“For so long comedy has been seen as one of the lower art forms, crowd pleasing, unrefined, bawdy cheap laughs. I think what we have witnessed in recent years in New Zealand, and now in my experience traveling overseas too, is something of a comedy renaissance. Platforms given to those who have been too often marginalized. Empowered with a microphone and their weapons (jokes) to speak their power, their experience to an audience. Be it James Nokise’s brilliant Fred Award winning show for 2019, Rose Matafeo winning the Edinburgh Comedy Prize or the streak of brilliant young women winning the Raw Comedy Quest. Simply put, comedy creates space for artists who are often rejected by more refined art spheres. This is why the New Zealand International Comedy Festival is a critical moment in New Zealand’s art calendar.
For example, my first solo show in the Festival was in 2015, it was called No More Dancing in the Good Room, and performed for a week in the Basement Studio to 60 people a night. Within 4/5 years I have managed to grow into Basement Theatre downstairs (120 cap), to Q Loft (158), to eventually performing this year on Q Theatre’s Rangatira mainstage. Of course none of this would have happened without the Comedy Fest Team.”
– Chris Parker, 2019
Chris Parker is a professional comedian and writer, whose relationship with the New Zealand Comedy Trust started in 2014, when he received the Creative Comedy Initiative Grant. He was awarded $5000, as well as support in the form of a producer, photoshoot, and budgeting advice, and with it made No More Dancing In The Good Room, a sell-out show that he has toured around the country. He was awarded the Best Newcomer Award in the 2014 Festival for the show, and has performed a solo Festival show every year since.
In 2017, the NZ Comedy Trust invited him to speak in their annual Festival show, Dialogue. That year’s show was centred on “Identity”, and gave Chris the opportunity to develop an idea for a short piece within a two-day workshop facilitated by comedy greats Jesse Griffin and Jackie Van Beek. After Dialogue, he continued to work on the ideas he had developed in the process, turning it into Camp Binch, his 2018 NZICF solo show. Camp Binch went on to win him the prestigious Fred Award for Best New Zealand Show in the Festival.
By 2018, just 4 years after winning Best Newcomer, Chris was the Head Writer for THREE’s Jono and Ben, as well as an established performer and writer of comedy.