Virgin comic breaks duck

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It’s Thomas Brinsley’s first outing as a stand-up comic – and the local lad will warm up a Winter Festival crowd for some of New Zealand’s top comedians. 

Brinsley, 23, is just about wetting his pants over opening for famous funny-folk Brendhan Lovegrove, Jeremy Corbett, Michelle A’Court, Jeremy Elwood and Paul Ego. 

“I’m terrified,” he tells Mountain Scene. 

Manager Justin Eden got him the gig, Brinsley says. 

“I didn’t even know he was my manager, he just took it on himself. I think he got hold of Festival organiser Simon Green – maybe some kind of bribe’s involved.” 

Stand-up is different to other performing arts, Brinsley says. 

“You can’t rehearse for it and there’s nowhere to hide – if it bombs, it bombs.” 

His own all-time favourite comedy act is the late American Bill Hicks – “He was unconventional and pushed the boundaries a lot.” 

So will Brinsley during his Winter Festival gig, it seems. 

“I like the fact it’s an R18 gig – I can use most of my material.”

… and first fest for top funnygirl too

She’s New Zealand’s Best Female Comedian 2010 – but she’s never been to Queenstown before. 

Urzila Carlson, 35, says she jumped at the chance to appear at two Winter Festival comedy gigs: “It’ll be my first trip and I’ve never seen snow in my life.” 

After a career in advertising, she stumbled into stand-up two years ago – and the gigs keep coming. 

“People just keep booking me – every time I get booked, I’m surprised.” 

NZ’s comedy crew are a close-knit lot, Carlson says: “There’s no bitchiness, we’re all friends.” 

She recognises that she’s quite junior on the Queenstown bill “and I understand that I’ll be opening”. 

South African-born Carlson won’t typecast her comedy style: “I just tell stories and hope to hell it works – and so far it has.”