I’ve never been to a live recording of a television show and to be honest, I haven’t been to many live comedy shows.
I’m a simple gal; I have a handful of favourite comedians and a small amount of pocket money that results in maybe one or two outings a year. So, my comedic experience is limited. Sure, I like to think I’m pretty funny, but funny enough to critique proper funny people? Questionable.
But that’s why the 2016 Comedy Festival’s 7 Days “New Zealand v. The World” Special appealed to me. I’ve watched the show in hysterics before, and usually definitely get at least half the jokes. Plus, if you don’t like one comedian’s style, there are six others to keep you entertained! Ideal!
My partner and I arrived at Q Theatre on Wednesday night rearing to go, both very ready for a few beers and giggles. Despite getting there a good 45 minutes early, we were met by an already forming queue of other punters. Neither of us felt up to the wait, so we quickly deemed the ‘two Heinekens and chicken nibbles for twenty dollars’ deal worth risking our general admission seats. This risk paid off, as we easily found two spots close to the stage and sat down contently full. These fantastic seats weren’t just down to luck though, many before and after us were seduced by the decidedly terrible seats behind the set, that offered a subpar view but also a very real chance to be seen on New Zealand television!
After more than a few minutes of waiting and selfies, the hype guy, Jamie Bowen, appeared on stage. Bowen featured throughout the entire night, proficiently balancing both organisation and humouring the crowd. In fact, I would go as far to say he was a major highlight, and am definitely tempted by his one-man show opening this Saturday.
However, even his quick humour and crowd involvement couldn’t compete with the star power of NZ’s tried and true comedians. After a lengthy but reasonable wait, we were finally in the company of host Jeremy Corbett, and his band of comics.
The New Zealand team consisted of three dependable local favourites, Dai Henwood, Paul Ego, and Rose Matafeo. The World team was represented by Chopper (Australia), James Acaster (England), and Lloyd Langford (Wales).
What followed was around three hours of continual laughs and only a touch of fatigue. The NZ representatives delivered consistent humour with only a sprinkling of groan-worthy gags. Special shout-out to Henwood, who supplied more than a few dad jokes worthy of his parental status. Chopper headed the World team, amusing the crowd with his beer-filled mug and continual bathroom breaks. Langford was probably the quietest of the bunch, but had an undeniable quick and intelligent wit. Acaster was perhaps the most entertaining of the ensemble, providing an oddball sense of humour that resulted in both laughter and charming confusion.
7 Days’s usual games were played throughout the night, including a special appearance from part-sketch, part-music duo Rhysently Granted (Rhys Darby and Grant Lobban) for ‘Slice of Seven’.
The night did drag on slightly. Despite spending the over three-hour saga laughing so much my cheeks still hurt, I did find myself occasionally yawning and distracted towards the end. This may have been due to my again rumbling stomach though, which unfortunately could not be satiated by the old-school cash-only Kapiti ice-creams on offer.
All in all, the 7 Days “NZ v. The World” Special was a roaring kick-off to this year’s Comedy Festival. I have no idea how this version compares to their usual recordings, but if it’s anything close to last night’s event then I’ll definitely be back. The seven comedians and their crew provided countless laughs, and somehow managed to stay on form for longer than I can usually stay awake.
As a whole I’d give the night a 9.7/10. I know, not nearly as witty as Corbett’s eccentric scoring, but hey, a satisfactory result nonetheless.
If you’re keen to see what actually was talked about on the night, check out 7 Days “NZ v. The World” Special tonight on TV3 at 9.30pm. And I seriously recommend you do, I was even there and I’ll still be watching.