On Tuesdays night I had the joy of witnessing Phill Jupitus on his tour of Sassy Knack, at the Rangitira, in what served as Q Theatre’s opening gambit of this year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival, an inspired opener to what I’m hoping is a great festival all round.
We ventured in to the sound of mellow tunes, Jupitus was on stage, sat with his back to audience, casually selecting music on his tablet, which provided a chilled atmosphere for the audience to remove their coats, take their seats and get into the zone.
Jupitus began by making a joke about his entrance on stage, and riffing on the audience’s reaction to the joke, an unconventional start for sure, but an entertaining way to subvert what is quite a basic convention in comedy.
I guess expectations vs reality was to be a partial theme of the experience (my experience for sure), Jupitus is well known for his appearance on panel shows Never Mind The Buzzcocks (what was a sure UK institution, but I’m not sure if it aired here) and QI, as well as numerous appearances on Live at the Apollo. But live comedy is a different beast, and I wondered how the two experiences would compare.
The bulk of the show was 2 stories, recent developments since he’d last toured. He delivered a hilarious account of his experience receiving an honourary doctorate, and recounted his experiences in his new locale in rural Scotland.
This was performed with his signature mixture of sarcastic wit and childish whimsy, Jupitus is a natural story teller, every line filled with interest and that all important punch. I was especially impressed by his ability to bring several characters to life throughout the show, from the unfortunate and humourless graduation organiser, to the dour and information starved scots he encounters in day to day life.
On a personal level I had great appreciation for his references to Kent, which is my home county. Although I do feel that some of the references he made to the UK may have gone over a few heads, sans me and other UK ex-pats.
Sassy Knack was a fantastic hour of comedy, a show that elicited throat laughs, belly laughs and even my embarrassing high pitched laugh (a high accolade in my book). Phill Jupitus pure and simple is an absolute master of the craft, and a definite must see should he venture to this part of the world again, or if you find yourself in Scotland for some reason. (I don’t know your life)
The temperature last night was 16°C with 73% humidity and a SW wind at 32KM/h.