Seen: Joseph Moore in '1989'

Joseph Moore’s set starts with him running around the stage hyperactively to an audio history of his life backed to techno music. It’s cringe. The jokes on the voice over aren’t funny and there’s a brief moment where he imitates being a cocaine-sniffing baby – a gag that seems like it could’ve been stolen from some 10 year old’s stand up at a Primary school talent quest. I couldn’t wait for the intro to end. Luckily, the end of the intro was my favourite.


As Moore ceased doing waving arm actions, letting out a few pants of physical tiredness – Moore smiled. He too realised this intro was slightly awkward and not something he could brush off as being ‘spur of the moment’, (he’d planned and recorded the audio) and that was fantastic. This facial candidness was endearing and set the tone for the rest of a brilliant set.


Moore’s honesty in both his delivery and content was the reason I warmed to this set so much. As the set wrapped up, I truly felt like Joseph and I would wander upstairs and grab a slice of ‘Toto’s pizza together’ as a post-routine wind down. Luckily, my boyfriend restrained me from doing this and reminded me that I had a reviewer’sberet on my head. My job tonight was not to befriend Moore but critically evaluate him.


Thus, here are 3 reasons why you should go see his set ‘1989’:


1. ‘1989’ has the same humor as Jono and Ben, which it should, because Moore writes for them. Moore’s influence on the show is all over the set – it’s in his content, Moore has a lot of ‘matter of fact humor’ the show routinely practices; and it’s in his delivery, Moore’s cadence is eerily like Jono’s. So if you can’t wait till Friday to see the next Jono and Ben I’d go to Moore’s set in-between to satiate your fix.


2. His material is witty, and he doesn’t victimise anybody but himself in order to make jokes. He’s a comic bastion. But Moore’s material subject material is his life, from the year of ‘1989’ to his eventual death, so maybe that’s a given?


Nevertheless, he does the ‘life to death’ theme well. It could’ve been done in a pedestrian manner, with Moore drawing on the same stereotypical ‘goals’ people always talk about wanting achieve before they ‘cark it’ - lose weight, be known for something, make lots of money. Wait, Moore actually does talk about all of these! But who cares. Its Moore’s execution which makes this content non-pedestrian.


He’s very intelligent in how he’s structured the set. He shrouds all his universal themes like ‘money’ and ‘achievements’ in obscurepersonal anecdotes like ‘the two times when he went to the Gold class cinemaLounge alone’ and ‘Night bees – a new species’. The result being that by the end of the set you understand he’s traversed a well of Universal life goals, you just didn’t realise it! Damn you, Joseph Moore, and your thematic strength.


3. The venue is amazing. I can’t emphasise this enough. Monte Cristo feels like a champagne cave in France filled with 20-somethings drinking red wine and eating pizza. It’s amazing. I’m pretty sure this is where the next Sundance coming-of-age film starring Aubrey Plaza will be shot, so I’d get there quick to say you knew about it before all the cool kids.



25th April - 10th May

Toto's Montecristo

NZ International Comedy Festival


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