the winner, because you saw them first. The next heat is Monday 3rd April hosted by Matt Stellingwerf. Fancy giving it a go yourself? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a spot.
Comedy in Action – March 31st – April 2nd
Over the course of three nights at The Classic, Ben Hurley hosts three great shows for three fantastic causes with three great line ups. Comedians donate their time to bring you a night of laughter with all proceeds going to three worthy causes: RainbowYOUTH, Women’s Refuge and the Asylum Seekers Support Trust. Te Radar, Wilson Dixon, Michele A’Court, Dai Henwood, Brendhan Lovegrove, and Justine Smith, will be among the line up taking the stage for three nights of unforgettable comedy that will help change some lives. You can learn more about the show in our interview with Ben Hurley here.
The New Super Heavy Comedy Show – April 5th
On the first Wednesday of every month, Rhys Mathewson has been performing a brand new hour-long show. Every month, a brand new hour of comedy that’s performed once and then never again. Absolute insanity ensues. Next Wednesday is his last ever show, featuring a special guest, and better yet it’s only $10 at the door.
At The Basement:
The Basement is a thriving haven of comedy, theatre, dance and everything in between. The best shows that I’ve ever seen have been shows that were put on here. Here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks:
Snort – Fridays at 10pm
Snort is improvised comedy at it’s best. An hour of fast-paced, action packed, laugh-so-hard-that-you-cry comedy that the audience members help to create with their suggestions. With a cast of some of the best local comedians and with everything made up on the spot, no show is ever the same. Heck, see a show at The Basement beforehand. Live a wild life.
Down to Clown – Fridays at 8:30pm
Down to Clown is one of my favourite comedy shows in Auckland. With a new line up and theme every week, you can expect pure chaos and amazing anecdotes. The next one is tomorrow Friday 31st of March hosted by Louise Beuvink and featuring Angella Dravid, Nic Sampson, China Gonzalez, Brendon Green, and James Roque. For $22, you can do a double bill of Down to Clown and Snort. Score!
If, like Gilda Kirkpatrick, you’re asking “who the fuck is Penny Ashton?” then you’re missing out. Penny Ashton is a show-stopping, every-show-sells-out performer – if you saw her perform her one-woman show Promise & Promiscuity, you’ll know what I’m talking about. She’s back again with another rework, this time Dickens instead of Austen, and I can’t tell you just how excited I am to see it.
James Acaster: Represent, Recognise and Reset – April 18th – 23rd
James Acaster is possibly my favourite comedian of all time, and he’s back and doing THREE DIFFERENT SHOWS! 3! His 2014 show Recognise, his 2015 show Represent, and his 2016 show Reset. You can pick your choice over the course of six nights, or you can catch all three!
The Green Effect Comedy Show – TONIGHT (March 30th), 7:30pm, Auckland
A panel of comedians set out to solve the world’s problems, and all in one night! With successful seasons at the NZ International Comedy Festival, The Green Effect is back, this time with Te Radar, Penny Ashton and Pax Assadi joining Brendon Green on the panel to find some solutions to Auckland’s traffic issues, all in an aim to raise funds for EcoMatters Environment Trust in their attempts to find practical solutions to Auckland’s environmental challenges. You can find out more about the show in our interview with Brendon Green here.
Cosmic Shambles – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, April 4th – 10th
Science, stand-up, and music are a combination of things that I never thought would ever work together. Cosmic Shambles is here to prove me wrong. Featuring comedians Josie Long and James Nokise, and special guests like Dr Michelle Dickinson, it promises to be an entertainingly shambolic event that you’ll get extreme FOMO for if you don’t go.
Guy Williams – Why Am I Like This? – Hamilton, April 8th
He’s the comedian most people love to hate. In the lead up to the festival, Guy Williams has been touring around the country… well, the North Island plus Nelson. On his next stop before he hits festival stages, he takes his show to The Cook in Hamilton. Billy T Nominee (and brother ) Paul Williams opens for him and is sure to delight with his incredibly smooth songs and jokes. A few weeks ago I road tripped with Guy and Paul down to their Rotorua show, and you can read all about it here.