The Secret Policeman’s Ball – Review


Only moments before walking into the Comedy Chamber on Sunday night I had shaved off my beard, I then missed out on one of the many complimentary moustaches that were being offered at the door –damn compounding regret. This also made for an awkward moment later on, for at the closing of the show when the audience were asked to don these for a crowd photo, the closest thing I had was a pen – a lame effort on my behalf.

This festival event in particular was designed as a fundraiser for Amnesty International and one of their specialties is raising awareness toward those who are punished for raising their voice against oppression and championing human rights. Anyhow, there is no better way to remind an audience about the simple pleasures of free speech than to watch a bunch of comedians make fun of everything including the coinage of the term, ‘Winston Paedophilia’.

The 2 hour show was hosted by MC Simon McKinney and consisted of short sets from a collection of comedians. The line-up was dominated by kiwi talent which included Raybon Kan, Nick Gibb, Jesse Griffin and T J McDonald but was tolerant enough to let a few abroad join in the fun with Dave Bloustien from Australia and Dan Nightingale and Ian D Mountford adding an another layer of variety

The show focused on a worthy cause indeed. Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega is currently incarcerated with charges of high treason and terrorism against his name. He has been sentenced to 18 years. With this in mind, there was a rare sense of pre- gig perspective on offer for Monday’s punters.

On the whole the night went swell. Due to the number of performances the set times were rather short but were held together nicely by MC Simon McKinney.

Today begins the last week of the NZ International Comedy festival so I would strongly recommend that one gets their tail into the city and catch some of these comic cats.