Your Guide To The International Comedy Festival

By Marilynn McLachlan - 11 Apr 2016

Nearly a month of laughter? Yeah, that sounds like a hoot! The International Comedy Festival returns next week and we can’t wait.

Expect all the lols as your fave local comedians, as well as top international stars, hit the stage night after night in various venues across Auckland (Wellywood as well, but we’re all about the Big Smoke).

The event kicks off with the 5 Star Comedy Preview on April 21st where MC Rich Wilson will introduce 10 International Comedy Festival stars in one epic two-hour show. It includes the UK’s Jimmy McGhie, Angela Barnes and George Egg and Australia’s Harley Breen, as well as last year’s heroes Nish Kumar and Lloyd Langford. Good luck getting tickets, though.

The next day, it’s the official launch with the Comedy Gala, hosted by non other than bendy-twisty funny guy, Rhys Darby. Everyone’s fave, Urzila Carlson will perform alongside Rose Matafeo—one of our faves from Jono and Ben. Also including a stellar line-up of international acts, this is an awesome way to kick off the festival. It will also be screened on TV3, so if you can’t get tickets, you can heckle from your lounge. Sweeeeet.

Head to the Comedy Festival website to choose which acts you’re keen to see, but if you’re looking for some quick inspo, here are our top picks of must-see shows:

#1 Unacceptable | Urzila Carlson

Yeah, we’ve already mentioned her once, but because we totally dig her, we’re mentioning her again. This South African-turned-Kiwi will explore how it’s actually ok not to like everything just because everyone else does—things like enjoying meat when everyone else doesn’t and actually hating the latest hipster indie banjo band.  She’ll also ask why it isn’t ok to call people out when they’re being assholes. Sounds like our cup of tea.

#2 Trash Test Dummies | Simon Wright, Jack Coleman & Jamie Bretmn

Take the kids (or borrow a niece or nephew) along to this family-friendly show that features awesome acrobatics, juggling and mean feats of balance as the household wheelie bins reaches new heights. With rave reviews, this will be one show not to be missed.

#3 Get In My Head | Arj Barker

We loved him as Dave in Flight of the Conchords and can’t wait to see Arj Barker live on stage in Auckland. Get In My Head will take the audience on a ride, contemplating everything from the social evolution of humanity to the elusive nature of non-sexually derived boners…ummm…okayyyyy. Insightful and pointed, this performance will bring all the giggles.

#4 Red Bastard | Lee Martin for Gag Reflex

Looking literally like a crazy bastard, this is an interactive show that is based around the premise that something interesting must happen every 10 seconds. Get ready for a roller-coaster ride of conversation, traps, rewards and catch-22s. What? We’re not entirely sure, but if the stellar reviews Red Bastard gets are anything to go by, it’s an essential go-to at this year’s International Comedy Festival.

#5 Le Comique | Hosted by Marcel Lucont with House Band

If you’d love to see some of the festival’s hot acts, but don’t have the time to go to them all, then book your tickets for this May 1st  show—stat. With an eclectic mix of performers, the evening will give you a little taste of everything. Yep, it includes that cult-sensation Red Bastard, as well as British comedian George Egg, who takes an anarchic approach to making meals. Musical duo The Fan Brigade will also perform, as will physical and whimsical character, Hamish Parkinson. More deets here.

#6 Three Night Stand | Jeremy Elwood

After taking a break from the festival for the last couple of years, Jeremy Elwood returns with Three Night Stand. Well-known for his cutting social commentary that gives the audience new ways of looking at life, he’s one of New Zealand’s best stand-up comedians, guaranteed to leave you laughing and cringing all the way home.

Fancy a drink before hand? Check out Auckland's Most Beautiful Cocktails 

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