Finding My LOL-mate
The weather is cooling down, the comedians are warming up – it's the first day of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival!
As a Comedy Festival taster this year, we thought we'd hear from the couplets, the lovers, the sweet twosomes that can be found in every corner of New Zealand's comedy scene. It sure can get lonely out there when it's just you and a microphone, so it's natural to fire some of that irrepressible energy off someone who shares a complementary sense of humour. Plus, there's podcast hours to fill.
Kate Prior asked some of New Zealand's most exciting comedy duos to share one of their favourite stories about their comedy companion; it might be something crazy they did in a set, a moment they saved them with laughter, or just that bolt from the blue when they knew they'd be bringing the lols together, forever.
As the poet Alok Vaid-Menon said, "friendship is a legitimate form of romance". To get us in the mood, here's some Michael Bolton.
Guy Montgomery & Tim Batt – The Worst Idea Of All Time Podcast
Guy on Tim
Tim and I didn't really know each other very well at the start of the podcast. When I used to host U late, Tim had my favourite segment where he would come into the studio on a Monday night and review public toilets. It was very important work to him and he took it very seriously. For the first week, he had been out photographing toilets and had come in with a full suit and briefcase. Ten seconds before we were going to air I said to Tim "So you know, I am going to really not like you for this segment. Like, I'm gonna be mean to you." to which Tim unblinkingly responded, "Great". And then we were live.
It was amazing fun, we were immediately in flow together, and after that he would come in every week and we built this world where his character's life was falling apart. Each week he'd wear one less item of clothing and it slowly came out his wife was leaving him for me. It was incredibly fun to do and we had so much fun working together that when the station shut down we had to find another outlet to do something with each other, so we started the podcast. Since then, we have done so much together I genuinely cannot imagine my life if it hadn't happened. Tim is very intelligent and an incredibly hard worker. I'm so fortunate that I get to work with him. In saying that, I cannot wait to be done with this stupid fucking podcast.
Tim on Guy
As much as I'd like to take this opportunity to pay Guy Montgomery out in writing because I am someone who enjoys making fun of my friends, I must share a story of pure pride from seeing my mate absolutely smash an important gig recently. How recently? A fortnight ago, in Melbourne (ever heard of it?) at a taping of ABC's Comedy Up Late. Tons of comedians are on the bill, it's on the telly and everyone only has about 8 minutes – it's a pressurised environment. Yet Guy knocked it out of the park. Full energy, perfect pacing and he showcased every skill he's been sharpening over the few years I've known him. It was hilarious, absurd, poignant and really just showed that he's on a truly international level in the world of stand-up comedy.
It's an odd thing being surprised by someone you hang out with and work with every week but I was, and it reminded me of how much the dude is making the right call by moving to NYC this year. He's too bloody good for us now. My baby bird's leaving the nest and I think he's about to make us all very, very proud.
Tim and Guy are doing a live recording of The Worst Idea of All Time podcast at the Basement Theatre on Sunday 14 May. Tickets available here.
Chris Parker & Eli Mathewson – The Male Gayz Podcast
Eli on Chris
Chris and I knew each other from drama and theatreports competitions, but we became friends proper when I was a year out of high school and he was in sixth form. I think this is the source of his main recurring joke with me – that I am old to the point of ancient.
We became mates because I was dating Brynley Stent, my first and only girlfriend, who was one of his best mates. She had previously had a huge crush on him and he at some point had one on her. It was your classic love triangle, except that two corners of the triangle were peeking out from inside closets.
It was your classic love triangle, except that two corners of the triangle were peeking out from inside closets.
We used to do an improvised rap based on one of Chris’s two least favourite words called 'Pussy Treats'. Brynley would sing the chorus which went “You want my pussy treats! You want my pussy tre-eats!” (In writing, it’s hard to convey how catchy it was). Chris and I would then freestyle rap about how much we wanted the pussy treats. Keep in mind this was YEARS before either of us came out. We were two ‘straight’ white boys from Christchurch rapping about pussy treats.
