Two festivals ago I saw Urzila Carlson’s stand-up show at Q Loft, just as her star was on the rise. She was becoming a more regular fixture on our TV screens and selling out her show night after night.
It’s fair to say that these days, Carlson is a household name when it comes to New Zealand comedy, and that these two years have only seen her popularity sky-rocket. She’s gone from selling out 110-seater shows at Q, to playing to packed audiences of more than 700 at SkyCity Theatre. And with good reason.
Thankfully, she is still the same Urzila, sauntering onto stage and lapping up the appreciative crowd’s applause and cheers. In this year’s show, Man Up, she explores the differences between our attitudes towards males and females, a subject which as a married lesbian and mother of one, she appears to have thought about a fair bit.
Delightful as ever, her observations about raising a child in an all-female household, her embarrassing taste in music and the absurdity of gender stereotypes are spot-on, and dead-funny.
She chats easily to the crowd in her conversational way. It’s a relaxing sort of show for the audience, you feel you can settle in and just enjoy, without fear of being picked on or unfairly humiliated.
That said, halfway through the show, Urzila proves she’s no pushover either. In a moment resulting in huge mirth and deep satisfaction for the rest of the audience, silence falls and she singles out a rude person in the 3rd row: “you’re on your phone and I can see it”. The smile never leaves her face.
Reviewed by Steph Bean