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!
Pax starts the show with a fun film clip of him getting the ‘voice of the people’ in Auckland. He asks them what their impressions are of the Middle East. resulting in some classic uncomfortable silences or random answers. This bit of citizen journalism shows Pax to be a playful comedian who could give some great ad lib with his hapless interviewees.
After the video he introduces himself. Just so you don’t spend the hour going ‘what is he’ he tells us of his half Pakistani half Iranian heritage. In his prologue he says he wishes to share with us some of his life experiences of the last few years , just think if him as a Middle Eastern Dr Phil.
Throughout his set he tackles various racial stereotypes and puts on a fair few accents too. He shouldn’t be underestimated as he proves himself to be an intelligent and insightful comic mind, discussing racial perceptions in the media. The best way to deal with differences and injustice is to laugh at them, and he provides excellent scenarios where we are safe to do so. Pax also delves into his newly married life as well as how tough it was to ‘come out’ to his family as a comedian.
The audience appeared a little hesitant at first but soon warmed up as did he. I had seen Pax perform at the Billy T Jams so now know how much he thrives off the audience and strangely in a smaller room it seemed he had to work a little harder.
The show is all about prejudice and we judge others and Pax is perfect comedian to take us on this ride. He is a natural on stage and I really believe he was meant to get up there and stand behind a mic. A genuine talent with a natural gift for stand up. One to watch for this years Billy T!