These days Chris makes me laugh so much on our podcast and so much in Snort but the biggest he has ever made me laugh was recently at work when he looked up from his laptop and completely earnestly asked “Has Zac Efron ever won an Oscar?”
I love this man.
Chris on Eli
Eli and I first met in Christchurch, in the heyday of the very competitive High School Theatresports scene. Eli was a little bit older than me, I forget how many years, but considering he has two degrees and I only have one I would presume he is at least 8 years my senior. Eli was a sharp improviser which was my initial attraction to him but there was this mysterious bond between us which was the brought us closer of the years.
Later it would be revealed that we were both deeply repressed homosexuals and everything then clicked into place. As Eli's arms grew, so did his talent in comedy. It was a beautiful autumnal evening last year when I got down on one knee and asked Eli the question all comedians want to hear, "Would you like to do a podcast with me?"
Now I know it sounds cliché to say this, but our comedy relationship is actually polyamorous. That is, while we like to commit to each other one-to-one when recording our podcast The Male Gayz, day-to-day we are both very open and happy being in other comedy relationships on the side. To date this hasn't added too much underlining tension in our relationship – the key is to keep things open and honest.
I got down on one knee and asked Eli the question all comedians want to hear, "Would you like to do a podcast with me?"
I do have a confession though. I've been spending a lot of time with Thomas Sainsbury at the moment. We are putting on a show in the Comedy Festival this year called D.O.C'ing. I feel a real bond with Thomas Sainsbury. Sometimes I wonder if he is my true comedy soul mate. Don't get me wrong, things are good with Eli, he makes me laugh, I can talk to him about serious stuff and he has a great body. But with Thomas the comedy chemistry can be electric. It's thrilling. I guess I'm torn. Maybe this polyamorous thing is too much for me.
I guess I wanted to use this Comedy Festival publicity article to tell Eli (if you're reading) I do still love you. I'm sorry my heart hasn't been entirely devoted to you at the moment. I guess I'm confused. This multiple-comedy-partner lifestyle is hard work. But I'm willing to make it work for our baby (the Male Gayz podcast) and for you.
xox Your boy, Chris xxox
Chris and Eli are doing a live recording of The Male Gayz podcast at the Basement Theatre on Sunday 14 May. Tickets available here
Eli also has his own show in the Comedy Festival, The Year of Magical Fucking, which runs from Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 May at the Basement Theatre. Tickets available here
As Chris (awkwardly) notes, he also has another show in the Comedy Festival with Tom Sainsbury and Brynley Stent, D.O.C.ing, which runs from Friday 28 April – Saturday 6 May at the Basement Theatre. Tickets available here
Emma Newborn & Amelia Dunbar – The Bitches Box
Emma on Amelia
The thing I have always loved about Amelia – the thing that always makes me laugh – is how surprising and left-of-centre her ideas can be.
When we started working on the first show, she rang me and said she’d been on a very long run and had done some writing as a result. Amelia (still very much a stranger to me at this point) showed up with two pages of a Tupac-style rap, detailing the thoughts and urges of a very posh “house dog” on the farm. It was my first real insight into the weird and wonderful mind of Amelia Dunbar and set the tone for what The Bitches’ Box was to become.
Our dressing room is usually a Toyota Landcruiser parked up beside the venue.
The moments that I treasure the most are when we are supposed to be warming up for a show. Due to the nature of where we perform, our dressing room is usually a Toyota Landcruiser parked up beside the venue. As we put on makeup in the dark and struggle out of puffer jackets into our costumes, it becomes an intimate coven of joy and hilarity that I would not swap for all the fanciest, heated dressing rooms in the world.
Amelia on Emma
Every time I step on stage with Emma is lol-worthy. In fact, I think she makes a sport out of trying to make me laugh when I'm not supposed to. Laugh or cower in embarrassment. I'm a bit of a Sensible Sally you see and not one to cause a scene. Emmy on the other hand is all about scenes. Big ole dont-give-a-rats scenes.
