Comedy Festival 2008, The Classic
May 4 | Reviewed by Darren Bevan

IF THIS is an indication of what’s to come on the comic scene in New Zealand, I can’t wait to see more. Nine acts were held up for scrutiny at the finals of the RAW Comedy Quest with seven from Auckland and two from Wellington. Hosted by Australian comic Mickey D, the whole two hour show was an interesting take on what’s coming through the clubs and who’s stepping up to the stage.

The acts which really stood out for me were – Guy Williams and Pinchey Murray (who took the overall title) and Steven Boyce. These guys seemed to have incredible stage presence and self assuredness as they unleashed onto a comedy hungry audience. Guy’s set consisted of topics as wide ranging as wheelchair basketball, Making Poverty History’s alternative title (“Make Sneakers Expensive”) to TradeAid and their windcatchers. The only time he slightly came unstuck was using a picture board – which those at the back couldn’t see.

Steven Boyce was also excellent – from a couple of opening observations about child abuse to Scrabble, masturbating the invisible man (a comment which came about because of the nervousness on stage) to working at Toss, the Salad company, this teenager showed he’s got real potential to be big on the scene.

Likewise, the overall winner this year Pinchey Murray showed his star is in the ascendant. Whereas most of the other comics in the show took the traditional stand up route, Pinchey’s routine took a slightly more cerebral and surreal approach which culminated in an audience decision about which was the worst of two chat up lines. He was never anything but self assured and detached from the rest of the crowd, but he really struck a chord with me, recalling the likes of Emo Phillips and the deadpan nature of Stephen Wright.

I’d strongly advise you to take an interest in the career of this trio and try to catch them the next time they play anywhere near – before they start selling venues out.