Comedy Fest Review: Maeve Higgins and Jarlath Regan

By Jacqueline Smith

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Maeve Higgins. Photo / Supplied
Maeve Higgins. Photo / Supplied

If the rule of comedy is that you have to round off every joke you start then Maeve Higgins breaks it every time.

Her little Irish tales take the audience on long elaborate, hysterical journeys and then leave them lingering, as she starts another, seemingly unrelated thread. I don't think we ever found out why she wanted to have a black dress to wear to dinner parties. But there were plenty of repeatable quips; her unique "bovine" take on joining Weightwatchers and her questioning of the phrase "what am I like".

Being motormouthed, a bit airy-fairy and of course Irish, it was a good "ting" she took us on an accent workshop (sponsored by Alicia Keys) at the start of the show, even though it didn't really matter what she was saying - her little Irish country nurse face and "peow", "boof" sound-effects were hilarious-enough on their own.

As the show progressed even the moments of silence spurred sounds of sides splitting in the audience - this was when after several particularly long-winded tales, Higgins consulted her exercise book to bring her back on track.

It was a charmingly awkward show performed in the way a small child might deliver their biography, only these were clever anecdotes subtly musing the silliness of life that she had compiled over her 29 years.

Higgins apologised for the shambles - and for her shiny face and dry teeth - but her audience, some wiping tears of laughter, didn't mind one bit.

The other diddlidee comedian of the night was Jarlath (it seems this is pronounced "Ja") Regan, who performed before Maeve upstairs at The Classic.

He is a gentle Irishman with a tuneful voice and the sort of clean-cut outfit you would like to parade in front of your mother. Affable, polite, he conversed well with his audience - to the embarrassment of the couple who insisted they were not together - and gave us a wee breakdown of his life so far, topped off with a few rules on nightclub etiquette.

Before comedy, Regan was a graphic designer, or so he claimed. His greeting cards "to fill a gap in the market", projected on the wall behind him were perhaps the most hilarious few minutes of the show because they were the most risque and appealed to the whole audience.

Otherwise his tales of the trials and tribulations of marriage struck a chord with just half the audience, while a pimp my ride gag was more for the other.

We did all appreciate the skilled toss-shoe-in-the-air-and-answer-it-like-a-telephone trick though.

Regan could be described as a charming chap who doesn't appear to have a bad cell in his body - he only swore once, and it appeared unintentional - but with that, he also lacks a bit of grit.

For the married people out there who like a polished set and clean shoes, his show is ideal for a wee tipple and giggle on a weeknight.

- NZ Herald

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