NZICF 2016: Ismo Leikola – Observing the Obvious

Ismo Leikola

The title ‘Funniest Comedian in the World’ – awarded to him at an international stand up competition in 2014 – is quite a reputation to live up to. This is Ismo Leikola’s New Zealand debut though judging by the turnout, he looks set to be a Kiwi favorite.

Leikola takes to the stage in the most unassuming, cordial way and the crowd immediately warm to him. His awkward disposition coupled with his seemingly anxious tics and fidgety mannerisms are endearing and all part of the show’s idiosyncratic charm.

Observing the Obvious unfolds as a series of concise and witty observations of the everyday things in life – including comical stories from his marriage – that amuse and baffle him. The brilliance of this show lies in Leikola’s perceptive ability in exposing and poking fun at the often illogical, blatantly apparent aspects of life that have been hidden in plain sight.

Silent letters in English words, the dichotomy of ethical eating, toilet signs and even the humble earthworm all get given new perspective. The audience are consistently reminded of his Finnish roots as he openly fumbles on words and draws cultural comparisons, effectively playing the ‘bewildered foreigner’ to humorous effect.

Though there were a few lulls, they seemed to be more from the audience not picking up on the more subtle jokes than anything else. He recovers from these moments well, either simply moving on or sometimes even playfully explaining to the audience what we missed.

Observing the Obvious is an offbeat, excellently crafted hour of quirky and insightful one-liners that pack a comedic punch. Ismo Leikola’s undeniable dexterity at this style of comic misunderstanding, especially with English as his second language, is impressive and a must-see.


Observing the Obvious is at The Classic at 8:30pm until May 14th with an extra earlier show (at 5:30pm) on the last day. The season is already close to selling out so get in quick before you miss out! For more details and to book tickets, click here.


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