2015 Blog 17:  New Zealand Comedy Convoy:  Gigs 112 - 116

It is a great pleasure to find yourself somewhere you had no interest in visiting but once you get there you feel a certain level peace of mind that has been missing for a large part of your year.  I'm not talking about New Zealand.  I've been here before and loved it.  No, I'm talking about Hobbiton

The weather here has been overcast and at times aggressively rainy but we lucked out with a perfect day to visit an imaginary place.  I was quite surprised how much I actually enjoyed visiting the location considering I'm not the biggest "Ring" fan around.

It has been a busy and dramatic start to the year with a lot of pressure in all facets of my life.  When I was asked if I'd like to join the New Zealand equivalent of the Melbourne Comedy Festival's Roadshow I said yes immediately without thinking of what else might be going on.  In hindsight I instinctively knew that after four festivals and the ups and downs that come with that lifestyle I would be needing to get away from my home and life for a while. I have long attempted to balance the desire to get away with the hope of stability to moderate success but this time I really felt a need to disappear from my life and in particular the comedy scene.  What better way to do it than with work somewhere else?

I have completely lucked out with the gang I am touring with too.  Our tour manager Felicity is the calm in the storm, getting us from one town to another with minimum fuss. We've collectively agreed that making Felicity laugh is the best reward we receive on this tour.  I don't think I've been on a funnier tour either.  The banter in the van has been hilarious and I've thoroughly enjoyed their acts too.  Wrigley feels like someone I've known for a long time.  Rose reminds me a lot of the excellent comedians I've seen rising up through the Melbourne scene in the past few years.Nish is like one of my old friends from high school that I've just caught up with again and Guy makes me laugh constantly and consistently onstage and off.  It has been a fun tour and I'm rapt that I said yes to this.

Our first gig was in Napier on the 12th of May.  I was told that Napier had a massive earthquake back around the 1920s and when they rebuilt the town they decked it out in a lot of Art Decoarchitecture.  A beautiful town and a good first stop.  The set list was:

Kid at Cap

20s, 30s, 40s

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Before the Internet

NYE Woman

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Scouts Gig

It can be a crunching of gears going from a full hour show to a twenty minute spotlight and I was glad that the red light that lets us know when to finish was so easily seen. The entire gig sped along at such a rate that I had to drop a bunch of routines I had planned for the end.  That is also a good sign the gig is going well.  It is fun taking your routines and moving them out of the show order into a new one for the gig.

The next night we were in Taupo.  Since Felicity has to hear the same material night after night I decided to throw in something new all week so as to entertain her while she sits side of stage.  It is also nice to go and find some material I haven't performed in a while and throw it out there.  This was the set list for the 13th of May:

Kid at Cap

20s, 30s, 40s

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

NYE Woman

Abs or Interesting

Happiness

Gym

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

Sperm Bank Joke

Scouts Gig

Our next gig was in New Plymouth.  We arrived in a fairly heavy shower of rain and when I checked in I discovered an old friend of mine was now living in town.  My friend Lori was on student exchange from Canada back in 1990 when I was full of hope, dreams and hair. She lived down the road from me and we were pretty good pals in our day. Eventually she moved back and we stayed in touch for a while but as you know it can be difficult to stay in touch and we eventually lost contact.  I was very excited and totally blown away to hear that she was in town.

Catching up with Lori and meeting her husband was one of the unexpected highlights of the tour.  

It was also a fun gig so here's the set list for that night:

Kid at Cap

20s, 30s, 40s

Hurt My Back

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Fix Your Flaws

So Many Arseholes

Glitter in Invitations

Watching Movies Out of Context

“I’m Entitled To My Opinion”

People Wearing Your Glasses

Spooning

As you can see from this set list I went back into the bank and pulled out some older material I hadn't performed in a while.  With the reaction the Spooning joke received I honestly wonder if I'll ever write a joke that resonates more with people?  It was the favourite joke in Afghanistan, it goes well all around regional Australia and is now the joke all the New Zealanders want to talk about after the gig.  I'm not saying I'm necessarily right or even stating it is my best routine but it does seem to be the one that gets the most consistent attention.

The next night we were in Hamilton and that was a big show that was a lot of fun. I like the big rooms and and enjoy having to perform to a large crowd.  The set list was:

Kid at Cap

20s, 30s, 40s

Hurt My Back

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Binge Drinking

"Guido!"

Spooning

I worked out a way to make my binge drinking material from my show "Snacks!" work in New Zealand.  The problem with the routine was there was a reference to "Wogs Out Of Work" and that doesn't travel over here.  I like performing the routine and figured it would go well but I needed to find another reference that would fit in with the time the story took place (1991) and be something universal that the audience would recognise immediately. I couldn't talk about a "Wogs Out Of Work" lookalike competition over here so I have changed it to a "Goodfellas" comp instead.  It doesn't have quite the same hilarity as the Australian reference but since that isn't the punchline I am more than happy to make the change so we can get to the same conclusion.

Our final show for this part of the convoy was at Tauranga and that was another big, fun show.  In fact the shows have been so much fun I know I've been slipping over the 20 minute mark a few times over the last two nights and I need to get on top of that. Sometimes you have to make a decision on which routines you're going to perform and which ones you're going to leave out.  You can't do all of them!  This was the set list:

Boy At Wedding

20s, 30s, 40s

Hurt My Back

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Binge Drinking

"Guido!"

Spooning

Another great night.  All the comedians have been fantastic and a really broad range of comedy styles too.  We drove back to Auckland and I was supposed to hang out with the gang at the final party for the New Zealand Comedy Festival.  Unfortunately I had an unexpected 5 hour nap on the lounge in my hotel room and totally missed everything. That might be for the best.  I'm a strong believer in not outstaying your welcome and sometimes it is better to be missed than popping up again.  That might be my mildly paranoid approach to life but with another week ahead of us I figured in hindsight that some time in might be best for everyone.

As I said this has been a great tour and a good chance to get away.  I consider myself quite lucky I've been teamed up with this group and I'm really looking forward to the gigs next week on theSouth Island.

Justin Hamilton

18th of May, 2015

Auckland, New Zealand