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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Read: Rhys Nicholson is one of the best comedians around

Homosexuality has long been a staple of comedy on television, film and stage. In the past it has often been derisive and stereotypical (think Mr Humphries in Are You Being Served?). Over the past couple of decades though, queer humour and characters have become more prominent and dare I say – more acceptable. 

This is especially true in stand-up comedy, and this years New Zealand International Comedy Festival had a slew of ‘rainbow’ performers.

One of the best is Australian Rhys Nicholson. I first saw him live (and interviewed him) in 2017 and was captivated by his boundless energy and razor sharp wit.

Last night, I saw him again, and he is still at the top. True, he brings with him a campy style that might be seen as stereotypic, but he is so genuinely funny that it doesn’t matter. 

In this show, Nicholson shared his angst over getting older. Now 29, the ‘non-age’ before the big 3-Oh, he’s finding hair growing in places it has never been before, such as his shoulders and nose. As an a-hem… slightly older man, I related to his pain. Just wait till he starts finding thick and ugly hairs growing all over his ears!

He reminisced about attending his 10 year high school reunion and how it is impossible now, in the age of Facebook, to lie about who you are and what you’ve done since graduating. His place of education in Adelaide was known as the ‘School of Poofs and Tarts’, and that he was bullied in a school that was itself being bullied. 

During his hour long set the stories and jokes came in rapid fire. Sick of hearing his dog referred to as a ‘fur baby’ he now calls children ‘skin pigs.’  He got a massive response to feedback from an English woman that was brutal towards him.

But the funniest moment came in recounting the night he accidentally took ketamine (a horse tranquilliser) he’d gotten from a drug-dealing drag queen.  

After outlining the time he discovered his mother had kept his baby teeth and some hair he went into the audience and met his match with a woman who had done just the same. It was a somewhat disturbing moment but great comedy. 

The entire hour flew by with many more anecdotes covering gay marriage, the dangers of wheat and the dodgy passion of parents in the 70s taking photos of babies in bathtubs.

Rhys Nicholson is easily one of the best and if you want to see him in Auckland this year, you have just one last chance on the 23rd May  – his other shows are sold out. 

Click here for bookings 

In 2017 Andrew Whiteside interviewed Rhys Nicholson – you can watch that interview here:


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