2017 NZ International Comedy Fest

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The 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival takes place from 27 April – 21 May, so we have gone ahead and picked some of our faves, thrown a few random questions at them and put it all together with a gorgeous photo so you know what they look like when you go buy tickets.

You’re welcome!

James Mustapic

What are you looking forward to the most about performing at the NZ International Comedy Festival?

When you perform in the festival you get a performer’s pass and you get to see other shows for free! So that’s probably the most exciting thing – there are so many shows I want to see this year and I am very poor.

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What has been a career highlight so far?

I have a few highlights – but when I was doing comedy YouTube videos about Shortland Street I got to meet the cast of Shorty, and I made a full song about Harry Warner with some of the cast which was very exciting!

If you had one type of signature joke, what would it be?

My signature type of joke is probably ones that are about me being very lonely – they are all sad but true.

Would you rather live one 1,000 year life or ten 100-year lives?

I think I’d rather live ten 100 year lives. I don’t think I would want to be me for 1,000 years – that would be thoroughly tiring.

James Mustapic performs with Lana Walters in Jokes B4 Blokes at Basement Studio, Auckland from 9 – 13 May and Bats Theatre, Wellington 16 – 20 May. Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz for more.


Zoe Lyons

What are you looking forward to the most about performing at the NZ International Comedy Festival?

The audiences in NZ are just so lovely. I have been lucky enough to do a Comedy Roadshow before in NZ taking in loads of places. Where ever we performed the audiences were just brilliant. The festival has a great vibe, it is exciting without being overwhelming in the way Edinburgh or Melbourne can get. The other thing I am really looking forward to is the food! I know that shouldn’t perhaps be my focus… but boy, you guys have great food and I am ready to tuck in.

What has been a career highlight so far?

I have been able to travel lots doing this job which is something I am so grateful for and have really enjoyed so I would definitely count my travels as highlights. If I had to pick one gig then I think it would have to be recording Live At The Apollo for the BBC. It was such a great buzz! Beautiful venue, great crowd and so much fun.

If you had one type of signature joke, what would it be?

I am quite a physical performer, I like to ‘embody’ my routines. I act stuff out and add accents, I am basically a bit of a clown. I have a really old routine about a turkey in an oven that’s not hot enough basting itself in its own juices like a human trying to swirl the warm water around in the bath. It’s really, really low brow stuff… but I did it with conviction and it always got a big laugh.

Would you rather live one 1,000 year life or ten 100-year lives?

Humans have the nasty habit of falling into routines so my fear with a one off 1,000 year life would be that by 100 I would have “settled down” and I would just spend the next 900 years wearing comfy clothes and eating pizza. With that in mind I will go for ten 100 years please and encourage variety into my many lives.

Zoe Lyons brings Little Misfit to Q Theatre, Auckland from 2 – 6 May.  Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz for more info. 


Rhys Nicholson

What are you looking forward to the most about performing at the NZ International Comedy Festival?

I mean, a clever business person would say “The shows. I love performing comedy. I just can’t wait to bring my new show to the people of New Zealand!”

But my real answer is Waiheke Island. I went there last year with a group of my favourite people and we got day drunk on rose and oysters and it was magical. Also I get to travel around the place this year instead of just staying in Auckland. Also I want to spot Lorde.

What has been a career highlight so far?

Winning an Oscar in 2005 for my role as June Carter-Cash in the hit film, Walk The Line. Oh wait sorry, that was Reese Witherspoon. Last year I married lesbian comedian Zoe Coombs Marr in front of a bunch of people at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. That was a pretty fun thing that happened. Thats a highlight right? Right?

If you had one type of signature joke, what would it be?

Caustic one liners about contemporary dance.

Would you rather live one 1,000 year life or ten 100-year lives?

1,000 year life I reckon. I plan on letting myself go when I turn 60 so that means a whole bunch of years of just letting it all hang out. Can’t wait. So is that happening now? Will I now live for 1,000?

Rhys Nicholson brings I’m Fine to Q Theatre, Auckland from 2 – 6 May. Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz for more.


Joel Creasey

What are you looking forward to the most about performing at the NZ International Comedy Festival?

I bloody love being in New Zealand for more than one day. I often pop over just for 24 hours to film 7 Days, so I’m hoping to come across and maybe meet a husband.

What has been a career highlight so far?

Without a doubt it was touring with the legendary Joan Rivers. She was my hero and I truly believe the finest comedian of all time.

If you had one type of signature joke, what would it be?

Blatant, straight-up, no holds barred bitching.

Would you rather live one 1,000 year life or ten 100-year lives?

Ten 100 year lives. I’m already over myself and I’m only 26.

Joel Creasey brings Poser to Q Theatre, Auckland from 16 – 20 May. Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz for more.


Ren Lunicke

What are you looking forward to the most about performing at the NZ International Comedy Festival?

The unexpected laughs. A lot of my material is directly about, or closely related to, issues of identity, politics, trolling, and personal limits… not exactly light-hearted subjects. We’ve been pretty well-trained not to laugh at gender minorities (at least in public) but can we laugh with them? The challenge is on me to undo those well-meaning defences. We can’t wait around until the pain is gone to start reclaiming the humour of the situation we’re all in here. Even trans people have internalized this weird idea that if we want to be taken seriously, we can’t joke about our lives. I feel the opposite. Comedy is a powerful narrative. If we don’t claim it, we leave it to others. We are all ridiculous and self-righteous, lazy and politically incorrect, arrogant in some ways, and ignorant in others. That relatability can be liberating, humbling, and sneak laughs under the table.

What has been a career highlight so far?

I’m trained in theatre, but new to comedy, so every laugh feels like a highlight still. “Ze”: Queer as Fuck! was one of my favourite shows to make and I had a number of beautiful reviews and awards, the best was being placed for the Artistic Risk Award for breaking-ground content in my old home base in Vancouver. Responses from my audience can be quite memorable too. I read all my comments, but am often overlooked by the ‘average straight white cis-man’. When one says “Thank you. That was really funny. I really enjoyed that,” I feel the bromance. Connection is always a highlight.

If you had one type of signature joke, what would it be?

The silent punchline. I won an award last year for “best use of awkward silence”. I can appear well-spoken and self-assured, but my own naivety hits me now and again and I’m left with the silent conclusions that everyone’s already beat me to. Then I have to dig my way back. (I think ‘in’ jokes are a close second. Like the ‘non-binary handshake’… sort of like freemasonry, but more popular.)

Would you rather live one 1,000 year life or ten 100-year lives?

Ten 100-year lives. I like naps.

Ren Lunicke brings I’m an Apache Attack Helicopter to Q Theatre, Auckland from 3 – 6 May and Bats Theatre, Wellington 16 – 20 May. Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz for more info. 

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