AotearoHA: Rising Stars

Stereotypes are being pulled apart, thrown around and stuck back together by the next generation of the Kiwi comedy circuit. Young, gays, women and ethnic minorities are carved up on stage in a domain traditionally filled with white men.
The 14 freshly-minted comedians who perform in Takapuna's Bruce Mason Centre have a lot going on and often, some strong messages to share.
Singing duo Fan Brigade sure have a lot to say – well, sing about. Their song ‘It's Great to Be a Woman' tackles tough issues like rape and domestic abuse in a way that is still light-hearted and witty, which is no mean feat. And they manage it all while giggling and strumming a ukulele. 
They do it better than TV3's Funny Girls writer and actor Laura Daniel, whose wry humour is at times lost on the audience. The point the Billy T Award nominee is lamenting on ‘not wanting a wedding' is a bit laboured, but she redeems herself with a cute staged proposal involving a bottle of mouthwash.
The prize for taking the mickey out of themselves while raising their voices should go to Frickin Dangerous Bro. Pax Assadi and Jamaine Ross are hilarious in their rendition of naughty boys from a low decile school. As the teacher, James Roque tries reading the boys the story of the Three Little Pigs. “Not those dumb f***s,” they complain, going on to justify their scorn. During a lesson on quantum physics they even crack themselves up with a metaphor involving All Black Sonny Bill Williams.
Meanwhile another Billy T Award nominee, David Correos, seems only to have to stand there to get laughs as he asserts himself as a “Mexican Stan Walker”. He doesn't have a message as such and neither does baby-faced fellow Billy T Award nominee James Malcolm, but Malcolm's performance is perfectly understated. His tale of how to let a girl down gently without resorting to yelling “Girl, your gay-dar is way off!” is sweet. But professing his fondness for a youth pastor he is “preparing for priesthood” is certainly edgy. 
Eli Matthewson is more confrontational in his scepticism of the church which he likens to being inside a kebab shop when you're not drunk. His dislike is understandable, having been raised a Christian while being gay; he playfully offers appropriate apologies. His assertion that gays are born when a family line has reached its “genetic peak” is a statement MC, TV3 comedian Urzila Carlson is happy to chime in on.
Carlson holds her own with tales of trying to find shorts in China where she is told by a shop keeper what her fittable options are limited to. She has the audience in hysterics with her impressions of a bikini waxer tackling winter growth, naughty jokes about female firefighters and threatening to stage dive into the audience. 
Four years ago, she was performing in this setting as a newbie herself. She may be moving sideways, she says, but at least she's not falling prey to tall poppy syndrome.
AotearoHA Rising Stars will air on TV3 sometime in November.  

AotearoHA: Rising Stars
Hosted by Urzila Carlson 
New Zealand Comedy Trust
at Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland


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