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May 21, 2007 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Steve Wrigley: Awesomeness is his doom

Doomed to Awesomeness
San Francisco Bath House
May 22 – May 26,
Tickets – $12 from Ticketek

Fellow students at Victoria University, we have an idol.

For those of you who were at the San Francisco Bathhouse on Thursday for the Late Laughs, this article is about the guy who came on stage after Mrs. Peacock with a full on Mangina, claiming “I was in the mood.” Reports went around of old ladies being mentally wounded, men in suits returning their tickets for the comedy festival and Victoria students using their phones to document Steve’s exposure.

Even though I had not seen his full frontal revelation, he confessed “I am starting to think I’m a nudist.” Thank God he did not give me a demonstration of what he did the night before. He shouted me a handle and from there we began chatting about his past. “I went to Vic for six months.” Score one for being our idol. “I don’t think I ever handed in an essay. Ever.” Score two. I didn’t get the chance to ask whether it was studies that made him leave but he did leave university due to one of his true calling, stand-up comedy. “With acting you have to be right for the part, you have to look the part but with stand-up, if you’re funny you’re funny. You can be ugly and still be a comedian.”

The conversation then shifted to Wellington’s stand-up comedy scene. Mainly with San Fran as the forefront location for comedians to perform with a microphone, the scene is relatively small. But many believe, Steve included, that it will be big enough in the future to compete with Auckland. Comedians who come down and perform at San Fran have declared that it is one of the best places to perform in New Zealand, if not in the world. “The Wellington crowd is always great and the Bathhouse does not stink of disinfectant.” Another score for being our idol, he honours the San Francisco Bathhouse.

As we got ourselves another handle, I asked him about his fellow comedian with whom he was sharing a show, Simon McKinney. They had heard of each other a while ago but decided to meet up before a show in Dunedin to have a couple of pints, “We just didn’t stop drinking for 3 days.” Good effort mate, we students barely survive a 24hour fender bender, might as well give you another score.

I mentioned their posters for his show and Steve responded, “Some people have commented on our posters with us looking like two lovers. It’s almost romantic.” Now that he mentions it, Steve does seem to be gazing passionately at Simon. As more of the crew behind San Fran came up and began setting up the Bathhouse for its night and recalling Steve doing his Mangina in front of a full house, he lost focus of the topic. “I think it’s because I’ve been drunk since Sunday.” I grew concerned for the quality of this article.

Stand-up comedy is not his only true calling. Steve has been described by critics, along with his company, as “brilliant improvisers, almost genius.” Circa Theatre is housing their 2007 season of spontaneous genius for “The Improvisors” in which Steve is part of. Those who are old enough will remember that Steve taught Theatre Sports in Victoria University, sadly he did not want to talk much about it. He appeared anxious; maybe he is on the hit list of a few older students.

We changed the topic back to his main spotlight and premier feature in the Comedy Festival, Stand-up Comedy. “So in preparation for the Festival, what do you do?” I inquired. He said, “Well, you have a few drinks in January and February. More in March, more in April.

When you’re in May you’re all over the place.” “So most comedians tend to be off their face on stage?” I asked. “The secret to comedy is to maintain while drunk.” Steve replied. “Just maintain your levels and the audience will love you.”

I got the chance to see Steve perform on Late Laughs last Saturday night at San Fran. All I can say is one thing. Get tickets for “Doomed to Awesomeness” with Steve Wrigley and Simon McKinney NOW!


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