On Friday Night I found myself in a packed out Classic, full of lively punters to watch Rhys Mathewson, the Heartless Joke Machine. The liveliness of the crowd would set to the tone for the night, and Mathewson’s reaction to it would show the caliber of comic he is.

The show was billed as being “Jam packed with jokes, jokes, jokes.” and it delivered in this regard, Mathewson showing his repertoire from the get go, displaying his mastery of story telling, one liners, observations and physical mime.

What most impressed me was how he was able to roll with the punches. As I alluded to, the Classic was full of Friday night punters, and lively punters at that. The night was full of heckles, misplaced clapping and just general buffoonery. While not ideal, Mathewson has the experience and ability to recover from the loss of momentum, and keep the show rolling, while squeezing a bit of extra humour from “addressing the elephant in the room.”

Heartless Joke Machine is probably the best structured show I have seen so far in the fest. Mathewson entertaining us into following him on a journey, as he revealed recent major events of his life, and explored how being a comic factored in, while hiding a subtle arc throughout.

Heartless Joke Machine was a solid, Edinburgh level hour of comedy. Rhys Mathewson is one of New Zealand’s most talented comics, his natural physicality, engagingly high energy delivery and world class joke writing ability are some of the many feathers in his cap, not forgetting his ability to tame some of the rowdiest crowds.


What: Heartless Joke Machine

Who: Rhys Mathewson

When: 7PM 5 – 8 May

Where: The Classic

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