Twenty minutes before the beginning of the Bears Comedy Night the foyer bar area of The Classic on Auckland's Queen Street was packed, with more people gathered out the front of the building.
In fact, the show, my first exposure to Bear comedy, had a bit of a delayed start to get everyone in. At 8:15 when it got under way, the venue was packed.
Neil Thornton, the night's MC, pointed out a table of eleven straight people who, after accidentally attending the show last year, had came back. He presented each of them with a âBig Gay Bagâ.
After a few taunts to the gathered bears for the previous nightâs shenanigans at the Underbear Party, The Fan Brigade took to the stage./ This duo consists of Kiwis Amanda Kennedy and Livi Mitchell. Performing satirical songs on the topics of cricket, diamonds, and bathroom sex the duo had the crowd enthralled by a hilariously political and social commentary.
Next u was Savanna Calton, not on the original line-up list, but a spectacular surprise. Taking the piss out of being a female comedian, a new vegan and the antics of being a barista, Calton, a co-winner of the 2015 Raw Comedy Quest, was truly a great act to witness
For the last performance of the first half, David Correos came on, auspiciously in yellow gloves, and with a promise that âthis shits going to get weirdâ. After a few witty lines about his Filipino ancestry and his inability to make friends, he goes onto give us an example of âpeacockingâ. After dosing himself in a near full can of lynx body spray, a chicken nugget necklace, and red and blue face paint liberally smeared on - hence the need for the gloves - he stripped down to his underwear and paraded and danced through the audience to Gangnam Style. Truly a stand out of the show, Correos certainly left an impression, with MC Thornton later later commenting that 90% of the audience found it the funniest thing of the show and 10% were still wondering what on earth it was.
After a brief intermission the much gayer content took to the stage.
James Mustapic, a Raw Comedy Quest Finalist in 2016, performed a quieter, subtler form of comedy than we had experienced before the break. A self-deprecating style of comedy, we heard about his âdaddy issuesâ and the âjoysâ of being âvery very much aloneâ.
The final act, and most recognisable of the night was Eli Matthewson, engaging in âgay humourâ, he poked fun at Grindr and âdic picsâ, the horror of natural disasters especially when trapped out on a hook-up and having to explain that you're safe, just not at home right now.
Overall the night was terrific. The
line-up was simply brilliant with a wide range of comedic styles, and content that was accessible to everyone. It was good to see the
audience fully engaged for the entire time and Thorntonâs MCing
brought everything together into a cohesive whole. The overall aesthetic and
vibe was something that could only be achieved in a comedy hall full of bears,
with the âROARing of laughterâ.
- Cody Ward