News Culture Comment Video


The NZ International Comedy Festival etiquette guide

Thursday 27th April 2017

Don't be another turd in the crowd.


The 2017 International Comedy Festival is upon us! With over 120 shows and more than 150 comedians to choose from, you’re in for a massive 3 weeks of side-splitting, thigh-slapping, good-natured laugh riot.

The International Comedy Festival is always a huge hit, bringing in tons of people to big flashy opulent theatres and some to smaller, dank but still very charming bars. No matter where you go there’s going to be a lot of people, and generally people suck, it’s a fact of life. But to avoid being another the turd in a crowd, here is a comedy festival etiquette guide to help you get through the most entertaining and moderately priced 3 weeks of your social calendar year.


Turn off your phone

Starting off with the most basic of all rules, TURN OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE. You should treat every comedy show venue like a movie theatre, the same rules apply. Put your phone on silent, don’t put your feet on the back of someone’s chair, no illegal recordings and keep your horny highschool teen pashing in the dark, to a minimum.

Buy your drinks before the show

Comedy and Alcohol go together like a peanut butter and alcohol - you can make most things better with alcohol.

Walking out of a show to purchase more drinks is one of the most annoying things an audience member can do, so be a good patron, be prepared and get your drinks early. A good rule of thumb is to buy 3 drinks before the show:

One to drink while you wait for the show to start and to avoid small talk with your co-workers who also happened to turn up, one to drink for the first half of the show to get a little buzzed, and one to drink in the second half because hey, why not make it a night, you’re already out and dressed up and your phone is on 70% battery and maybe it’s the beer goggles talking but the comedian is actually kinda hot…

Choose your seat

Don’t sit at the front if you don’t want to audience participate. When you choose your seats on the ticketing website or if you’ve turned up to a show with unallocated seating - think hard about where you want to sit. If you came to a live comedy show and want to pretend like you’re watching TV and you want nothing to do with the comedian - avoid the front seats, avoid the aisle seats and avoid all eye contact with anyone. But if you INSIST on sitting in one of best seats in the house, then please just answer the goddamn question where do you work so we can move along ok.

Don’t heckle

People pay $25 - $250 for a ticket, and $12 for parking in town, to see a funny, intelligent, charismatic person on stage, not an ugly, talentless nobody in sitting in the audience yelling lame, abusive things at a comedian. You’re taking a huge risk if you’re going to heckle. Any half-way good comedian will absolutely tear you a new one and have then the rest of the audience laughing at your (what we imagine) very small genitals, you’ll be the butt of the joke for the rest of the night and everyone will give you really stink faces at the bar afterwards.

Also if you are asked by the comedian to yell out topics at an improv show, don’t be a dick by yelling out with racist, sexist and homophobic words - it’s not funny, you are not funny and now your tinder date is planning their escape and again, everyone will give you really stink faces at the bar afterwards.


The most important thing to everyone, to the comedian, to the venue, to the organisers, to your fellow audience members, is to laugh. Laugh hard, laugh loud, don’t be afraid to laugh, do your ugliest laugh, laugh with tears, laugh with fears, laugh til you pee yourself a little, laugh until you wonder why you don’t get to laugh this hard every single day of your life.

You came here to laugh and dammit you’re going to get your money’s worth.

Join the discussion »

Login to post a comment

Login or Signup


In accordance with our Comments Policy, all comments are moderated before they appear on the site. This happens 7am to 7pm each weekday.