NZICF 2017: Ed Gamble – The Best of Ed Gamble

It’s Ed Gamble’s first time in NZ and he is loving it so far, especially Kiwis’ laidback attitude. At the top of the show, he breaks the Fourth Wall and engages in some pleasant get-to-know-you banter including a guessing game which involved different audience members. This little exercise certainly broke the ice and helped ease the crowd in to the show.

As a young, unmarried and childless comedian, Gamble professes to have not much to worry about. He does, however, tend to panic about who he is and most notably when faced with persons of authority. His accurate but inappropriate answer to the TSA officer on why he was in the States is woefully hilarious and gives an early glimpse of his sense of humor.

From openly poking fun at his own forgettable ‘undercover Mormon’ face to an entertaining rant about the hardships of living with a messy girlfriend, Gamble’s material has solid comedic value. He intermittently analyzes the audience’s reaction – and takes his opportunities to ‘reset’ when the response is not what he had hoped – which add another dynamic, humorous element to the show.

The latter half takes on a more ‘nether-region-y’ feel which Gamble does apologize for though is unnecessary as this is where he hits his stride. Not everyone can make stories in this realm genuinely amusing but he does this seamlessly. One particularly harrowing story about discovering a stray hair in the most unlikely place had the crowd in fits of laughter.

The Best of Ed Gamble is a consistently funny hour of the comical episodes and mishaps that he finds himself in that is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. Ed Gamble may have started as part of a duo but he is an adept comedian in his own right and definitely one to watch.

Ed Gamble is performing at The Classic until 6th May. He will also be at the Wellington Rowers Club on 14th May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.


NZICF 2017: 5 Star Comedy Preview

A pre-festival staple for over sixteen years, the 5 Star Comedy Preview is a mammoth show featuring a generous lineup of some of the international acts that will be performing over the next few weeks. With such a smorgasbord of comedians on the bill, there is something to suit everybody’s palate.

This year’s showcase is compered by Jimmy McGhie who is a fitting host, easily warming to the crowd with his ‘medium posh’ English charm. In between playing emcee, he engages in friendly banter with audience members (paying special attention to someone with a massive bag of crisps) as well as share what annoys him about being single in his 30s.

Interestingly the theme of the evening across most acts, whether intended or not, was predominantly about growing up and married life – or otherwise. This made for quite a cohesive show with each act seguing smoothly in to the next.

First up is Iain Stirling whose devious and twisted sense of humour coupled with that Scottish twang make for a highly entertaining set. His anecdotes of a racist baby and the fun that can be had as a pensioner is made all the more hilarious by his vivid and animated storytelling.

Adam Hess is next who came prepared with a list of fun facts about himself. His hurried repartee and frenetic persona will keep you on your toes – don’t let his seemingly haphazard demeanour fool you though, he has some comedic gems up his sleeve.

Lou Sanders takes to the stage with a quiet confidence and her conversational style draws you in immediately. Her short stories about the world for children and ploy for how she gets men to remember her at parties demonstrate her cheeky, off-kilter brand of comedy.

Closing the first half is Ismo Leikola, who won our hearts last festival with his quirky observations and delightful Finnish inflection. His comic thoughts on the every day garners laughs effortlessly and he uses the fact that English is his second language to great comedic effect.

Returning festival favorite Chris Martin kicks off the second half giving us a more lighthearted perspective on married life including being a gifted ‘mum whisperer’. His upbeat, slice-of-life observational style and amiable charisma give him the most universal appeal out of everyone on the bill.

Markus Birdman, another returning Kiwi favorite, takes the stage next with a self-assured swag and forewarns us from the get-go of what to expect in his set. His material is audacious yet disarmingly clever and though he had pre-empted us, there are comedic surprises along the way.

If jokes about one’s nether regions are not your thing, Ed Gamble might just change your mind. His entertaining and animated monologue about his trip to the doctor opened the audience to new ways of describing ‘whipping it out’ and had everyone in stitches.

Making his NZ debut, seasoned comic Hal Cruttenden closes the show on a high with his jovial candour and his misleading ever-so-camp disposition. His humorous lament of being in his 40s and amusing stories of his Northern Irish wife were thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s hard to pick favorites in this year’s 5 Star Comedy Preview as it was such a stellar group with a bit of something for everyone. Whether you enjoy your comedy bite-sized, tapas style or you just want a preview of this year’s international talent, your laughing muscles will be in for a workout.

To find out when all these comedians are performing, check out the Comedy Festival website. Some of these acts will also be performing in The Big Show and Comedy All Stars.