The concept of Stand Up For Kids is pretty obvious. It’s comedy, on a Saturday, designed for kids. The target audience is definitely not me – one hungover childless yo pro. But the energy of the kids was hard to ignore, and walking into The Loft at Q Theatre I was confident that I would get some laughs out of the afternoon. The audience was clearly hyped to hear some jokes. And there were plenty of people in attendance – the show had been slightly oversold, presumably out of the expectation that all the kids would sit on the bean bags set out on the mat at the front of the stage.
The kids there ranged from babies and toddlers to a few pre-teens, so the comedians had their work cut out for them in finding material that was both age-appropriate and funny for the whole audience.
The format of the show was familiar, with one comedian hosting and others doing mini-sets. The show we saw was hosted by Tessa Waters, who is – no exaggeration – a comedic genius. Tessa is a particular superstar when it comes to connecting with the audience, and making everyone in the room feel like her humour is meant for them. The extent to which her comedic style transcends age was demonstrated when she had the whole audience – parents as well as kids – out of their seats and dancing.
The two comedians sharing the stage with Tessa were Rhys Mathewson and Gordon Southern. Rhys confirmed that you are never too old for toilet humour. He also proved that there is nothing funnier than embarrassing your parents. He also proved that he is actually really great at tap dancing. I had seen his material before – at the distinctly more adult Dope Joke Party – but it didn’t lose any of its shine the second time around.
Gordon Southern’s set relied more on joke telling, an option that seemed to impress the kids less than Tessa and Rhys’ more physical humour. That – or the hour-long format was a bit much for the attention span of a young mind. Gordon also made a few borderline ad-libbing calls, in particular calling a boy in a hoodie a “future crime wave”. His dry humour and puns appealed to this hungover yo pro, though.
The magic of a successful “kids” comedy show is when the adults and the kids are laughing together, and not in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way where there are jokes aimed at the parents that go over the kids’ heads. The kids are the whole point of this show, and it’s important to treat them with respect. Stand Up For Kids successfully achieved this balance.
All in all, the show was definitely a “fun activity for the whole family”, excuse the cliche. Stand Up For Kids is clever, funny and just plain fun – for kids of up to age 100. The kids’ lack of self-consciousness is infectious. It’s a great concept that allows people who might not otherwise get to a comedy show to enjoy some standup.
If you have kids, I would definitely recommend it. If you don’t have kids, based on ticket sales last week, maybe don’t go, but do recommend it to any friends with kids – let some long-suffering parents do something fun for once!
When: The last Auckland-based show is on Saturday the 13th of May.
Where: The Loft at Q Theatre
Tickets: Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.