One that comes to mind was when we were waiting in the Wellington train station (read: a large echo-y cavernous space) and she proceeded to have a faux fight across the cafe with me. "Seriously Amelia, I don't know why the hell you do this to me. I don't know what your problem is....what?! WHAT?!" at full Emma volume (which is loud). And her stick-ability is second to none. 15 minutes it went on. 15 minutes I awkward-laughed and went red. So many shades of red. The people watched, the people whispered, the people thought very little of this public laundry airing. But oh how Emma lol'd. Lol-y, lol-y lol lol.
The Bitches Box – Sons of a Bitch runs from Tuesday 9 May – Saturday 13 May at The Herald Theatre. Tickets available here
Ryan Richards and Hamish Parkinson – Fuq Boiz
Ryan on Hamish
Once I got to know Hamish well, it was clear that we had similar tastes. He and I both have a warped sense of imagination and like things to be a little effed up or taken to the extreme. However, it was a couple of years ago, while watching Snort one night that I first asked, who is this guy?
I am always impressed when anyone can do something I can’t – one of the reasons I love watching gymnastics in the Olympics, for example (probably bad example). Hamish was some “new guy from Christchurch” I had been told. It was during a scene, in which someone was knocking at the door and it was an emergency. Hamish’s character had to answer the door ASAP! Hamish did this incredible physical-comedy/mime bit where he must have unlocked and opened 6 separate unique-shaped doors, went up and down several flights of steps and then paddled a canoe to get to the door. And of course, the person had left by the time he got there (your classic gag) and so he had to do the return journey. It was bloody brilliant and I couldn't stop laughing.
Hamish on Ryan
A few years ago Basement Theatre had a birthday showcase including performance from some of the artists with shows coming up and new visions they had for the space. They had a cake set up downstage to build anticipation of the triumphant cake cutting ending. The show started with Ryan Richards, keen to promote his one man show A Boy Wonder, being birthed out of a huge vagina to Also sprach Zarathustra (the main song from 2001: A Space Odyssey) It was going swimmingly. It was bizarre and original – he must of felt like a king as the lights went out to his triumphant pose.
The lights came up revealing the smashed cake, little cake footprints and Ryan’s now creamy feet scampering up the stairs.
However during the black out, Ryan, dizzy with the success of his high-concept bit and blind due to lack of the lights, walked straight into the Basement’s prized cake, unceremoniously smashing it on the ground. He of course did the only rational thing an adult would do, and scampered up the stars as quick as he could. The lights came up revealing the smashed cake, little cake footprints and Ryan’s now creamy feet scampering up the stairs like a scared child.
A perfect second act. He's a f*ckin comic genius and I dunno if he knows it.
Fuq Boiz runs from Tuesday 16 May – Saturday 20 May at the Basement Studio. Tickets available here
Rose Matafeo & Alice Snedden – Boners of the Heart Podcast
Rose on Alice
Apparently, I don't make friends very easily. Guy (of Guy Montgomery fame) remarked the other night that I was a "hard nut to crack". I don't think that that's because I'm particularly awful or unkind or anything, but maybe it means that when we become friends, it's for life.
When I met Alice, I'm not sure we immediately hit it off. I'm pretty sure it's because we're both alpha females, even though we're both too modest to admit it (although she's a Leo, so she's probably stoked with that). The moment we became close friends was last year during the Melbourne Comedy Festival, when she roasted me in front of all my friends. I can remember the particulars, but I do not want to repeat them for fear of giving her any more satisfaction for that moment.
You know when you laugh so long and so hard that you almost feel it in your uterus?
Alice then begun working on Funny Girls, and pretty soon after that we started our podcast, Boners of The Heart. In the first episode we recorded, Alice went into incredible detail explaining a sex dream she had about Danny DeVito years ago.
The moment she went into the details of how, as she went down on him at the end of a bed, she specifically remembers that his feet couldn't touch the floor, I lost it so hard. You know when you laugh so long and so hard that you almost feel it in your uterus? And you laugh for long enough to forget why you're laughing, and then remember again? That was that moment. She makes me laugh a lot.
