Comedy fest review: Lucy Roche & Ray O’Leary in Young, dumb and full of comedy

Lucy Roche and Ray O’Leary are a couple of NZ comics on the up and up. Lucy won the National Raw Comedy Quest in 2016 and Ray was a Billy T Award nominee last year. They both have a solid resume of shows and experience but there’s still a bit of work to be done.

Their show is a standard two person show, each comic having approximately 30 minutes on stage. Ray is the opener and he’s slow to warm into it. His shtick is one of a slow drawl, an unthreatening guy with a whip-smart brain. His earlier material plays in some very safe spaces and one joke in particular is very reminiscent of an extended Glenn Wool bit. I don’t believe that Ray for a moment lifted the gag but more that the material doesn’t present us with any new ideas.

As he warms up though, he starts veering into the political and gets a bit edgy and it’s at this part that he really lifts his game. When I say edgy, I don’t mean he’s offensive for the sake of being offensive but he tackles some touchy subjects but does them very well for someone who hasn’t been doing comedy long, it could be because his demeanour is so unthreatening that it works well. Usually when a younger comic starts heading into politics and tough subjects the cringe is strong, but with Ray the material is strong. The audience started laughing a lot more and engaging with his act and he kept this momentum going all the way through the rest of his set. One of his last gags in particular showed a supreme mastery of using repetition to its absolute perfection.

If he can become the dry wit of NZ political comedy then he will have a huge future ahead of him and I think the potential is really there.

Lucy Roche is the second half of the show and it seemed like she was under-rehearsed.  There was an awful lot of eyes down and to the right which suggested she was either shy or looking at notes. Either way, a lot of her jokes which were genuinely good, didn’t quite land because she hadn’t built the connection with the audience.

There was also some confusion as to who Lucy Roche the comic was. She would vacillate between an air of superiority to someone completely subservient and without self-esteem. It was the superior Lucy who got the biggest laughs. When she put on airs and graces and told us she was better than us the audience really lifted. It’s a hard bit to pull off and can very easily slip into arrogance and unlikeability but the flashes of this that we saw from Lucy showed a deft touch. It would be great for her to focus on this persona instead of the one begging the audience to like her.

She also needs to work on her writing. Some of the material seemed to be incomplete thoughts rather than jokes or things to get the audience engaged and laughing.

These two are clearly talented comics and I’ve no doubt they’ll continue to improve – over the course of their season – and over the course of their careers.

Lucy Roche & Ray O’Leary in Young, dumb and full of comedy

Wellington, Cavern Club, May 1-5, 8.30pm

TICKET PRICES
Full Price $18
Concession $15
Group 6+ $14
Cheap Wednesday $14

Auckland, Cellar at Q Theatre, May 8-12, 8.45pm

TICKET PRICES
Full Price $18
Concession $15
Group 6+ $14
Cheap Wednesday $14

 

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