Monday, 29 July 2013


From the lows of my comedy pedigree to the highs of my ice hockey plunder.

While I have spent much of the last few weeks in a constant state of mental and emotional disrepair, it has in some ways paid off. Not financial pay off, that would be silly. But some warm fuzzy pay off.

So for 5 seconds I am going to roll around on this warm fuzzy basis of comparison. Naked. So there universe. I need a bit of indulgence and to remind myself that everything is jive.

In the last 3 years I have helped the New Zealand Ice Hockey League get their ducks in a row. Keeping in mind herding ducks is no mean feat and stacking them is even more tricky.

In the past 3 years I have built them a new website, a fully active online social community across Facebook and Twitter, filmed countless hours of footage for YouTube, made the most of new technology to establish live online streaming with graphics and commentary etc and lead the way in improving all print work and merchandise. Or at least those are the parts of the iceberg poking above the water.

My achievements can be hard to put into words, mostly because they appear to exist independently. It's the culmination of these achievements working in perfect unison which I am truly proud of.

And summed up in a single photo.

While it can feel like I am having my limbs pulled off by stallions, I do draw tremendous satisfaction from looking up into the crowds and seeing kids covered in colour screaming their little lungs out.

Having helped lay the bedrock for a thriving community is just super. And while I may not be able to do this gig forever, I will look back with great gratification and look forward with considerable interest as to what is built on this bedrock.

Possibly a small fort.

..with an interior ice based surface ringed with wood and glass and meeting all IIHF criteria.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


I could not have been more right when I said it felt like I was starting again.

For all my pomp and bravado, a brave face was not enough to prevent me from freezing 3 lines into my set and drawing a blank at every turn.

My cues and notes meant nothing as my memory failed me in such total entirety that I can't recall feeling like this before.

I put a lot of effort into preparing for tonight's performance, so to bottle it was deflating.

It's a matter of pure confidence and while I can't coax mine out with cookies and milk, they do aid in my recovery.

Exactly how I conjure my old self out from behind.. myself.. is anyone's guess, but I was sent a nice thought by an understanding friend.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Jokes Bro

I figured out some time ago that when I do comedy it's not enough for me to make people laugh. I also want to make them think.

Now this epiphany did not happen overnight, it took several years and when I finally boiled it down it took me several more to figure out how to go about it.

5 years ago I was doing quite well in comedy circles delivering a twee brand of stand up that mused through surreal scenarios and pop-culture references. I was popular and attracting my own crowd. People went out of their way to see me perform and I was deeply humbled by that.

Then as if a switch had been thrown, something changed. I remember the moment clearly, I was standing on stage at the San Fransisco Bath House in Wellington, people were laughing hysterically and as I gazed out at them through the spotlights, I loathed them for it.

I thought "How can people laugh at a joke that's not even funny?"

Dark times and from that point onwards my stage performances began a downward spiral from which my reputation could not claw its way back. I had begun to suck.

Now sucking comes with the territory if you're a stand up comedian, you don't always strike the right chord and not every audience will like you. You have to accept that sometimes you are going to suck, that people aren't going to dig what you're doing and that you're going to walk off stage feeling like you need to remove a hundred knives from your torso.

It's bleak, but you continue to do comedy for the good times and try to minimise the times that you suck as best you can.

I on the other hand was sucking full-time, dealing with a malaise of mind and spirit that crushed my confidence and had me doubting whether I was ever funny at all. I stopped performing.

Now I've never had stage fright. When I was young I loved being on stage, I loved being the centre of attention and I loved it when people listened to me. Suddenly, none of that mattered and the fun I found in stand up simply got up and left. Being on stage became the worst thing I could think of and I avoided it.

Over time I came to realise more about why I liked certain comics, certain music, certain scenarios and very slowly isolated the common threads that they shared which resonated with me. Little by little I began to put together the picture of myself which I have always struggled to form and feel comfortable with.

During this process I would occasionally re-take the stage to try something new, to test myself and the audience, but I never truly had the confidence I once did to hold that situation in the palm of my hand. 

But I did learn.

I learnt it wasn't enough for me to tell jokes. I've always enjoyed making people happy, but just making them laugh was not enough. I started to feel a sense of purpose about being at the front of the room holding a microphone, a sense of honour in being given that attention by other people.

Some comedians say it's your job to make people laugh and that if you're doing that then that's all that matters. This is fine for some people, but I believe it's my job to challenge people to think.

I feel people are going to laugh regardless, I am a funny person. How much they laugh may not entirely be in my control. If however I can walk off that stage knowing that I've prompted some new consideration, thought or debate, I will feel I have done my job.

Now that's not to say I will dabble purely in politics, my comedy has always had an element of smoke and mirrors. I'm not afraid to bury jokes or hide them behind what you find at face value. In fact if you ever see me perform and think "that's the joke", you've probably been had.

