There was an embarrassment of comedy riches on the streets of Auckland last night in the final week of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
From TapeFace, to Eli Matthewson, Raybon Khan to The Big Show, there was plenty of choice. Some would even say you were spoiled for choice.
One of those at Q Theatre (well, Vault at Q to be more precise) was UK comic Dan Nightingale. He was last here back in 2009, and by all accounts had a good time.
Self announcing himself on stage (Austin Powers, much?) Dan set the tone for his time on stage by urging the audience to "Pretend like you know who I am" before ambling onto the stage. The lighting at the Vault meant the entire room was on show to Dan - and I can't imagine anything worse for a performer.
But for Dan himself, it was like a moth to a flame.
However, I will say that's not bad news for the crowd or the front row, who to be fair, provide a lot of the impetus for Dan's show. Titled "On Life, On Love and On the North Island", it's a loose connection of themes from housemates, growing old, getting the horn from watching Nigella on TV and kids.
Yet, it's Dan's interplay with the audience which proved the real gem of the night, giving him a chance to ingratiate himself into our lives and hearts with a clever turn of phrase and some killer one liners (some of which appeared to simply be throwaway comments, which shone in brilliance - and occasionally went over the heads of some of the audience) Quick as a flash, some of the self deprecation yielded much mirth - "I'm not a smackhead - you can tell by the weight" was one of my favourite throwaway moments.
Dan's not a confrontational comic by any means - in fact, his mocking of an audience member's old style non-Smartphone showed he had material to use for whatever situation arose. He grooms the audience for mirth and merriment and simply becomes a mate of yours just having a chat with a beer in hand.
With an ease of style and a sense of humour that's wicked, fast and funny, Dan shook off a slightly shaky start and delivered a set that was smart, clever and showed off superior intelligence. He's endearing, engaging and amusing - and a good choice for an hour of your time as the New Zealand Comedy Festival draws to a close.
Some people have a natural gift of the gab and just know how to tell a good story and Dan Nightingale certainly is one of them. His storytelling style is casual and conversational and his set feels more like you’re out at a bar having drinks with a good friend.
On Love, On Life and on the North Island is a collection of hilarious anecdotes and random musings from Dan’s life. He covers a range of topics from sharing about his Saturday mornings with Nigella to ranting about his maddening flatmate who has the nerve to eat the “bread defender” (the crust) to an amusing story involving his nephew’s unwavering commitment to singing carols.
It takes great skill to be able to deliver a string of ramblings in a way that it doesn’t appear too prepared but still forms a cohesive and compelling hour of stand up. Dan nails this perfectly; his material is well structured and cleverly written with some genius one liners, some of which are easily missed as they come up as mere fleeting remarks.
The thing I particularly enjoyed about this show was Dan’s boundless energy and jovial nature which I found to be extremely captivating. He comes across as genuinely personable which made the Vault at Q the ideal venue as it helped him to easily engage and form a great rapport with the audience.
Dan Nightingale’s observational humor is incredibly fast paced, deliciously self-deprecating and highly entertaining. On Love, On Life and on the North Island gives you plenty to laugh about and is the perfect mid-week comedy fix.
Dan Nightingale was a wonderful reprieve from the “Awkward Comedian”. His observational humor was honest and frank, and completely relatable. The venue – Q Vault – is an intimate space with limited seating which forces audience interaction. Whilst most would find this a tad intimidating, preferring to hide in the depths of a darkened crowd, you don’t need to worry. Dan’s interaction was inclusive and didn’t make you feel like the dick in the front row.
His musings on life were frank, and you really did find yourself nodding in agreement (or like me, staring down at your boyfriend as he laughed his ass off about quips relating to OCD and general cleanliness). We learned a lot about Dan’s awesome granddad and the way he saw himself ageing. Dan’s thoughts on love were bounced to the audience through recounts of his interactions with his nephew, and it was hard not to feel for him during poignant awww moments. Then he’d break that tension with a reminder that everything is fine as long as you’ve got a drink in your hand and a mate to laugh with.
All in all, a fantastic show akin to a night out on the piss with your best mate. You really do end up feeling like Dan is your most tragic, endearing and lovable best friend. Highly recommended, go and check him out!
As the lights dimmed at the Cavern Club last night, I bet my husband $10,000 that the bespectacled lad nursing a beer at the table behind us was comedian Dan Nightingale. "No way," he said, sneaking a look back. "That definitely won't be him."
It's a pity we share a bank account that's already severely depleted, or I'd be halfway to Vegas right now. Quicker than you could say "Alright, mate?" Nightingale, the lad at the table, was the guy on the stage. Armed with an Amstel Light (we won't judge him for his choice of beer) his relaxed pace and I'm-one-of-your-mates style had the audience with him right from the start.
The Cavern Club is cosy, and there's always the possibility of awkwardness in such a small venue. Instead, Nightingale had us in stitches with his wry observations on everything from the misplaced morning-after invincibility brought on by Jagerbombs to flatting, singledom and getting old.
His recollections of attempts to answer the "Why?" questions of his young nephew were giggle-worthy, as was his plan to defy age by laying down some Roni Size at his 90th birthday.
Some of the funniest interactions were with the audience - a man seated at a table who wouldn't turn the whole way around during the set became his nemesis, a woman who wouldn't give her name - "it doesn't matter" - was a fatalist, and a guy who wouldn't stop talking was characterised as an oversharer.
His energy combined with a good mix of storytelling and the odd one-liner meant the set flew past - and we all wanted to be mates with him at the end of it. Or at least buy him a proper beer.