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May 19, 2008 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Comedy Review: Best of the Fest

Comedy Review: Best of the Fest
At San Francisco Bath House
May 8

Ah, Ewen Gilmour. What more could one seek in a late night comedy MC?

West Auckland? Check. Anal sex? Check. Kiddie porn, Australians and girls from the South Island? Check. It’s all covered. He’s even wearing sneans*. But the night is only beginning.

The first act of the evening is Vaughan King (Best Visiting Act 03 and 04). King begins as he means to carry on – with the apparent intention of offending as many female members of the audience as possible. Within minutes, a voice from the crowd screams, “Chauvinist!” in response to a joke comparing male facial hair to female pubic hair. His response? “Well, now we all know who the hairy bitches are.”


His other gags cover homosexuality, urination and defecation, respectively. He then actually manages to redeem himself briefly with a quirky story about a plastic hand stuffed with paper… but this, of course, ends in an anal joke.

More from Gilmour; who, despite being totally owned by some guy from the audience, finally gets a laugh out of me, with:

What’s the difference between Neil Armstrong and Michael Jackson? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon; Michael Jackson fucks kids.

I hate myself right now.

Next up is Ben Hurley, “one of NZ’s most successful comedy exports” just back from the UK. Apart from a few tired gags (I can only assume that dick and poo jokes are the stand-up comic’s security blanket), he is generally impressive. His style is very much that of the laconic Kiwi humour; he discusses tall poppy syndrome, the lack of competition in extreme sports (if you’re still alive, you’ve won), squid defrosting and subliminal messages during pillow talk. At one point, he asks if there are any Americans in the crowd; a particularly noisy girl in the front row shouts, ‘YEAH!’

Hurley shakes his head.

“How do you Americans survive in this war?” he asks. “Iraqi soldiers are climbing out of their trenches, like, ‘Are there any Americans out there?’, and you’re all, ‘YEAH!’”

At half-time I discuss Hurley with a comedy enthusiast in the next row; apparently, he has “killed” (this is a good thing, for those of us who don’t speak the lingo). Back to Gilmour. Seriously, that old joke of “getting kicked in the nuts hurts more than childbirth because, several years later, men don’t choose to get kicked in the nuts again”? Up your game, mate.

John Fothergill is next, allegedly a ‘Festival headliner’ but in reality a crass, scruffy-haired Geordie who has evidently spent about five minutes preparing his act – whilst drinking. At this stage of the evening I’m neglecting my note-taking somewhat in favour of devouring Cadbury Favourites, but it goes something like this: Insult girls in front row, make a penis joke, make a penis AND testicle joke (genius!), make the 78th anal joke of the evening. But perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. Sure, there are some funny moments. Like when he calls the crowd’s attention to a curly haired girl making her way back from the bathroom, by calling her an Ewok.

Aussie boy Mickey D is our final act. Maybe, just maybe, they saved the best for la…ah, anal joke it is, then. He’s got some interesting facial twitches going on, the purpose of which I’m not entirely sure, but enjoyable nevertheless. There’s some solid drinking gags, a discussion of why the English have no sense of humour when it comes to cricket, and a fantastically un-PC introduction to ‘Maori 101 – it’s a risky game’. However, the change of topic to Josef Fritzl is his downfall, especially when he starts to explain why we should thank him – Mickey never actually gets to finish the joke, as an outraged group at the table behind us decide to get amongst it. Abuse is hurled, Mickey is flustered. It’s all very exciting.

Finally, it’s the end of the night and, as instructed by Gilmour, we all “fuck off home”. It’s been an interesting show; somewhat of a let-down in regards to originality but always engaging. The festival is over for the year, but stay tuned for what 2009 has to offer – you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy.
*Sneakers/jeans combination


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