It’s opening night for Brendan Kelly and Tony Lyall’s show. “Comedians for Hire”, held at the Cellar in Q Theatre, almost heralded a full house. There was a warm, supportive vibe of close family and friends here to support a new act, and I was looking forward to seeing two of New Zealand’s up-and-coming comics.

Brendan and Tony are a Raw Quest 2015 Semi-Finalist and 2014 Grand Finalist respectively, and are progressing amazingly well in the comedy scene; both were selected for Ben Hurley’s Next Big Things 2016. It’s clear these comedians are talented and comfortable on stage which, judging by the opening show, evidently makes the audience feel at ease. The atmosphere tonight was relaxed, enjoyable, and welcoming.

Tony and Brendan performed a stand up routine of thirty minutes each. Despite no collective introduction or finale, they managed to seamlessly weave similar topics and call backs into both of their sets throughout the one hour show. I really liked this decision in writing as it brought the show together nicely, and made it feel like more of a double act rather than simply two stand up gigs.

Tony’s delivery was animated and grasped the audience’s attention right from the start. His set consisted of a comfortable mix between witty anecdotes and intentionally vague attempts to discuss issues such as global warming. The material itself was well-written and was warmly welcomed by the audience.

I commend Tony’s unfaltering and contagious energy throughout his entire set. It really did keep the audience on board, even for the occasional pop culture reference that wasn’t quite familiar enough. His initial weet-bix gag about how claiming the All Blacks can eat forty-six in one sitting is a terrible marketing technique was hilarious, and the call backs were a good addition – both in his and Brendan’s sets. I enjoyed his half hour and laughed aloud, enjoying the set for what it was: a chill night of comedy.

Brendan’s style was completely different, and proved a great balance to Tony’s approach. His calm and collected manner is a contrasted to his content – a hilariously bizarre account of finding his lost son, Kowhai the dolphin. It caught me so off guard that I had silent streams of tears running down my face and was trying not to snort with laughter. What was happening?!

The audience was not super audible but with good reason. We didn’t want to miss any parts of the dolphin story Brendan was so serenely explaining. There was the odd snort or giggle as everyone tried to hold their breath with silent laughter, all of us waiting to hear the next part of narrative.

Overall, it was an enjoyable night of comedy. The audience was supportive and cheered along, seeing that Tony and Brendhan held the attention of the room well on stage. This show is perfect for those wanting to see two up-and-coming acts of the New Zealand comedy scene for a chill night of laughs at Q Theatre. If you have a spare night this week, make sure to grab tickets and check out the new festival show of these two rising stars.


Who: Brendan Kelly and Tony Lyall
What: “Comedians for Hire
Where: Cellar at Q Theatre
Dates: 10th May – 14th May 2016
Show Times: 7pm
Tickets: $16-$20. Book tickets.

In Review: "Comedians for Hire"
  • Tony's confident delivery
  • Brendan's dolphin narratives
  • Call backs among sets
  • No defined intro or finale
7.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

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