Monday, June 12, 2017

White Man Behind A Desk

The comedy festival is over, but parts of it keep popping up for a second go. White Man Behind A Desk won the best newcomer (Wellington) award, and as such was given a second run at a larger venue. One of my colleagues had seen the show during the festival and recommended it, so when I saw it was on at Circa, I booked tickets.

And a good job I did, as this run was also sold out in pretty short order.

A half past seven start gave us plenty of time to explore dining options, and those nice people at GrabOne duly obliged by promoting a special offer at Pravda, which we took full advantage of. We then walked down the road to Circa, arriving just in the nick of time to claim our seats.

White Man Behind A Desk is a satirical show, where Robbie Nicol attempts to solve some of the problems facing New Zealand, and the world. At first we thought it was going to be a right-on, tedious, leftie actually attempting do this, but he very quickly subverts the genre. He sits behind a desk and talks to camera, which is then projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. The first problem to be solved, as a warm-up for the audience, is World Hunger. “What should we do about world hunger?” he asked the audience. “Food?” came a querulous reply. “FOOD! Yes! Problem solved!” and the post-it note with World Hunger on it was quickly dispatched to the dustbin labelled “Solved”.

The show is managed by the First AD with a rod of iron. He is of a type that is probably familiar to all who work in TV or film, and really doesn’t give a shit what Robbie says or does as long as he does it from the right place. At one point, Robbie tries to get the cameraman to film, and 1st AD comes down on him hard. “You don’t tell him when to roll. I tell him when to roll”. Looks at cameraman. “…roll”.

The show descends into farce when their first special guest is a no-show, but fortunately they have a back-up in the form of Gareth Morgan. Morgan is world-famous in New Zealand for his opinions about cats. After some failed attempts at how to film him in the same frame as Robbie, he’s left standing on his own on the stage whilst Robbie goes out to try and find a chair for him. They play Pictionary. Robbie wins.

The rest of the show rapidly gets out of hand as they run out of time and realise that they haven’t actually solved any issues yet. Robbie starts handing out topics to various members of the audience and gets them to record their discussions on their phones. As you can imagine, this is somewhat chaotic and leads to the end of the show. I won’t spoil the surprise.

You can see the sort of things that he discusses on the Youtubes here: 

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