REVIEW: James Roque is Chicken (Comedy Festival)

James Roque is Chicken

Clucking good fun [by Matt Baker]

James Roque is Chicken

“What do I really wanna say that I’m afraid to say?” In his eulogy for George Carlin, Louis CK noted that what made the late comedian better every year was his constant digging deeper for new material; from jokes about airplanes and dogs, to feelings and who you are, to fears and nightmares. With that in mind, 21 year old comedian James Roque dive bombs into the deep end by confronting his greatest fears in his Auckland Comedy Festival stand-up show.

Broken into three segments of increasingly fearful categories, Roque presents himself as the archetypal self-deprecating Kiwi, which induces just the right amount of empathy from his audience. The result is that said audience sticks with him unreservedly for the duration of the show. Roque addresses the fear induced by potential fights, his Fillipino heritage, Rainbow’s End, and other common – and not so common – phobias, but there is nothing negative about the way in which he engages with his topics.

The odd expletive aside (with which I had no problem), Roque is a good, clean comedian with an affable on-stage quality. He’s the funny guy in your group of friends who doesn’t make you feel belittled when he one-ups your joke with a witty one-liner. Not only that, he represents an authentic New Zealand identity without becoming trapped in its limitations. If Louis CK’s observation of George Carlin is correct, I can only wait with bated breath for Roque’s next show.

James Roque is Chicken played as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival at Brooklyn Bar and Lounge 7-11 May. 

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