Young Guns Comedy Show

ARTS, Theatre & Performing Arts

Presented by humorous.co.nz
San Francisco Bathhouse | August 8

A series of 10 minute sets prove the comedy-chops of the next generation of stand-ups, but leaves the supportive audience feeling a little unsatisfied.

San Francisco Bathhouse was home to the Young Guns Comedy Show, a one-off performance from performers outgrowing Raw Meat Mondays at Fringe Bar. MC, Vaughan King, plays the role of creepy uncle to perfection, claiming his job is “to offend people and be the awkward one,” His everyman persona is perfectly pitched to relax an audience into a casual night of comedy.

Tom Reed opened the evening by contriving a photo op onstage for his new Facebook profile, and then made a few clever ‘coming out’ jokes. His clear nervousness was unjustified as his material was okay, particularly his insights into his school motto: “where manliness prevails.” His self titled “observational humour” section was especially good and he closed with a joke reincorporation, meaning his set was cohesive and satisfying.

Rob Harris has a natural stage presence and was well received by his audience. His shtick concerns revealing the hidden stupidity of everyday things: coat checks, computers and women, and warning photographs on cigarette packets. And he’s Canadian.

Kent Lambert has become a bewildering, creepy creature. A bizarre entrance from the audience preceded a bizarre and tense set. He actually picked out the Christians in the audience before his section on how silly Christianity is. When he began losing his audience he reminded me of a bad relief teacher as he attempted to get them back on side.

Roni Saul’s professionalism and stage presence have matured as she embraces her chosen mode of comedy, self-deprecation. She walks that fine vulgarity line, but she calls Dora the Explorer an “annoying little Spanish cunt with Alzheimer’s” with such conviction that it’s hard not to love her. She explores the tragic effects of middle age on her body which is funny, but this stage persona has a lot of potential and needs some wider material.

Josh Franklin gives the most cohesive set of the evening. He sets out to test the theory that “comedy = tragedy + time.” His well articulated puns are a real delight and his awkwardness and unashamed intelligence is endearing. His acknowledgement of the challenge of segueing during a set by calling himself out is cool in a self-aware way.

Ants Heath relies on being a blokey man of the people, and is unashamedly a bit pissed. The joys of life in Naenae and public transport appear to be the lynchpin of Ants’s comedy, and perhaps closer examinations of the world around him will yield a higher quality of material.

Adam Wright can work a room like a pro. His receptive manner and back and forth with the audience is refreshing, and the odd well placed insult is well received.

All in all, the evening was plagued by the emergence of a house style. Sure, the first duty of a comedian is to be funny, but laughter shouldn’t be a means to an end? Otherwise, the form becomes shallow and vapid. Poo, the word ‘cunt’ and 50 Shades of Grey are all things that are a little funny, and making jokes about things we all see as silly can bring a room of strangers closer together, but I’d like to think new comedians should stay away from lowest common denominator material and be working on their own styles and personas.

Filed under: ARTS, Theatre & Performing Arts

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Samuel Phillips is the Wellington theatre editor for The Lumière Reader. When he isn’t reviewing theatre he can be found making theatre with Wellington-based company, Bright Orange Walls, or studying at Victoria University of Wellington.