Ben brings the laughs

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With people like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson dominating the headlines, and global politics, you might think comedians would be over the moon.

According to Kiwi funnyman Ben Hurley, you’d be wrong.

“The President of the United States is stranger than fiction, and people often say, ‘oh, it must be great having Trump as President because he’s just a gift to comedians’.

“And we go, ‘he’s not really’, because nothing you could write is ever as insane as what actually happens.’’

Hurley’s in Queenstown tonight, along with fellow comedians Brendhan Lovegrove and Paul Douglas, for the Comedy Gold night at SkyCity.

He says the material he writes for his stand-up gigs tends to be personal, rather than political — and no two shows are the same.

“I just tell stories and keep it quite silly.’’

He’s performed in Queenstown “dozens of times’’ over the years, often as part of Winter Festival.

He likens the local crowds to those he’s performed for in London.

“You get a good mix of locals and international visitors.’’

Hurley’s also been a staple of Kiwi TV screens since topical comedy show 7 Days launched about a decade ago — shortly after he returned to New Zealand after four years on the UK comedy circuit.

“That used to be the path if you wanted to move on, you had to go overseas, to kind of make a living,’’ he says.

“The UK circuit was so lucrative and they quite like Kiwis, at one time there were about six or eight of us doing the circuit.

“It’s sort of kicked off since then, with Flight of the Conchords, and Rhys Darby and Rose [Matafeo] have all become famous, and famous in America as well.’’

He says shows like 7 Days, for which he’s a writer and frequent star, have helped give Kiwi comedy a bigger platform.

“When I started, comedy was very fringy, it was cool and it had a cult following, but what 7 Days did was bring that into the mainstream and make everyday NZers see how funny our comedy can be.

“It was in people’s lounges every Friday night for the first time.’’

– DAISY HUDSON

To catch Ben Hurley, head to SkyCity, tonight, 7pm, tickets $20