AotearoHA: Rising Stars

Urzila Carlson introduced the new generation of New Zealand comedy in a night where we saw more than expected from some performers at Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna for AotearoHA: Rising Stars. We got a peek at the 2016 Billy T Award nominees as well as previous winners, and crowd pleasers. It was a more balanced line-up than previous years with two Billy T nominees being of the female variety.

First up was 2014 Raw Comedy Quest winner and now Billy T nominee James Malcolm who is so adorable you could just eat him up. Great confidence on stage delivering his fearless and clever material, he was a hit.

Second-time nominee Matt Stellingwerf was at ease as usual as he mused on his ‘look’ and man’s hunter gather vision. Cheeky and likeable as always from a comedian is who truly comfortable in his own skin.

Laura Daniel, who I love on Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, delivered her material with speed and so much energy that we didn’t quite get time to get to know her character on stage. She finished on a high though with some heartwarming audience interaction.

David Correos left a lasting impression before the end of the first half with his hilarious and unexpected act of a human impersonating an emoj. Whatever next? Well, we’re keen to find out when he performs a full hour at next years comedy fest.

Rising Stars was our first introduction to Alice Brine who I really enjoyed and am keen to see more from. Her material covered her experience working in a male dominated industry not just in comedy but in IT too. She also shared with us some more intimate moments with cotton buds.

The only sketch group Frickin Dangerous Bro (James Roque, Jamaine Ross & Pax Assadi) performed an extremely well-received bit where they had so much fun up on stage it was just contagious.

Established performers Nic Samson and Eli Matthewson delivered some tried and tested material that was sure to get them lots of laughs. Mathewson’s toilet phone incident is a particular fav. 2014 Billy T Winner Guy Montgomery had us in the palm of his hand for his ‘Where’s Wally domestic’ and reigning Billy T Winner Hamish Parkinson gave the best entrance of the night.

The Fan Brigade, Amanda Kennedy and Livi Mitchell, sang some comedy tunes that the audience absolutely loved and again I’m keen to see and hear much more from this funny duo. An endearing act who highlight and embrace the absurd in their music.

Daniel John Smith’s sex-ed at home routine was hilarious and was one of my fav of the night, it’s no wonder this charming laid back comedian won Best Newcomer in the 2014 Wellington Comedy Awards.

Another witty Wellingtonian, Eamonn Marra? has a great comedy on stage persona of a sweaty nervous low-key guy who’s the last person you’d expect to be on stage and it works well with deadpan delivery.

Paul Douglas took us back to our student days of too much booze, hangovers and getting ‘ripped as’ after indulging in Snoops favorite herb.

Urzila Carlson was a fantastic host who kept the momentum up and laughs rolling. It’s crazy to think she was just a newbie herself only four short years ago. She’s a star and we love her more each time we see her.

There you have it, another bunch of up and coming Kiwi comics that we can look forward to following in the coming months and beyond.