Ben hurls over Queenstown


Comic Ben Hurley reckons you’re lucky to survive a flight to Queenstown.

Travelling in an Airbus A320 with mountains on either side, the Kiwi comic says he holds his breath until he hits the tarmac. But, he says, the scary flight’s worth it.

Which might explain if the North Island funnyman is slightly red-faced this Saturday.

Hurley – accompanied by Nick Gibb, Tom Furniss and Justine Smith – plays Queenstown Memorial Centre for Queenstown Primary School’s fundraiser Night of Laughs.

Hurley describes the resort as a ridiculous place. He’s never met a real Queenstowner – and thinks it might be a myth.

“Just like no one’s actually from Vegas,” he laughs.

Considered a comedy circuit pro, Hurley cut his teeth in London and says it’s almost a rite of passage for comics his age.

The success of Flight of the Conchords and Brendhan Lovegrove internationally helped other Kiwis break into comedy in the United Kingdom.

The landscape is changing and Hurley thinks more Kiwis are opting to stay at home – and achieving similar success here.

“When I started, quite often there would be people in the audience who’d never been to a comedy gig ever.

“That’s very rare now. It’s part of our culture. The whole country is now accepting of comics.”

Growing up in Hawera, a town of 8000 people in Taranaki, he reckons a comic career wasn’t an option. He’s surprised he made it – and even more surprised he gets paid to tell jokes.

Coming up with new material is tough and it’s something that worries most of his counterparts.

He tests new stuff on open mic nights to gauge the reaction.

“For me it’s the only way. Some people can write a show and just do it. I can’t. I’m not a comic that goes word for word.

“I try to go off an idea and improvise it into a skit. Everyone has their own method.”

Hurley says it can be annoying in social situations as people expect him to be funny. That’s when he gets his back up and does the exact opposite – making sure he is dry in his sense of humour.

He’s full of praise for his fellow comics. Their differences will make the night more interesting, he says.

“Justine is great and we are good friends. Nick is a very funny and clever man who managed to escape from Palmerston North and Tom is exceptionally talented and one of the hardest-working guys in show business at the moment.’’

Ben Hurley is joined by Justine Smith, Nick Gibb and Tom Furniss this Saturday, 7pm for Queenstown Primary School Night of Laughs at Queenstown Memorial Centre. Tickets $55, proceeds to Queenstown Primary School. R18.