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"We were storming Melbourne": Chris Parker discusses NZ comedy and his solo show

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 27 Apr 2024, 11:52am
Photo / Andi Crown Photography
Photo / Andi Crown Photography

"We were storming Melbourne": Chris Parker discusses NZ comedy and his solo show

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 27 Apr 2024, 11:52am

The NZ International Comedy Festival is kicking off next week, and to kickstart the shenanigans Chris Parker will be hosting the annual Comedy Gala. 

The kiwi comedian has cemented himself as one of the country’s favourite comics, having done everything from stage shows and stand-up to podcasts and books. 

He’s just returned home from the Melbourne Comedy Festival where he did a total of 22 shows alongside line-ups, a podcast, and various other gigs over the course of a month. 

He told Newstalk ZB’s Jack Tame that there’s a lot of people, and a lot of kiwis looking for something familiar. 

“I’m doing sort of customer service, sort of trying to figure out where my audience is,” Parker said. 

“And I’m like, ‘oh I see. They’re mostly kiwis who are feeling homesick and want to hear an accent again.” 

The set he performed at the Festival was titled ‘Give Me One Good Reason Why I Shouldn't Throw My Phone Off This Bridge’, a title he said was a dramatic reaction to being on his phone too much. 

“I keep sort of having those like, ‘what if?’ moments. I don’t know if you feel like whenever you’re driving over the Harbour bridge and you’re just like, ‘what if?’” Parker asked Tame. 

“I have that with my phone every morning, or I just want to crush it, you know? Just because I’m just done with it.” 

Parker appreciates that he built his audience through social media, but he does worry about the impact social media and technology has on those who use it, their attention spans, and the way they connect with others. 

“When we first had the internet, which is such a joyful place where we talk to men in their forties in chat rooms, and now it’s sort of dissolved into this, you know...”  

“This actually unpleasant place,” Tame chimed in. 

“It’s very interesting,” Parker agreed. 

This is the crux of the show, he explains, the relationship and dependence we have on social media, Parker even saying that he might go cold turkey on it. 

He compares the assortment of media consumed in one moment to canapes at an event, a chiropractor video next to world news next to a pasta recipe similar to a bao bun, a prawn twizzler, and a burger all on one plate. 

“That’s a lot of different stuff to be consuming in one moment.” 

Speaking of canapes and events, Parker rejects the notion that hosting the Comedy Gala is a rough gig. 

“I am, you know, a serial showoff,” he told Tame. 

“So, all I’m gagging for is the stage time, and I get more than anyone else! No other acts, it’s me for an hour.” 

The awards are a beautiful thing, he said. Being able to see his colleagues at their best in a four or five minute act, six if they go overtime, it’s wonderful. 

“It gives a real gauge on how we’re going as a country in terms of our, you know, comedic landscape, which is like, we’re sharper and funnier than ever." 

“We were storming Melbourne,” Parker revealed. 

“They were getting angry at how good, at how funny New Zealand was.” 

In Parker's opinion, this is an amazing time for New Zealand comedy, and while we do celebrate it, we could be better.

"Please go out and support live comedy."

"Stop watching comedy on your phone, get out, put your phone in the bin, get out of the door and go take a punt on a comedian that you've never heard of before."

The International Comedy Festival begins May 3rd in venues across Auckland and Wellington, with select shows occurring around the country. 

Give Me One Good Reason Why I Shouldn't Throw My Phone Off This Bridge’ will be touring New Zealand from June 20th, visiting Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington, and Rotorua. 


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