Let's face it - masks, while essential, are a barrier to communication. Especially if you are trying to make someone laugh.
But Arno Bosman's mask - a caricature of a super amused person, had this reporter laughing at first glance. However, Bosman, a Palmerston North public servant, hopes it's what comes out his mouth that gets people convulsing with laughter.
Bosman recently completed The Comedy Hub's Introduction to Stand-Up Comedy course, run over four Sundays. He says it was jam-packed with all aspects of comedy and students prepared material to deliver to the class, then gave their first performance in front of a crowd. The course provided a safe space to ask questions and receive feedback.
Bosman was encouraged to do the course by three of his male colleagues who are all members of The Comedy Hub.
In August, he made his debut at the hub's Fresh & Funny Open Mic Comedy night and returned for his second round last Thursday.
For last week's six-minute set he spoke about beer, following advice it's best to talk about things you know. He's an avid brewer and told a story about how beer led to him being arrested for taking an Eftpos machine hostage.
The father of two has found it helpful to run his material past fellow comedians, saying everyone is in it for the same purpose - getting laughs.
"No one goes to watch someone fail and it's a very supportive community."
He learnt from a young age he could make people laugh by telling a story. "I've always enjoyed having a yarn while having a beer around the barbie."
He grew up in a blended family and is the youngest of five, with an 11-year gap between himself and his next sibling.
He also learnt a lot about storytelling from his father as he listened to his dad entertaining mates. "He's a brilliant salesman and people person."
Bosman's professional background is people orientated, including working as a recruitment consultant. His job was to make people feel comfortable talking about their employment within a short time so he needed to quickly build rapport.
"I enjoy spending time with people making them feel comfortable."
Bosman used to be a member of Toastmasters and one year made it all the way to the South African prepared speech national final.
Born in Johannesburg, Bosman was working and living in Cape Town before he emigrated.
Bosman and his family moved to Wellington five years ago and in December they will have been in Palmerston North two years.
Some of his favourite funny people are physical comedians, such as Englishman Lee Evans and American Bill Burr, "a master storyteller".
Arno is an Afrikaans name but English speakers tend to pronounce it "ah no". Ah no, it's Arno. Masked or not, Bosman is after your funny bone.
The Comedy Hub's next introductory course starts on October 24. See its Facebook page for details.
What: Fresh & Funny
When: Thursday, October 21, 7.30pm
Where: Globe Theatre
Tickets: $5 at the door