After the deafening self-intro, sound levels settle and MC Rhys Mathewson proves to be a highlight once again. After seeing his solo show earlier in the festival, it is a joy to revisit some of his witty anecdotes and his banter with audience members takes a hilariously strange turn when he discovers several tables of punters all know each other but didn't know each were at the show.
Those who have witnessed several horrendous cases of audience heckling across the festival will be please that Mathewson runs through the ‘rules' of how to be an audience member at a comedy show and the crowd remains well behaved. Quick comebacks, great physicality and a broad range of thoughts from the Pope, condoms and sausage rolls prove popular.
First act is 2013 Raw Comedy Quest winner Maarten Idema. Before tonight I'll admit I hadn't heard of him, so not sure what he's been up to since his win last year. The dead pan comedy and clever puns for the thinking man at times hit right on the mark, but often pace of delivery doesn't quite match the mind-set of the room; sometimes too quick, leaving large silences between ends of jokes and the audience catching up, or too slow and the audience figuring out the punch line before it is uttered. Maarten is clever and with more gigs under his belt should delight most crowds.
Next up, in his first ever professional comedian gig, is James Malcolm. This 18 year old is the winner of last Sunday's 2014 Raw Comedy Quest in Auckland. With a cheeky and sweet wide-eyed delivery, James winds his way through teenage obstacles such as texting and girls, fast food and family, and a touch of pop culture, all delivered with ease. Enjoyed his youthful observations and am looking forward to seeing where he goes from here.
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