"Wear your adult nappies," advises comedian Urzila Carlson, implying they'll be needed by anyone attending her show.

Spend any amount of time talking to one of the stars of TV's 7 Days and you'll know why. Five minutes into our interview I was laughing. Ten minutes later, I was crossing my legs howling down the phone as she told me of her experiences getting to know the locals at dubious bars around the country.

The Hopt to it Comedy Grapevine Tour is her very first national tour - but she has done a lot of one-off gigs around the country.

"It's a bit like when you clean the house one room at a time. Well, this time I'm cleaning the whole house at once."


She has recently returned to the country after a series of sold-out shows in Asia and says generally Kiwi audiences are a relaxed bunch but she can't figure out why they seem almost scared of her.

I tell her it's because we think she'll put us in a headlock if we don't laugh.

"Yes, there is definitely a fear factor there, but I put that down to the South African accent," she says.

And the glare - she didn't mention her stony-faced glare.

We have no need to be fearful, however, because behind that killer look is a comedian out to show her audience the best time possible. Far from wanting them to be scared to sit in the front row, she says it's all about the laughs.

"I don't pick on my audience like some comedians. My mother had a bad time a long time ago being humiliated by a stand-up comedian and never went to another show until I started performing. If I ruined the show for someone, the poor bugger would just sit there and have a poor experience. My job is to lighten the mood, to make sure everyone has a great time."

So what's her trick to making us laugh? Like the best comedians, she often uses herself as the butt of her own jokes and says we all could do with laughing at ourselves more.

SPEC LAUGHS: Steve Wrigley joins Urzila Carlson and Steve Rado on the Comedy Grapevine Tour. Photo/supplied
SPEC LAUGHS: Steve Wrigley joins Urzila Carlson and Steve Rado on the Comedy Grapevine Tour. Photo/supplied

"We people just need to take a deep breathe and not take things so seriously. Have a cup of tea and a sit down."


While 90 per cent of her material is about situations that she has found herself in, the reason she is the undisputed lioness of New Zealand comedy is because she talks about life's most mundane situations and in them we see not only her silliness but recognise the silliness in ourselves.

Carlson is joined on tour by Steve Wrigley and Nick Rado. 16+. Adult nappies necessary.

the fine print
What: Hopt to it Comedy Grapevine Tour 2015
Where: Baycourt Theatre
When: Thursday, 1 October, 8pm
Tickets: www.ticketdirect.co.nz .Adult - $40.50, Students: $34.50, Concession - $34.50