7 Days comedy tourby Jon Bridges
Although I’m suspicious of anything being sold as “the new” something else, everyone knows comedy is the new rock’n’roll, so I was excitedly anticipating producing part of the recent 7 Days Live tour of the North Island.
So far, the tour had been a whirlwind of dangerous gigs in perilous destinations: Takapuna, Hamilton, Napier, Hamilton again. “Just try to come back alive,” sobbed my wife, as she kissed me goodbye. I vowed to record all that happened – bad, violent, illegal, incestuous – on our trip to Whanganui and Wellington. (To protect the outrageous, let me change the names of our antagonists: Hamwood, Hairley, Egg, Frigley and Crobott.)
The Koru Lounge is made for rock’n’roll. Two words: free beer. I tell the guys I’m writing a column about being on tour with comedians, so can they please do some interesting and funny, quotable stuff. Crobott immediately tips over a chair. It’s all on. The woman at the counter looks over at us and he very quickly
rights it. The others go quiet. He has crossed a line between joke and vandalism.
Hamwood, Hairley and Egg shake their heads and take another sip of their ginger beer. It is 10.45am and the carnage has started. Watch out, Whanganui!
As the plane lands, the guys play the countdown game. You have to count aloud from 10 and try to time it so you say “one” exactly as the wheels hit the tarmac.
There ensues a loud chorus of out-of-step counting – like a tuneless round. It’s as if they don’t care what anyone else thinks. I feel as if I’m part of a revolution where we are really sticking it to the squares. Yeah, tell the Establishment it can count us out!
Next morning in the lobby of our Whanganui hotel, the comedians gather.
They are all there right on time – early even, despite having had only about five hours’ sleep. Frigley says his room smells like chicken because they bought a roast chicken after the gig and devoured it in his room. “Carnage?” I ask expectantly. “We didn’t throw the TV out the window, but we did throw the remaining chicken in the rubbish bin carefully,” says Hairley, helping me lift the heavy gear into the van. Egg tells me he bought
some blue cheese, which he shared with the others. I wink, “Do you mean marijuana hash or something?”, but he says, “It was roquefort.”
I feel short-changed. I should have had to drag them out of their rooms, paying the hookers to go home and keep quiet.
Strictly speaking, one of them should have been arrested or dead. I take a breath. I can’t expect them all to be perfect. The only one who was late was the sound man; let’s call him Jomes. Jomes plays in a band, so he knows how to behave on tour. And even though he’s only five minutes late getting in the van, his hair is quite messy and I make a big fuss of him, throwing the comedians a glance, as if to say, “Why can’t you be more like him?”
As we drive to the airport to catch the red-eye to Wellington, there’s a lot of funny talk about how it would be more interesting if we were actually flying on a big red eye. I’m not laughing.
The Wellington gig goes smoothly. No police. Nobody gets stabbed, pregnant or syphilis. The hotel thanks us for our business. I write a memo giving the tour a 9/10 for comedy and for rock’n’roll a generous 0. Perhaps I just struck a bad batch of comedians, but I’m starting to suspect the people who say comedy is the new rock’n’roll are comedians talking to women in bars late at night (by “bars” I mean dairies, and by “late at night” I mean eight o’clock).
Yes, when 7 Days tours you’d better lock up your daughters, New Zealand, but only those ones who have actually been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a period of imprisonment.
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