I'm a bit worried about writing this. Guy Williams spent ten minutes of his show last night systematically dismantling a review which pitted him as a poor man's Hugh Laurie. Thankfully, I only have nice things to say about this incredibly endearing gentleman from Nelson, who seemed right at home in the local, school disco-feeling of The Auckland Old Folks Association Hall yesterday evening.
Williams' show is delightfully humble. He clumsily handles his microphone, at points hitting himself in the face, operates a computer/projector set-up with charming ineptitude and alludes to the professionalism of traditional stand up by way of half-hearted attempts at audience interaction.
The show gently rambles through everyday vignettes of New Zealand life, that told through Williams' eyes are polished with comical shine. An article in the Nelson Mail, halteringly dictated to us in Williams' deadpan voice, becomes scripted comedy, whilst interspersing segments entitled 'emails from my mum', provide stomach-achingly funny interludes.
He somehow transforms routine communication into a font of endless material. What's even better is that he doesn't even need this material, being equally entertaining when just sitting on a chair taking us through the contents of his computer's hard drive.
I'm not from New Zealand, and so at points sat in envy when I couldn't share the joke, but it made me even more convinced that this is a show to be seen by locals, to support a tall bloke whose idiosyncratic 'ayes' make his act relatable, and when well placed, even funnier.
This week the full programme of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2013 was released and in celebration we were treated to one hell of a showcase introducing this years Billy T nominees at Billy T James, Q Theatre. Rose Matafeo , Eli Matthewson, Pax, Tom Furniss and Joseph Moore each gave us a ten minute peek of their upcoming shows.
New Zealand Comedy Trust created the annual Billy T Award to support up-and-coming comedians and take their comedy career to the next level.
These final five nominees for the 2013 Billy T Award were selected on their proven comedic ability, talent, dedication, current form and potential, and will be judged on all aspects of their 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival show.
The night was hosted by Steve Wrigley and Ben Hurley whose well honed banter warmed up the audience and got us in the festival mood.
With the daunting task of being first up was Pax, but this energetic comedian had brilliant material that made for a more than great start to the show. He’s a confident stand-up, and totally belongs behind a microphone as he confronted the audience with race, sex and uncontrollable accents!
Rose Matafeo brought a change in pace with her more understated brand of comedy. Even her crowd hype had an ‘anticlimax’ as she monotoned through her self deprecating material. She is a bright funny stand-up and a great representative for young female comics and cat cardigans.
Tom Furniss finished up the second half by telling us that his good year has resulted in less material, leading him to read us the diary of 16 year old Gordon from 1984. This result is various boyhood stories culminating in the drawing lady parts. He’s a more surreal comedian with a clever set which may encourage some anarchic behaviour.
Starting the second half of the show was Joseph Moore who gave a slick and well rehearsed set with a hilarious insight to the effects of ‘that’ Countdown music. As an experienced actor and performer there was no hint of nerves in this polished performance. This will be Joseph’s first solo show where you can expect quick witted and silly observations.
Last up was Eli Mattewson, a butter wouldn’t melt looking guy with edgy material to make your mum blush. Fresh from a run at last years Edinburgh Fringe there’s a lot of buzz around him and he didn’t disappoint He’s a strong performer who revelled in the audiences enthusiasm. His risqué material may have shocked more as it comes from such a sweet looking young man. A strong comedy talent who will no doubt have many more tricks up his sleeve.
To close off the evening was last years Billy T Winner, the wonderful Guy Williams. He really is a treasure of New Zealand comedy who tackled the silly and surreal in his calm and collected routine. He seems well and truly ready to pass on the baton to the next rising star as he has definitely earned his stripes.
This was an evening to be proud of as these young comedians who have shown that the high quality of our up-and-coming comedy talent is not to be ignored!
Winner of the 2012 Billy T Award Guy Williams is performing the only Koha show at the NZ International Comedy Festival. Already a favourite on our screens as part of Jono and Ben at Ten this is your chance to share some laughs and complementary water in the company of the man himself.
Choosing as a comedy venue the Auckland Old Folks Association Hall, or Auckland Old Folks Ass. this was already a very individual type of gig.
After ‘nailing’ some audience interaction Guy gets started on his show. A multimedia mix of stand up, brilliant one liners, video, song and internet trolling. He’s thought of it all, except for the technical run through bit.
Slightly rough round the edges the 45 minute show ran for over an hour but was well received by the audience. He has some great material and was at his best chatting away with quick witted repartee. His accompanying projections where great but it was shame he was a little distracted putting them up as the material itself is clever and entertaining.
Guy is instantly likeable and pokes fun at his own mistakes, which added to the comradery of the night. How can you not like a man who personally thanks all his audience members!
A great eye for comedy whether he finds it in the Nelson Mail, Facebook or in his mum’s emails. If anything this show has too much but I guess that’s the point of a Koha show, trying things out and ironing out the kinks. As this show warms up there is no doubt it will evolve and refine.
Guy Williams is a skilled comedian. A tall poppy that deserves every success.
Guy Williams Has Won An Award is a fun show of laughs, silliness and just the right level of immaturity!
As the Billy T award winner for 2012, the expectation for Guy Williams show is high. A packed out Thistle Hall makes for a particularly suitable venue for this welcoming Koha show.
Starting off by interacting with his audience and making jokes about Hamilton, Williams gets the audience onside with his wit and engaging style. Wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt gives him scope to talk about his love of the show, and how difficult it is to recommend to anyone else, given its graphic content.
Using a range of material, varying from interactions on Facebook to emails from his mum, Williams is able to draw humour throughout with the aid of his projector and laptop. Referring to his hometown of Nelson with endearment, he is able to compare and contrast the way people perceive other races without causing offence, and always hits the right tone of sarcasm and irony.
Where Williams could improve is in the confidence of his delivery. He appears nervous and there is definitely space to refine and condense his material to ensure it fully delivers on its undoubted potential.
Despite technical difficulties, at no point does the audience lose interest, and the show is an entertaining and likeable hour of stand-up from one of New Zealand's best up-and-coming comedians.