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Just outside the mainstream

By Jarrod 5 Nov 2015

VK’s Comedy and Blues Bar hasn’t quite been open for a year yet, but having a dedicated club has already made the local comedy scene seem more vital and alive. It seems like there’s more comedy happening in Wellington than ever before - apart from the regular weekly and monthly shows at VK’s, some very interesting things are starting to happen on the fringes.

From one-off gigs, to regular and semi-regular shows, it seems like having a ‘home’ for comedy provides license for everyone else to experiment - and experiment they have been.

Newtown’s Moon is the venue for a new monthly comedy night, The Blacklight Comedy Club. Blacklight has two main points of difference - firstly that a DJ plays before, during and after the show, and secondly that there’s one implicit guideline for all performers: don’t be a jerk.

“I don't think a cheap, high quality monthly comedy show outside central Wellington would have worked even one or two years ago,” says Blacklight host & curator Jonny Potts. “[But] there's enough talent, and enough people just trying interesting things, to make it a real possibility now.”

Back in the central city, BATS Theatre is playing host to a couple of new shows, one regular, and one hopefully regular. The Watercooler is a monthly storytelling event, which is also recorded as a podcast. Each month, four performers (sometimes comedians, sometimes not) share real or fictional stories based on that month’s theme. While it had its start in Auckland, The Watercooler has been going strong in Wellington for several sellout shows, hosted by 2016 Billy T Award nominee Alice Brine.

Also at BATS is Mostly Working, a new comedy show from Eamonn Marra and Abby Howells. It promises “comedy by performers new to the form, experimental comedy from seasoned comedians, and a new safe space for performers to experiment with new ideas” - and while only one show is scheduled at present, they hope to get it happening regularly soon.

Finally, the Fringe Bar (still, as always, the venue for the Raw Meat Monday new comedy nights) will soon feature another edition of Hadley Donaldson’s SKETCH/COMEDY, which had a riotously successful Fringe Bar debut last month. Much like a regular comedy night, SKETCH/COMEDY features a lineup of comedians doing short sets - but unlike a regular comedy night, each set is accompanied by live illustrations provided by the aforementioned Mr Donaldson.

And all that is barely scratching the surface! No matter what your tastes, there’s likely to be something to suit - and something to challenge your ideas of what comedy is, or should be.


BATS Theatre

The beating heart of New Zealand theatre for more than 25 years, you’ll find an exciting, affordable, and unpredictable live theatre experience at BATS almost every night of the year.

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