Comedy Festival 2008, The Classic; San Francisco Bathhouse
April 19-May 3; 6-10 | Reviewed by Darren Bevan

YOU HAVE to admire an international comedian who still does his own opening lights show and introduction – although with Ben Hurley you sense it’s more from necessity than desire. And yet, as Ben made his way to the corner of the Classic Upstairs (“If you don’t like me, there’s nowhere for me to go” he remarked early on) there was a feeling he could take on anyone – and anything.

After some initial cheerful banter which saw Ben discover some members of the audience lie to him about their profession (“Bro why would you take your time to answer the question what do you do?”) Hurley settled into his routine – which included some older material about how our NZ motto should be NZ- settle down mate, as well as how Cockney Englishmen are like cockerels, the war on terror, how women must choose their moods from a menu (“Start off with angry, horny later on when no-one’s around and to end the day…racist”), growing up in the ‘ Naki, drinking, the FTA and immigration.

So it’s a pretty broad spectrum and Hurley delivers it effortlessly and affably which is obviously the reason he’s now working on a comedy project with UK legend (and NZ sausage advertiser Andy Parsons). Overall, the show was funny and led to a few chortles but there was never anything which saw the audience laugh out loud – a series of good moments, but nothing fabulously memorable.

He’s worth a look and is entertaining but just don’t expect to be laughing for days after at some of the comments – it’s more a wry kind of smile occasion.