NZICF 2018: Jimmy McGhie’s Tribal Gathering

Jimmy McGhie has become a bit of a Festival regular having amassed a considerable Kiwi following since his debut two years ago. Tribal Gathering brings us more of McGhie’s trademark eloquent, charismatic discourse about life’s many intricacies.

As always, McGhie openly owns his posh English charm using it to win over the crowd. He has learned from previous visits that Kiwi audiences are a more tight-lipped bunch but that doesn’t deter him; if anything he is even more determined to engage in conversation with us and incite a response.

Over the course of the hour, McGhie tackles the joys of aging and the generation gap while coming to the acceptance that it’s the end of his youth as he knows it. His lament on suffering from three-day hangovers, millennials’ awful taste in music and somehow developing an inner dad voice overnight are highly amusing and hit home with many in the crowd.

A highlight of the evening was an elaborate, drawn-out anecdote in which McGhie reenacts a customer service meltdown that eventuated over a falsely advertised club sandwich. We get to see him exercise his acting skills – something we have not had the pleasure of seeing – by playing all parties involved to great comedic effect.

Whether you’re a millenial, baby boomer or Gen Y, Tribal Gathering will have something for everybody. Jimmy McGhie’s sharp observations make for a delightfully clever and compelling hour with not a dull moment to be had.

Jimmy McGhie is performing at The Classic from 8 – 12 May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.

NZICF 2018: 5 Star Comedy Preview

The well established 5 Star Comedy Preview is always a great precursor to the NZ International Comedy Festival for punters and novices alike. This year’s showcase boasts a solid lineup of rising stars in the international circuit, returning favorites as well as more seasoned acts.

The Mexican bundle of energy that is El Jaguar was our dynamic host of the evening’s festivities and boy is he good at it! He is a natural entertainer and uses his jovial persona to easily keep the audience engaged and in high spirits, even managing to orchestrate an impromptu Mexican wave complete with party props.

After such a lively start, Ian Smith‘s easygoing style of comedy is the ideal first act to ease us in to what we’re all there to do – have a good laugh. He makes the usual run-of-the-mill humorous quips about being a first timer to NZ but where Smith really hits his stride is when he regales us with an amusing anecdote about the time he went dog sledding. He has a clear penchant for storytelling which leaves you only wanting to hear more.

Phil Wang is up next and if you hadn’t heard of him before, after his comic routine of recurrently introducing himself, you’re unlikely to forget his name. While making fun of one’s heritage is not a new thing, there is something quite refreshing about Wang’s approach. He uses his mixed parentage to great comedic effect, nonchalantly poking fun at and playing to popular stereotypes.

It’s quite satisfying to see a seemingly unassuming comedian totally hold their own onstage and this is what Lauren Pattison did. Don’t let her svelte stature and sweet persona fool you – her comedy has bite. From her lament about looking young to how she found herself a foster mum at the zoo, she had us lapping her every word.

Rounding up the first half is the irreverent Fin Taylor. He forewarns us at the start that his comedy has been described as provocative which is a pretty accurate assessment. We get swept up in Taylor’s impassioned rants which hurtle along at breaking speed; his harrowing tale about a spinning incident in particular had the crowd between horrified gasps and side-splitting guffaws.

NZ’s favorite Welshman Lloyd Langford is back and kicks off the second half. There is always something about NZ that bewilders Langford and this year it’s infomercials. His deep Welsh brogue just pairs so perfectly with his delightfully deadpan delivery which made his anecdote about a massage gone wrong even more hilarious.

The always well-dressed Jimmy McGhie, another Festival favorite, is up next with a solid set about how different generations view the world. His observations on the baby boomer generation in particular are so funny only because it’s so true and resonated with the audience. McGhie’s ability to find the funny in life’s hard truths is what makes his comedy so enjoyable.

Last to take the stage is Andrew Maxwell who draws you in effortlessly with his brand of sharp comedy and social commentary in that distinctive Dublin drawl. He is enjoying being back in NZ, or “Polynesian Scotland” as he likes to call it. Being a self-professed news junkie, Maxwell’s material is largely topical, though for this set he pays particular focus on Australia’s lack of newsworthy news.

Once again the 5 Star Comedy Preview delivers a solid night of laughs which will leave you hungry for more. To get a taste of the international comics that are on our shores for this year’s Festival, this is a great place to start.

All these acts have solo shows at the Festival in the coming weeks – click on their names for more info. Some of them are also performing at The Big Show and Comedy All Stars at the Bruce Mason Centre. Go check ’em out!

 

NZICF 2017: Jimmy McGhie – Apologia

After a favorable NZ debut last year, Jimmy McGhie is back with more of his cynical humor and biting style of comedy. Apologia is essentially about the comic himself and his views on life through the lens of a privileged, not very opinionated Gen Y person who was raised under a dictatorship.

Along the way McGhie also regularly toes the line between making observations about the oddities of NZ culture and poking fun at them, like Kiwis’ reaction at comedy gigs and what we deem newsworthy. It’s a pretty audacious move that could have proven unpopular but his posh English inflection and magnetic charisma keep us easily engaged.

There is regular banter throughout with McGhie even giving out pet names to select audience members which foster a bit of camaraderie amongst the crowd and add a layer of dynamism to the show. From appreciative laughs to audible aww’s, this is a comedy show with barely a Fourth Wall and one you inadvertently find yourself getting involved in.

McGhies’s material is delivered largely in the form of a fervent tirade yet the show somehow still manages to be quite upbeat and lighthearted. His penchant at deviating in the build up of a story only to reveal a punchline that ties it altogether is impressive and incredibly satisfying.

Apologia is a solid and enjoyable offering from Jimmy McGhie that will have you hooked from start to finish. It is a gloriously sardonic and self-deprecating hour that is clever, compelling and consistently funny.

Jimmy McGhie is performing at The Classic until 13th May and is doing one show at the Wellington Rowers Club on the 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.

 

 

 

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