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Comedy Club hits milestone

By's Darren Bevan

Published: 3:49PM Wednesday September 29, 2010

The Classic Comedy Club in Auckland has been the training ground for many of New Zealand's top comedians, including Flight Of The Conchords, Rhys Darby and Ben Hurley.

Its owner Scott Blanks has seen the best and the worst come through the doors and take the stage in front of an often discerning crowd.

This year is the Club's 13th anniversary and to mark the occasion,'s Darren Bevan asked Blanks 13 questions to celebrate 13 years in the business.

So 13 years, happy birthday - what's the best joke (relatively clean) you've heard on the stage at the Comedy Club?
The best joke? That Michael Laws has a valid opinion and makes a worthwhile contribution to broadcasting.

What's the secret of running a successful comedy club?
Watch the audiences and not the comedians. Let the people decide who is funny or not.

Have you ever been tempted to try 13 minutes of stand-up on the stage?
Tempted? Yes. But my lovely wife, Bridget, who has to listen to all my jokes, would rather not rely on my talents as a comedian to provide for the family.

Would you manage the full 13 minutes?
I suspect not because, after 13 years of watching everything, my ideas tend to be very naughty. A step too far some would say. I might survive 13 minutes but the audience probably wouldn't.

What advice would you give to budding comics these days?
Don't try and re-invent the wheel. Watch as much live comedy as possible (not DVDs) and learn from other people's success and their mistakes. 

What's been the best gig over the past 13 years?
Too many to name - but probably one of the Festival Late & Lives hosted by Phil Nichol would stand out.

What's been the best piece of advice you've either given or received over the past 13 years?
Pay for your own drinks, even if you are the boss. To the comedians I always say "Don't give up your day job...ever".

Did you know within 13 minutes whether the Classic would be a success?
13 minutes? It took about 5 years to work out if The Classic was going to last. Recently I finished my 10 year plan which is proving a bit redundant.

If you ever get 13 minutes off (or more) from the club, how do you spend your time?
Reading silly stories to my baby son Nicholas.

Complete this sentence in 13 words - A Night out at the Classic is&
Unique. The only fulltime, world class, live comedy club in New Zealand. Our home (erm, that's 14 words)

It's roughly 13 weeks till Christmas/summer break, how will the Classic be spending the festive season this year?
Entertaining an ever increasing number of corporate and social Christmas groups.

What's the plan for the next 13 months for the club?
If it is not broken don't try to fix it. We have a programme of live comedy that showcases New Zealand's best comedians and develops new talent attended by 1000s of punters. We won't be changing anything in a hurry.

Finally, name some - or 13 - new talents to keep an eye on over the coming months..
13 comedians? To start with check out our line-up on the Labour Weekend Showcase Oct 22 & 23 featuring MC, Ex-pat Kiwi comedian recently returned from the UK, Nick Rado -Plus a showcase of the New Pro comedians in 2010. Lewis Dean, Jayran Mansouri, Guy Williams, Alan McElroy, Sarah Harpur, Joseph Moore, Fasitua Amosa, John Carr,Sean Downie.Also look out for one of our original Classic comedians, Terry Frisby who is moving back to NZ in October, after 10 years working in the UK.
And just to make up 13 also keep an eye on young guns Rhys Mathewson and Rose Matafeo.

The Classic Comedy Club 13th birthday is on October 1 from 9pm.