Alice on Rose
Rose and I met and then three years later became fast friends. Before we were friends I was a definite fan of her comedy. I remember her very clearly doing an impression on stage of Holly Go Lightly as your flatmate and I laughed so loud and hard that she told me to shut up. She’s so funny that I hope she stops doing comedy so the rest of us have a chance.
One of my recent faves was one evening in Melbourne. A group of us were making spaghetti bolognese and I was showing everyone my breasts. I’d just finished talking about how they’re uneven and Brynley Stent (from Snort and other things) really wanted to see them in the flesh. So I was doing as I was asked. I got to the last person and they were laughing very hard. I was loving the attention until I realised the reason they were laughing so hard was because Rose had gotten her breasts out and was hovering one right above my shoulder, basically photobombing my attention grab.
I like to think that’s a fairly good representation of our friendship: both vying for attention with our tits out. (Please use a derivative of this sentence on my epitaph). Doing our podcast has been a true joy and a career highlight, though I hope it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Rose Matafeo & Alice Snedden are doing a live recording of their Boners of the Heart podcast on Sunday 30 April at the Basement Theatre. Tickets available here
Amanda Kennedy and Livi Mitchell – The Fan Brigade
Amanda on Livi
Being in a duo is fabulous fun. We get to share all the highs and lows (‘joke coke’ is real af) though it’s hard to have lows when you’re having such a blast. Livi and I stumbled across each other randomly on Twitter initially, but met up soon after, drank some wine and wrote a couple of songs that night. We performed for the first time two weeks later.
Being able to collaborate well across music and comedy with someone who has a completely different sense of humour is splendid. Livi is a comic genius, ridiculous and brutally absurd. At a recent gig we did she accidentally went onstage with gum in her mouth. She went ahead and told the audience we were now going to sing a particular song, and I was like, “…with chewing gum in your mouth?” She did this blank face and spat the gum into her wine glass. Then she stared at it with a panicked look and drank it all. Disgusting. I love it.
Livi on Amanda
The moment I knew Amanda and I would love each other forever was the day we met, when she took me to this magical place where they fill your glass of wine to the brim for $5. We have not stopped drinking wine together and screaming with laughter since.
Real friendships should be built on wine, deceit, and nudity.
Once she was like “Livi, holy crap come and look at this” so I ran into her room like “WHAT OH MY GOD” and she was standing there naked. She laughed. Then I laughed. Now it’s a tradition to try and trick the other one into seeing us in the nude. Thank you for starting this beautiful tradition Amanda. Real friendships should be built on wine, deceit, and nudity.
The Fan Brigade - Don’t Ask The Fan Brigade runs from Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 May at Backbeat Bar. Tickets available here
Laura Daniel & Joseph Moore – Two Hearts: Auckland World Tour
Joseph on Laura
I’ve spent basically every waking second working with Laura this year to the point that I think we have a shared bank account. Well, at the very least she lets me order Uber Eats from her phone. I probably owe her money.
Laura and I bonded creatively working on countless thankless comedy job-jobs, like writing songs with jokes for ad agencies to pitch clients, or writing songs with jokes for media agencies to play at in-house sales meetings. You know, the stuff you dream about when you are coming up in the comedy game. I was always so impressed by her positivity, and ability to turn any weird brief into something genuinely impressive, and it’s made working on stuff we're super passionate about, like Funny Girls, or our upcoming festival show, such a comparative joy.
It feels weird writing something and not reading it out to her first for notes.
I enjoy working with Laura mainly because she can sing, act, dance and look an audience member in the eye without thinking, “what's the point of any of this?” It’s such a rare pleasure being able to write stuff you could never perform yourself. Laura is a bloody superstar and I hope to ride her coat-tails for as long as possible.
It feels weird writing something and not reading it out to her first for notes.
