Wellington Mic Drop is a documentary web-series showcasing the talented Wellington comedy scene. It is produced by Brad Zimmerman, a Wellington local and comedian. He has been doing comedy in Wellington since 2007.
Who are you and how did you get into comedy?
I’m Brad Zimmerman and I started performing at the monthly open mic at San Fran in 2007. I had wanted to give it a go since I was 12, but never knew how or where or if it was even an option. Then, after watching lots of great local comics doing the weekly pro shows, I finally wrote a set, and got up… it was beyond awful.
Who is the team behind Wellington Mic Drop?
It started as just me (producer), but then I soon enlisted the help of my friend, Ben Powdrell who is a great comic and a professional film editor for Weta. Besides me and Ben, Mic Drop consists of the whole Wellington comedy community. Everybody has helped in some way, either through crowdfunding donations, technical assistance, marketing help, moral support, and whatever else.
What inspired Wellington Mic Drop?
I was sick and tired of seeing fantastic Wellington comics not getting the exposure they deserve. I wanted some way to get them in front of potential fans who just hadn’t taken a chance and seen them yet. Getting exposure as a comic is really hard, when you don’t have TV networks backing you. Mic Drop (in my idealistic fantasy world) gives comics a chance to show people at home that they’re funny, so hopefully those people get off their couch and check them out live. If that actually ends up happening, then it’ll really help the scene grow, and it’ll give kiwi viewers quality local content.
Why do you think Wellington Mic Drop is important?
There are too many people in NZ who have the opinion that “Kiwi comedians aren’t funny” but really the only comedians those people know are the handful of Auckland-based comics that are continually shoved onto their TV screens at home. I wanted to show those people at home that they’re wrong.
Why should people watch Wellington Mic Drop?
If they want to see kiwi comedians doing great comedy. Really that’s all there is to it. We’ve got good stuff, and our show has no networks censoring and filtering it to fit a particular demographic or TV timeslot.
In what ways is NZ/Wellington comedy different to the rest of the world?
From what I can tell, kiwi comedy (for the most part) seems to be geared more towards bringing the audience into a shared experience, either through stories or long jokes, as opposed to just throwing gags and punchlines out at you (which is what we mostly see of American comics that get on our screens). There are exceptions, of course, but it’s just something I’ve noticed. Our comics tend to build their sets with a one-hour festival show in mind, whereas American comics build theirs with “Five TV minutes” in mind, for late-night shows like Conan and whatnot.
If you could give advice to someone wanting to get into comedy what would you tell them?
1) Check out some local open mics, get a realistic feel for comedy at grassroots level. See people killing, see people bombing.
2) Just get up and do it. My first time sucked (for me and the audience), but it didn’t kill me.
3) Remember that the only two rules are be funny, and be original. If you steal material there will always – ALWAYS – be somebody who knows.
What are three Comedy Fest shows people should go and see?
It’s hard to pick just three! I would definitely recommend checking out all the Mic Drop comics who have shows (James Nokise, Patch Lambert, Li’i Alaimoana, Molly Sokhom, Jerome Chandrahasen, and Lucy Roche), but other than them, my advice would be to take a chance on LOCAL comics, instead of the big international names. Yes, yes, it’s really totes super duper exciting to be in the same room as a famous person (woop de doo), but good comedy should feel like an intimate experience, and there’s nothing intimate about being one person in a thousand person crowd.