As a long time fan of Snort, I was excited to head down to their opening night fundraiser show at the Rangitira, Q Theatre, on Friday. This is the biggest show ever in the history of Snort, featuring special guests Becky Lucas (Um, Support Me?!), David Farrier and Mike McRoberts.
Tonight’s host is Eli Matthewson, who leads us through the customary and very scientifically robust “yell if you’ve been here before” audience survey. It emerges that the attendees are mostly Snort newbies – predictably, about four scene changes into the first set, the girl behind me exclaims “what the hell is going on?!”
Fair enough – what the hell goes on is: the audience shouts out a word (or a cacophonous several hundred), the host chooses one, someone delivers a monologue based on the word, and then… chaos ensues as the cast ad libs on the theme for an indeterminate period of time.
Across the board, the skill and speed with which the comedians riff on each other’s work is impressive. Some punchlines are conveyed in scenes as short as five seconds, having been set up in the last few scenes, or relying on references that the audience can quickly pick up. Speaking of which, it’s a raucous crowd tonight, which is just as well because the show kicks off with…
With understated punchlines delivered in a thick Aussie twang, Becky Lucas monologues about an incident in her youth that involves stepping on a stone fish and ‘confesses’ to being an anti-vaxxer (to much booing from the crowd – “alright, it’s a joke. I mean, it isn’t”).
The cast then hits the ground running, bringing us on a journey through everything from taking the piss out of sugar-free schools to poking fun at the DHB website – “anyone can get on that” – in a scene about getting tetanus vaccines in a rusty shed.
This felt like oddly like I was in my lounge, having a low-key chat with a mate about a vague annoyance – in this case, Farrier’s long and troubled journey through complicated dental procedures which have left him with “a disability, which is this whistle [caused by a gap in his teeth]”.
Perhaps the greatest riff from Farrier’s story happens when the cast picks up on his comment about having rabbit teeth. A farmer spares the lives of a few rabbits on his land, and then visits their warren to apologise for his wife trying to shoot them. One thing leads to another and soon they’re making him appletinis and teach him how to French tuck his shirt (they are notably camp rabbits) – and if it wasn’t clear enough already what this is referencing, the scene finishes with Chris Parker yelling “he’s been hare-eyed, bitch”.
First of all, the crowd loses their shit. I mean, the man just has to say “Kia ora, good evening” and the crowd is frothing — this is a well-beloved kiwi icon in our midst. He gets his word from the crowd, via Matthewson, and launches into a story about “the war in Lebanon. It was 2006,” – to which the cast sits down, at attention, ready for story time with uncle Mike.
His reference to the word is so fleeting I almost miss it (“people were told to evacuate, take their babies and their belongings”), but no one cares, this is fucking Mike McRoberts (NB: read in Paddy Gower’s voice). The cast somehow manage to play on his story about a Hezbollah fighter asking him to “look in the bag”, turning it into a sketch about a suburban couple who keep sending all of their neighbours dildos. Classic.
The evening’s antics end with this stellar line from Matthewson: “Come again, it’s different every night — but it does always end with a Nazi baby”.
What: Snort With Friends
Who: Chris Parker, Tom Sainsbury, Alice Snedden, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel, Joseph Moore, Donna Brookbanks, Kura Forrester, Eli Matthewson, Hamish Parkinson, Brynley Stent, Rhiannon McCall, Lana Walters, and Eddy Dever.
Featuring domestic and international acts from the NZICF 19
When: 11:30PM, 10, 17, 24 May (AKL) // 11:00PM, 18 May (WLG)