The Another Frickin’ Festival Showcase – Opera House 11 February 2018

The Another Frickin' Festival Wellington Showcase
The Another Frickin' Festival Wellington Showcase

The showcase night of Another Frickin’ Festival had very little advertising, but those in the know ponied up for a taste of the upcoming Comedy Festival (26 April – 20 May) – a rapid-fire package of 11 comedians – 7 local and 4 from far far away. Some good, some meh – some simply great…

With slick lighting and sound the production instantly settled you in to a tried and true formula and the crowd settled in and ready for a bit of light relief on a Sunday night.

Comedian Guy Montgomery‘s flat and occasionally ‘wet’ delivery made him an odd choice for compère. Normally, you get someone to wind up the crowd and build the energy. But not this time. He opened the night with a routine about in appropriate sheep jokes told by Australian tour operators. If you’ve seen his show on TV3 Fail Army you already know what to expect. For everyone else, Montgomery’s deprecating comedy is an ‘acquired taste’.

Guy Williams rolled out as the first proper turn of the night, digging deep into his back catalogue with some oldies about Max Key and a few comments made by the Mad Butcher sometime in 2016. It was a cheap shot. Sure we’ve heard his jokes before but he tells them with such confidence they almost seem new. Almost. Time on Jono and Ben has enhanced the ‘lovable’ no-filter character we all know and love but given his associations with Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, I was hoping for a little bit more political debauchery and maybe a new direction in his material.

Aucklander Alice Snedden was fresh and delightfully inappropriate. She left the us gasping as she regaled her home birthing experience (her birth, that is) and the discovery of the photos 20 years later when looking for snaps of a family trip to Paris. She transforms her normal suburban family into a chardonney-sipping cult run possibly by Edwina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. It was a brilliant little slice of her upcoming show and I for one will definitely be going along to see the whole thing, come April.

Aussie comic Ray Badran gave us an annoying routine about repetition in comedy. A joke that wore thin very fast. And it was his only joke. He’ll need to smarten up if he returns.

Angella Dravid made capital out of her diminutive size, geek girl routine and nervous delivery. I quite enjoyed the way she drew out each joke to the natural punchline, sometimes without having to even finishing. She had the audience with her.

You may have seen the UK’s Paul Foot on TV recently. With his long greasy blond hair and beaky features he will remind you of The Rocky Horror Show writer Richard O’Brien. Foot gets away with plenty of dodgy subjects aided by a ‘magic’ briefcase and cue cards, similar to those used by TV interviewers. He’s a fish out of water trying to splash about in our crazy news cycle and failing dismally. It’s part of his shtick. Hilarious.

Another Australian Sam Campbell also does a ‘nervous’ routine. Playing with a ‘practice’ of his ‘Best Man speech’. Usually you expect jokes about caterers, bridesmaids’ sexual exploits or the Groom’s genitalia. Campbell took a different approach and incorporating a little audience intimidation. I hope the people in the third row have recovered.

It was great to see Laura Daniels (Jono and Ben, Funny Girls) and Joseph Moore (Fail Army), performing as the very twee musical ‘couple’ called ‘Two Hearts’. This wasn’t The Donny and Marie Show but it came pretty close – if you updated it to 2018. Daniels is a pretty polished show woman and not a bad singer. She’s pretty well know for her parodies of recent music heroes like Nicki Minaj so her act was pretty familiar territory. I was impressed also with Moore’s rapping which felt pretty authentic. With themes about ditzy women, ‘slut shaming’ and consensual sex in 2018 at least once or twice I was reminded of Flight of The Conchords (especially the ‘politically correct’ lines in Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros). But their ‘dedication’ song about Harry Potty actor Alan Rickman was exquisite.

Also direct from TV – Rose Matefeo exuded confidence. I’ve seen her many times and she’s grown as a comedienne, getting funnier every time. Tonight she stuck with her usual themes (being a woman in 2018; man hating/loving and dealing with being from a mixed cultural background) but totally caught us off guard with her impressions of Michael Jackson and how he came up the more obscure vocals on his albums.

Tall, lanky and clocking in at 6 foot 1,  Mel Bracewell told us that she was proud of her height but not of how it intimidated potential boyfriends. Much of her material stayed in the ‘singles’ lane but it went down well with most of the punters.

The night closed with Ronny Chieng, who has lived in Singapore, Australia and the USA and fluently moved his comedy through countris and cultures. His best story was about getting married to his Australian wife in all three countries “because Asian parents like to brag in as many places as possible.” Chieng was the stand out of the night  – go see him if you get the chance.

Check their website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Look out for Another Frickin’ Festival airing on Comedy Central SKY CHANNEL 11 on Saturday March at 9PM

Tim Gruar