Laura on Joseph
I don’t think I see anyone more than I do Joseph Moore. The most time we’ve spent apart this year would probably have to be a week? It’s lucky we get along super well or we both would have gone completely insane. We bonded over our love of comedy and pop-music and seeing as we work together on Jono and Ben and Funny Girls every goddamn day of our lives, it gave us a really great platform to make comedy songs. He's the musical mastermind that develops our beats… and I bring... like… charm and charisma.
Joey has definitely become my number one comedy collaborator, to the point where he now directs most of my segments on Jono and Ben. I would describe our relationship as like brother and sister, not just because we look like we legit could be siblings… but because when we first met we tried going on a date and it was kind of like dating a sibling… not that either of us have done that before, but I assume it’s like that.
Below is the only piece of photographic evidence of a date Joseph and I went on in 2010. It was gifted to Joseph this year on his birthday. #neveragain
Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore – Two Hearts: Auckland World Tour runs from Tuesday 9 May – Saturday 13 May at the Loft at Q Theatre. Tickets available here.
Joseph Moore & Nic Sampson – Walk Out Boys Podcast
Nic on Joseph
I’ve known Joseph for about 18 years now. I actually babysat him when I was 13 and he was 11, which is how all great friendships form.
At the end of high school we formed a comedy band called Guns ’N’ Moses (a reference to our school principal, not the one from the bible). We wrote songs about pirates and monsters and chickens that flew planes and played lunchtime concerts at Wellington girls' schools. I wrote most of the music which looking back on it, was ridiculous, considering how Joseph was pretty much born to create epic music genre parodies. He’s a genius.
Everybody wants to work with Joseph.
Since then we have made about 10 plays, 7 short films, over 100 podcasts, and about a thousand sketches for Jono and Ben together. Joseph is one of the best people to collaborate with. I can tell him any vague idea and he just immediately sees it for what it could be. Everybody wants to work with Joseph, which is why he has BETRAYED me to write one of these with Laura as well.
I could write so much about this guy, but one of my favourite Joseph moments was when we were flatting together years ago. There was a party at our place and the girl I was seeing at the time ended up drunkenly kissing another guy. Not ideal. But while I was off being sad about it, Joseph asked the guy to leave the house. For whatever reason he wouldn’t go, so Joseph and my good friend Nick decided that the only way to make such a big guy listen to them was to become big as well. Nick got up on Joseph’s shoulders so they were ‘twice as big as a normal man’ and went back into the room as a giant and demanded this guy to leave.
It was just such a funny thing to do in such a bad situation and it really helped defused the tension. Joseph’s always good like that.
Joseph on Nic
My partnership with Nic is much older than our podcast, or any podcast. Nic was a couple years above me at primary school in Wellington, and I remember constantly being in awe of how funny he was, even then. I first noticed him in a lunchtime improv class run by a teacher with zero interest in improv when I was 8 and he was 10. He was playing a bus driver in a scene, and made the offer, out of bloody nowhere, that his bus was being ATTACKED BY ALIENS. Aliens! On a bus! This was 1998. He was deeply ahead of his time. It brought the house down, and I remember knowing immediately “this is a creative mind I need to latch myself onto for the rest of my life”.
And I did. I shadowed him, probably annoyingly, through high school, until we eventually formed a Flight of the Conchords-ripoff acoustic comedy band in 2005. One of our first gigs was getting booked, instead of a DJ, for the after-party dance of an inter-school Shakespeare competition; an early lesson in comedy that the hornier your audience is, the less attentive they'll be.
I don’t think I’ve ever told a joke on stage that I haven’t run by him first.
Since then, Nic has been part of every step of my comedy career in one way or another. We worked together on SEVEN seasons of various shows with “Jono” in the title, we lived together for five years, and I don’t think I’ve ever told a joke on stage that I haven’t run by him first. That's because of the creative trust we’ve built and also because I’m still pretty in awe of how funny he is. An alien on a bus! No way.
Joseph Moore and Nic Sampson are doing a live recording of their Walk Out Boys podcast on Sunday 7 May at the Basement Theatre. Tickets available here
Nic also has his own show in the Comedy Festival. Tickets available for Jewel Heist here