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FanFiction Comedy: Comedy Festival Review

By's Darren Bevan

Published: 8:21PM Saturday April 28, 2012

FanFiction Comedy

It was the cult sleeper hit of last year's NZ International comedy Festival and now it's back - having had a successful run in Aussie just prior to coming home to these shores.

Fanfiction, in case you're not aware of the general phenomenon, is where fans of shows take it upon themselves to pen works of fiction involving their fave TV or film characters. It's a field full of love, warmth and affection - much like the NZ stage version hosted with genial warmth by Rose Matafeo.

Fanfiction Comedy's already a success - what with it being a podcast and so forth, so it's no surprise that opening night of the show at the comedy festival this year was packed out.

Essentially, U Live host Rose Matafeo takes to the stage to introduce a group of about six writers (and fellow comedy festival performers) who recite their latest piece of Fanfiction prose, before it's thrown over to a panel for a bit of a discussion of whether it was liked or not. If you're lucky they'll even recruit one of the international comics to be part of it.

Opening night saw the likes of Tom Furniss, Nic Sampson, Heidi O'Loughlin, Edith Poor, Joseph Moore, Stephen Boyce and guest FanFictioneer Greg Benhrendt take to the stage to share a little part of themselves with us.

Fanfiction comedy has the convivial feel of a meeting of addicts who, would in the past have been confined to the forums of the internet for their discussions - but it's not creepy, weird or at all mocking.

In fact, it's the complete opposite - it's a warmly engaging, mutually appreciative and extremely amusingly creative night out.  There's just something about an obsessive love crossed with creativity which breeds for a thoroughly genial atmosphere, replete with laughs, knowing references and an appreciation of the zeitgeist as well as what's been shared on Facebook and tumblrs.

Rose manages to move the discussion along amiably thanks to a great rapport with the judging panel of two (Steven Boyce and Joseph Harper) - but I still reckon an element of audience participation may add more to the experience; whether it's voting on the best or a bit of feedback/ ideas being proffered, there's certainly the feeling that this pop culture loving forum will have its contributors within the audience as well.

All in all, FanFiction won't be the same show each week - with writers penning new material every week, it's a uniquely geeky experience every time - and one that you should put aside any inhibitions toward, embrace the inner nerd and revel in the show.

Rose Matafeo is also doing a solo show at the NZ Comedy Festival called Scout's Honour - and she's been nominated for the Billy T Award too. You'll also find the other acts in the FanFiction team on during the festival in their own shows too.