Pick ‘n’ Mix 2 — A Response

One of the great joys of the NZ International Comedy Festival is the chance to see such a wide variety of shows of all shapes and sizes. Pick ‘n’ Mix 2 was a lineup show of three local comedians (Jacqui Hooper, Zach Hall, and Matt Coombe) all doing their first or second shows at the festival.

The cast may have been newish faces in the scene but they still managed to draw a crowd, the Covert Theatre was absolutely pumping with a sold-out audience of 80 people. That’s no mean feat for a 10:00 pm show in the festival’s only fully programmed venue that’s not in the city centre. Coombe specifically greeted several members of his family in the audience, but the vast majority appeared to be couples out for date night. 

For a show called “Pick ‘n’ Mix” it was a surprisingly smooth and homogenous evening. If you’ve seen a line-up show of stand-up comedians, you’ll know you’re sometimes in for a night of three or more performers with very different styles and potentially very little to do with each other. Much like a Pascals Party Mix; Hooper, Hall and Coombe were clearly been picked and mixed by some kind of lolly expert because they established a very consistent vibe between them. Each comedian covered quite different material but they all brought a deliciously dry sense of humour to the table that made for a good flow across the hour-long show. 

Jacqui Hooper

In keeping with the theme of pick ‘n’ mix, there was something for everyone at this show with topics covering lesbian parenting, the uses of a pool noodle, Barbie sales figures and how long it takes to eat a pistachio. I parked myself dead centre in the audience and I can tell you the audience had some hearty chuckles at this show. Even the older gentleman sitting next to me, who only grunted and burped for most of the show, was eventually won over and actually laughed at the last three jokes of the show. He’d even stopped burping by the end.

Matt Coombe

Having seen Hooper and Coombe perform before, it was a delight to see them at the top of their game and with a full crowd to entertain. Hooper’s laid-back comedy style feels like you’re talking to a very cool friend of a friend at a party. She delivers proudly queer material in a way that the whole audience finds funny without making queer people the punchline. Coombe has a charmingly self-deprecating style, even when doing a high-concept bit involving staring one audience member dead in the eyes while playing an original theme song for himself. This was my first time seeing Zach Hall whose deadpan style was an unexpected treat. Much of his material made fun of his own socially awkward behaviour and he managed to capture the awkward character without the audience feeling uncomfortable.

Zach Hall

Sometimes when you go to the pick ‘n’ mix, you end up spending far more money than you wanted to on a combination of lollies that turns out to be not at all complementary. Occasionally, you’ll spend a very reasonable amount on a combo that works really well and you’ll have a lovely evening with your lolly bag. Pick ‘n’ Mix 2 was definitely the second kind of experience.

Featured photos by Joachim Hackshaw.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


Help keep the lights on.

find us on: