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Friday, 4 May 2012

Jan Maree On Croatia, Comedy & Hair Problems

Just a quick introduction about a comedian hailing from New Zealand with Croatian in her background. Much better than the supposedly funny "popsick" vids I've come across, which just make me kind of want to just start masterbating to pics of bikini soccer babes. (It's always good to know the plumbing is working fine and that there are no issues with pressure or leaking or erectability etc, one always sleeps better too knowing the plumbing is good to go when it's required)  Click onto the links to see when this award winning comedian from down under may be visiting a club near you...


Jan Maree's hairy escapades 


Jan Maree's life is in her suitcase. The New Zealand comic has moved out of her house in Hamilton, sold her possessions and says she's enjoying travelling light.

"I'm quite comfortable that I don't have a great choice in outfits. It cuts down the prep time everyday," she quips.

It's been quite a year for the comedian, who's been described as a chauvinist's nightmare. She was the first female comedian to win New Zealand's highest accolade, the Fred Award, for her 2011 show Fever Bitch. She used the $3,000 prize to help fund some travel to Indonesia and Europe and ending in Melbourne for the Comedy Festival.

Her new show - Hairy Today, Gone Tomorrow - chronicles Maree's travels as well as her attempt to connect with her roots as the daughter of a "Croatian and Kiwi girl from Central Otago."

"For me, this show is about going to Croatia and the hairy escapades along the way. I don't have a problem with the audience hearing what really happens to me. I get great delight out of hearing people laugh at those things out of recognition. I'm not talking about anything that's not in the realms of any New Zealander, because we are all from somewhere else.

"I've wanted to write a travel show for 10 years, but I figured don't force it. The nice thing is I've finally managed to do that and it has a greater meaning than just some joke, which is what I always try and do with my shows."

While in Croatia she visited her grandfather's birthplace, Mala Duba. He died when she was 14 and was the last member of her family that spoke Croatian.

"There was a lot of mirth and misadventure to do with not being fluent in the language. I thought with some basic phrases I had, I would be sweet. But it turns out - not so much."

"People from that part of Europe are naturally passionate, as you can hear I'm shouting down the phone at you, but it's actually my natural talking voice."

She frequently peppers the conversation with witty asides.

"I don't know how easy it is to learn a language at 38 - What did you say Jan? 38? I know, but I don't look it - I don't know how easy it is to learn more conversational Croatian, but I'm going to give it a go."

Maree has been in the comedy industry for 17 years and, up until recently, had not planned on performing in the UK.

Her company, MX: the Jan Maree eXperience, tours comedians throughout the North Island and was recognised with the President's Trophy for services to comedy in 2009. She also won the best female comedian award and best show at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in the same year, cementing her status.

HAIRY ESCAPADES: New Zealand comic Jan Maree's new show Hairy Today, Gone Tomorrow chronicles her travels to find her Croatian roots.

"I really love New Zealand and I always thought I could carve out enough of a career here to keep me satisfied in my craft. Moving from Wellington to Auckland was a big change, then moving to Hamilton to work for breakfast radio was another. You go through changes in life and then it hit me and I needed a fresh challenge."

Maree performed at the Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden, London and then travelled to Edinburgh to do a show at The Stand.

"I thought this is it. You've got one chance, make it count. After my gig, the booker [at The Stand] came up to me and invited me back in July."

Maree will perform around England for three months before travelling to Indonesia to do a gig there for the first time.

The comedian said she was heartened to see more female comics rising through the ranks.

"I've never believed it was harder to be a female on stage. If anything, I've always tried to view it as a more positive thing simply because there is usually one girl in the line up and five guys, which means you have the opportunity to be the superstar.

"It's like when you have five jelly beans and one chocolate. Jelly beans are good, but chocolate it totally better and the chocolate one will always stick out."


Jan Maree performs in Wellington tonight and tomorrow at the Fringe Bar and in Auckland from May 15 to 19 at Vault at Q.

More information

Sexy Bitch Cook Comedy Night: Mad Jan's May Mini Fest!


Featuring the HOTTEST Faces Never Before Seen at The Cook!
John Carr (NZ) :: Rob Callaghan (UK)
Mark Scott (NZ) :: Alan McElroy (IRE)

And Jan Maree is home from Melbourne with new stories to tell...and a DVD to sell!

Hello to you good laughers of The Waikato!

So it would appear May is a month for laughs, the NZ International Comedy Festival is on right now, and in the spirit of a festival I have enlisted the services of four hot acts who have never played at The Cook Comedy NIght before! Alan and I were in Melbourne, he sold out every night of his show, and this is where the idea was born to bring a bunch of funny folk down to showcase the funny future of Kiwi comedy. Rob has been on the scene for a while and is the host of the popular Titters Comedy Club in West Auckland, John Carr is a gangster rapper in a mature man's clothing and Mark Scott will have you hooting with his love ballads on the guitar!

Also this month it is tiem to get your hands on my DVD. Yes finally it is for sale, $25 each, but as a special offer for Cook Comedy fans: get a copy for only $15 by saying the safe word: BANANA. ONLY Cook Comedy Mailing LIst members will be offered this super low's cos I love y'all.

The Door Prize: One lucky audience member will win a CRYWANK PACK: a copy of the DVD, a bottle of red wine, and all the things you need to make my delicious cheese and onion toasties.

As it goes we have had a massive response to this month's show, so if you have your tickets you are one of the lucky ones, as we are sold out to capacity (we may be able to squeeze in a couple of people on the door but you will have to be in quick...doors open at 6.30pm).

However, Cook Comedy NIght is monthly, and you will be able to book for June 14th's show as of this Friday morning. June's show will be my last for a few months while I head back to the UK to work... And it is the radio voice showcase, with the super funny Time Batt who is one half of the genius that is The Matt Heath Drive Show, afternoons on Hauraki, and Cook favourite, man of a thousand voices Simon McKinney, who also happens to be the voice of Four.

See you soon and GO CHIEFS!


Comedy Festival Q&A - Jan Maree



We catch up with Jan Maree before her New Zealand comedy festival show starts......


So tell us what your show is called this year?

Hairy Today, Gone Tomorrow!


Because I am Croatian and thus hairy, and because I went on a big travel binge last year which included Croatia.

Can you give us a few hints as to what broadly your festival show is about?

Being hairy and travelling.

How much time have you spent crafting the show over the past 12 months since the end of the last festival?

I started writing a travel show about ten years ago, which never happened so there are aspects of that show, a particularly harsh World Cup story from 2007, as well as newer stuff which I have been working on since July/August last year. I started working with (director and dramaturge and all round amazing lady) Katrina Chandra in February so quite a bit of work has gone in so far.

The comedy festival is turning 20 this year - what were you doing 20 years ago?

I was training to be a teacher at Wellington College of Education, performing poetry at Kiwi Poets' Pub on Cuba St and I think you'll find I did my first stand-up gig twenty years ago.

The Comedy festival is all about the camaraderie too - is there anyone you're looking forward to seeing over here either socially or on stage?

Marcel Lucont on stage will be the bomb, I can't wait!! My old pals from the UK Janey Godley and Sam Wills will be over, yay! I have been sharing a venue with Gordon Southern here (at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival) so will be super cool to be able to hang with him at home too. Anil Desai is here, Trygve and Barney from the show Constantinople are too, and they are all coming across so again will be a bonus to have more time to spend with them all. NZICF will also be a good opportunity to see some pals closer to home that I've not seen for a while; Dai Henwood and Justine Smith, Jamie Bowen and of course my old pal Brendhan Lovegrove.

What's the comedy scene like at the moment who do you rate and why?

NZ Comedy is having a rebirth at the moment thanks to an awful lot of panel comedy on telly; the punters love it and thus comedy has become very much top of mind again which benefits us all when it comes to selling live shows. As far as the recession goes, I think it has made people more discerning with their discretionary money but at the end of the day they are still up for a laugh: perhaps more than ever!

We think comedy, we think Heckling so, best tip for dealing with the hecklers? And has a heckler ever bested you?

No heckler has ever bested me. It's simple. A withering line (I have a particularly good one) will do the trick. Put them down and move on. The one thing that makes me cringe is when I see comedians constantly calling back to the heckler; gah! Leave them alone and get back to the gags!!!

When we say New Zealand International Comedy Festival to you, what's the first thing you think of?


How would you persuade people to come and see your show?

I was the first woman to win NZICF's highest award The Fred in 2011. I am funny as hell. This new show is honest and witty and gritty and real. I challenge stereotypes, lifestyles and reasons for being. I pull no punches, what you see is what you get. I will not add you to a mailing list, as a friend on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. I promise I'll not harass you forever after. Life's short, don't be a dick. See this show. Feel better.

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