Review: Stand-Up Aotearoa's night of laughs and lockdown jokes to celebrate essential workers

Stand up comedians from across the country gathered at Auckland’s SkyCity Theatre on a Sunday for a night of laughs and more than a few lockdown jokes as they celebrated the frontline staff who helped get the country through the Covid-19 pandemic.

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They gave our unsung heroes a big night to unwind and have a laugh. Source: Seven Sharp

Host Urzila Carlson, wearing a cat onesie, kicked off the comedy event by revealing her recent discovery during the coronavirus lockdown that we “only have 20 hours of love for our families”.

Carlson played the perfect host during the two-and-a-half-hour show, with her multiple outfit changes during the night - representing the four stages of lockdown - getting its own special mention.

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NZ's best comedians put on night of sidesplitters to audience of essential workers

The first half saw local acts and their take on the Covid-19 lockdown - including a brilliant Dr Ashley Bloomfield impression by James Nokise - before veering into more pressing matters, such as Ben Hurley on threatening fax messages; Ray O’Leary and his take on Berocca, a “disappointing Fanta”; and Chris Parker on sponsoring straight people for their Rhythm and Vines tickets.

The standout from the first half was hilarious pop duo Two Hearts, who had the audience whip out their phones to scan a QR code before delivering hilarious numbers on baby boomers and climate change, back when the environment was the world’s main problem.

Two Hearts. Source: Seven Sharp

After a lot of clapping for the magic of television, the second half of the show opened with Justine Smith, who went into Kathmandu’s black puffer vests and takeaway coffee latte art.

Justine Smith. Source: Seven Sharp

The second half of the show also saw Eli Matthewson discuss working out and crockpots, while Guy Williams lamented the cancellation of his shows and the unoriginality of Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens’ (Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard.

Guy Williams. Source: Seven Sharp

The crowd became notably rowdy as comedian Pax Assadi recalled doing a gig for the All Blacks and the time he offended their former captain, Kieran Read.

Melanie Bracewell and Wilson Dixon - complete with cowboy hat and shades - also had the audience in stitches during the show’s second half.

However, it was Paul Ego who generated the most laughs of the night with his set about the joy of raising boys and underwear helmets.

Comedian Rhys Darby closes the show. Source: Seven Sharp

After several hours and more clapping, the night ended on a high note with “New Zealand comedy royalty”’s Rhys Darby, who brought back 1972 war comedy-drama TV series MASH on the kazoo.