NZ COMEDY FESTIVAL: Le Comique

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So tonight I went to Le Comique at the NZ Comedy Festival, the one and only show I will be attending because of factors both in my control and out of. It was advertised as two hours but turned out to be three, with a 13.5 minute intermission after an hour.

First half was good, second half was… quite long, as you would imagine if your first half was one hour and your second half two hours.

Le Comique has been going on for four years now and it was my first time checking it out, and actually any NZ Comedy Festival show for that matter. I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a mixed bag. It was hosted by Marcel Lucont, who I really dig now that I’ve seen him in real life other than a two minute clip on YouTube. He basically just says what everyone is thinking and gives no f**s about who he offends, if he offends anyone which he doesn’t because he’s just saying what everyone is thinking. Lucont is so quick at improv too that it was hard not to walk away thoroughly impressed. He has some really good songs and poems, too. So French. True connoisseur of the amour and vin rouge.

Lucont was supported in true comedy show style by the Hairy Soul Man & Band (HSMB) aka Kai Smythe and a group of musicians some in shadow some not. Smythe’s voice is amazing and so is his facial hair, but his comedy goods on offer tonight were not to my tastes. There is something for everyone, and Hairy Soul Man band is not for me. The musicians were incredible, though, and I think outside of a comedy circuit I’d appreciate the group way more than I did tonight. Which defeats the purpose of their existence so I guess I’ll just chalk it up to some sort of difference and we’ll both move on with our lives.

James Nokise was the first act up, a Welsh/Samoan stand-up who has apparently been making the rounds for years and years, now. All I have to say about him is, where have I been all this time?! He was hilarious, and I feel that HSMB should not have come before him because Nokise was top class compared to that. Mata can vouch for his Samoan truthiness.

Next up was Sara Pascoe, who I have been looking forward to all festival and whose solo show I am sadly missing out on when it starts next week. So I’m very glad I got to see her tonight. She was quite good, lovely accent, talking about some real neuroticisms that women might have in relationships (and that she has in relationships) along with some pretty out there anecdotes from her childhood. It’s all kept lighthearted with her delivery, though, and the speed at which we move from laugh to laugh keeps you on your toes and before you know it, it’s over all too soon 😦 You guys going to her show next week are going to have an amazing time!

Intermission time.

Up after the break was Marcel Lucont wanting to give away an Old Mout cider package and a $100 voucher for Sale St bar… but Hairy Soul Man Band dude kept picking nonexistent seat numbers. It went on for about fifteen minutes. It went on long enough for you to wonder if it was rigged as part of the comedy show or if it actually was a legitimate stuff up by whoever put the numbers together.

In the end they went with the closest number (E32) and the lucky dude from Devon, England got to win a round of Guess Who against Lucont. Verryyy niiiice.

There was Trygve Wakenshaw (say that backwards) who turned out to be some zany supernaturally wiry limbic dude who used miming and minimal sound effects to turn your brain against itself. Never thought you’d feel physically grossed out and squicky by a man finding, grooming, and then disembowelling an invisible horse? THINK AGAIN. It took me a while to warm up to the act but once I embraced the crazy (which admittedly took a while), it wasn’t too bad.

After him was James Acaster, who I don’t remember much of due to the dude next to me spilling a rather generous amount of beer on my leg and my coat which really pissed me off. Normally I would enjoy Acaster’s style of delivery and humour, and I did enjoy the act once I made myself comfortable with my new state of being (which was wet leg – tangent: wet clothes are ok if ALL your clothes are wet because then you can just convert to a state of ok all my clothes are wet, but partially wet clothes are just the worst because your brain is like WHAT AM I ADJUSTING TO FFS). So I can safely say I would attend another James Acaster show.

The night was closed by hospital DJ Ivan Brackenbury, who was HILARIOUS. What a top headliner especially if you haven’t already seen his material. He had me in stitches! Not actual ones although wouldn’t it be great if you were in hospital needing stitches and there was DJ Ivan Brackenbury to help you along with your healing process.

Interspersed in all of this were Jackie Van Beek and Jonny Brugh who were Ivan and Eva, the Eastern European pair pulling around dead weight horse Sylvia. It was all a little bit random for me to be honest.

SPOILER ALERT LOOK AWAY NOW –

Sylvia turns out to be missing at the end of the sketch which begs the question – was Sylvia the horse Trygve Wakenshaw groomed and eventually found out was a unicorn and then did unspeakable things to?

OK IT’S SAFE NOW –

Le Comique had great fantastic moments that came close to not really outweighing the acts I didn’t care so much for, but it’s a show you should try to catch next Comedy Festival. It’s a rare chance to see comedians who are at the top of their game playing off each other, and adds a new level to the comedy you may or may not be accustomed to.

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