It was a blisteringly cold Tuesday night when I made my way to the basement to watch comedy up-and-comers Harry Thompson-Cook, Ross Mills and Inosi Calavanua perform in their first ever festival show.
May always seems to be the time of year that takes a cold turn. This, in my opinion is what makes it the best time for a comedy festival, comedy lifts your spirits and those tiny rooms are crazily cramped. Low cost heating ay.
The room had a simple set up, 2 microphones and a table, stand-up at its most pure.
The show began with an introduction from Harry and Inosi, both very sharply dressed, in contrasting styles, a nice indicator that there would be a variety of comedic styles also.
I feel like Harry and Inosi coming on to introduce Ross was a nice touch, their banter was funny and engaging, and they played off well with each other. They wrapped the intro by acknowledging the elephant in the room – that men with no particular prowess with women have took it upon themselves to hold a seminar on the subject.
They then brought on Ross, one of NZ’s premier Scottish comedians. I was impressed with his composure, which he managed to maintain as some late comers noisily made their way to their seats.
As the elder statesman of the trio, Ross Mills came with the most dating experience detailing sections of his dating life with a mixture of story and one-liners.
Ross touched on the differences between dating in New Zealand and Scotland, the shifting standards of millennial women, and the hazards of meeting a woman while clubbing. It was a highly entertaining set and felt like a complete piece of work that came together nicely in the end.
Harry Thompson-Cook, who opted to sit during his set, could not provide a greater contrast from Ross Mills if he tried. He delivered a laid back and relaxed account of his experiences in high school and his failing attempt at wooing one of his fellow students.
Harry was one of the stand out performers of the Comedy Goblins, a group of high school comics, an act that many in the industry are watching with great interest.
It was easy to see why as he looked so at ease at the microphone. His material was sharp, his timing impeccable, and his jokes self-depreciating and relatable.
Then it was Inosi Calavanua’s turn to step up to the mic. Inosi is the runner up of last year’s Raw Comedy Quest and his performance was as energetic as it was engaging.
Inosi provided audiences with an excruciatingly detailed autopsy of his love life (predictably it was as sad as it was amusing).
He focused the rest of his set around his experiences as a Fijian living in a deeply religious family, providing a hilarious examination of their conservative attitudes.
Inosi is one of New Zealand’s rising stars of comedy and is a stand out performer, charming the audiences with his confidence and high energy.
Success With Women: A Comedy Seminar was an entertaining watch, providing audiences with a wide variety of comedic styles – an essential component of any good line-up show.
Each of the up-and-coming comedians featured in the show is worthy of their own show, though when performing together they manage to reach even greater comedic heights.
In my opinion, it’s these types of shows that make the NZ International Comedy Festival – so get out there and support some of Kiwi comedies rising stars!
When: 2 May – 6 May
Where: Basement Studio