I feel like I am starting again and have a long way to go, but rest assured, I will hide things that I find funny in what I do for me and I say things you might find funny to make you think.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Remember when we used to care about things like.. I dunno.. each other? People we didn't know. We had empathy, we understood our neighbours.

So when did we turn into monsters?

We focus on increasing income, meeting the right partner, having a bunch of kids and sticking all of them and all of our things under one roof.

Why does this mean we have to neglect the less fortunate, the environment and our own personal freedoms?

The current New Zealand government is a one trick pony, but of course like any magician if you practice enough you're going to get good at your tricks. You may dazzle the crowd and you may make some money doing it. But of course if you do it too much, people are going to get bored and when they figure out how you do it, they're not going to care about you at all.

Our Prime Minister is like a squirrel, running around, all bright and chipper, busy as a bee, working hard and looking all cute with a big smile on his face. And he loves collecting up nuts, lots of nuts, America's nuts and putting them in his mouth and he smiles as he sighs "ooh yummy".

He wants us to be just like them and firmly believes we'll be better off if we are.

It's no secret he likes money, it's no secret he has lots. He may actually believe that if you work hard anyone can have as much as they want. But that belief has one major flaw, for his concept to work, most people have to be poor.

And what does that mean? Does it mean they don't have as much money? No. It means they don't get to eat. It means they don't get to have a proper education. It means homeless people. It means desperate people. It means more crime, more distrust, more greed, more envy, more pressure, more depression and a constantly expanding gap between the haves and have nots.

We here in New Zealand don't like to make a fuss, we don't like to rock the boat, we are very trusting and despite being a nation of whingers, we are extremely adept at taking orders.

These traits are not unique, but they do make a mess when they are taken advantage of.

When did we fall in with the wrong crowd?

Right now New Zealand is being put out to pasture, our personal freedoms, assests, laws, our future, all being sold off, all being whipped right out from under us.

And it wasn't our idea.

We've been too slow to react, too blind to join the dots, too unwilling to believe it and too timid to do enough about it. We may say "how dare you", but the powers that be know we will take it and the powers to come won't move to change it.

At this time New Zealand needs to be brave, we need to stand up not for what we believe in, but what we believe is just. We need to stand up to the world and we need to be strong in the face of criticism by who we currently call our friends.

If money is the only reason we don't prioritise health, education and the welfare of our common man, then we have truly lost our way.

We may not be monsters in our minds, but as we drink from the poison chalice we are more than beginning to change.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


One of the other unnerving things about life on the road is being never quite sure where you are waking up.

Every morning in a bleary haze I go through the same ritual of wondering exactly where I am, what town, who's house etc.. even in my own room.

My flatmate had a excellent suggestion today however, an assurance whiteboard.

A whiteboard right next to the bed with all the information I need so when I wake up I can bring myself up to speed and reassure myself that everything is fine.

News Digs

Ahh, whoops, forgot to regale you with the positives of the comedy festival, but forget that for a moment.

I was pretty scathing in my assessment of the festival organisation on some levels and when asked to fill out an official survey I did so with due diligence.

To my surprise, rather than simply be banned for life, I have been asked to meet with the organisers tomorrow to discuss my thoughts. Whether they agree with me or not I am happy to doff my cap to their willingness to open up discussion on the matter, an official meeting was not something I ever expected.

Cool beans.

And speaking of cool beans, as you may know I spend most of my time on the road. This week is my first at home for some time and I do use the term 'home' loosely. Since procuring this domicile I have spent exactly 5 days in total within its walls, when I arrive 'home' it's hard not to think of it as just another place I am staying for the night.

Most of my belongings are still in storage.. ahem ahem, at my Mum's house, sorry Mum, you know I love you. Anyway, this lack of my own belongings in my home can be frustrating when I'm so used to living out of a bag. The little things matter a lot more, so when I went into town today to purchase a new towel and found Briscoes had a 50% of towels sale, I went a little nuts.

Faced with a sale a didn't expect on the exact item I was looking to purchase drove me to insanity, I simply lost control and only two of the finest matching towel and flannel sets, two handtowels and a new bathmat later could I be finally placated.

Never before in my life have I been so enamoured with the colour coordination of my bathroom or need to match towels with flannels. Usually my only prerequisite is size, I love a big towel. Now I have four of them.

Still I hate to think anyone was watching me on the security camera at Briscoes as I took the process of towel purchase far too seriously. Scurrying up and down the isles, comparing minor details with scientific precision, folding and unfolding, holding each up to each other like swatches. But the truly telling feature would have been the look on my face, total glee with a touch of reckless abandon.

No kid in any candy store anywhere in the world could have come close to the exuberance exhibited by me.