Avoid the tragedy – just make them laugh

COM­EDY FES­TI­VAL

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

For more than 30 years Clare Kelso has been think­ing on her feet, tip-toe­ing around sen­si­tive top­ics and mak­ing peo­ple laugh.

Ig­nor­ing the ‘‘too soon’’ fac­tor can quickly end a bright ca­reer, the Herne Bay come­di­enne says.

‘‘We’ve al­ways seen peo­ple come and go, and miss out, be­cause they’ve been over that line just too many times. Some­times I have to say to the ac­tors ‘ we do not make jokes about air­craft crash­ing into the sea’,’’ re­fer­ring to Malaysia Air­lines flight 370.

‘‘Woody Allen said ‘com­edy is tragedy plus time’ and he’s right. You could make jokes about that in five years’ time, some peo­ple make jokes about it in­stantly but that’s the trou­ble.’’

Kelso’s im­prov com­edy troupe ConArtists was founded 28 years ago and has be­come a fea­ture of the New Zealand com­edy cir­cuit.

‘‘I think the thing is you can be cheeky – we get away with jokes about Hitler some­times and things like that. Some­times we do walk that line very care­fully be­tween be­ing of­fen­sive, sex­u­ally or po­lit­i­cally, but I think that’s what makes us suc­cess­ful.’’

Mak­ing peo­ple feel spe­cial has mo­ti­vated her to stay in com­edy, as well as per­form­ing around the coun­try and at the NZ In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val which re­turns next month.

‘‘It’s a gift to work in any­thing, and it’s a real gift to work in com­edy. There’s noth­ing more fan­tas­tic than see­ing a whole lot of peo­ple come in, and they’re bring­ing in with them a day at work they hate – or they’ve had a fight with their part­ner, and just for­get­ting it for an hour or so, and just laugh­ing. There’s noth­ing bet­ter.’’

This year’s fes­ti­val will see ConArtists present two shows: Oliver Twisted and the re­turn of Sex, Lies and Im­pro­vise. Mem­bers of the au­di­ence will shout out sce­nar­ios for the cast of six to act out, Kelso says.

‘‘I mean, most peo­ple think that most of us go into com­edy be­cause of what we get out of it. We do get stuff out of it, no­body’s deny­ing that, but to see what the au­di­ence gets out of it is a true joy.

‘‘For a minute it’s like get­ting mar­ried – it makes the per­son in the au­di­ence feel spe­cial for a while.’’

Takes guts: Herne Bay’s Clare Kelso says walk­ing the line be­tween funny and ‘‘too soon’’ has seen her im­prov com­pany ConArtists en­joy a long and suc­cess­ful run.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to watch the ConArtists im­prov crew per­form.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.