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Can Nz’s Home Of Live Comedy Comeback?

Coinciding with the move to Covid-19 Level 3, The Classic, New Zealand’s home of live comedy in Auckland is turning to its fans for support to ensure that the iconic venue, a cornerstone of our comedy industry, can comeback at the next level and beyond.

The loss of the now cancelled Comedy Festival, which was due to open this week, combined with costs already incurred for the festival and unavoidable weekly overheads has jeopardised the future of the club.

“The annual Comedy Festival is our busiest month of the year” says Classic director Scott Blanks “accounting for about a quarter of our annual turnover. It helps underwrite much of our programme for the other 11 months of the year. It is hard to estimate the full impact at this stage but, combined with the loss of all income over the last month, the prospects aren’t great”.

“But I have already received really positive support from our leading comedians who have offered to help The Classic survive. The best thing they can do is perform and we hope to re-open under Covid-19 Level 2 and beyond. So we are inviting our fans to save a seat at The Classic, for as little as $10, and they can exchange this for a Ticket to Laugh once we return to funny business as usual.”

“The Classic has become a cornerstone of our small industry over the last 25 years. It is home to a community that includes both professional and rookie comedians, loyal staff, industry workers and many frequent laughers” say Blanks. “As well as the locals there are a growing list of international guest acts that consider The Classic one of the best clubs in the world, often their debut venue down-under. The Classic is also unique in that it is largely independent of any arts funding or tax payer support, relying alone on the income of ticket sales and hospitality extended to our comedy goers. So we are hoping they will join us for the Great Classic Comedy Comeback.”

All donations made through the Classic ticketing partner, Eventfinda can be exchanged for a Ticket to Laugh. This is optional, particularly for supporters beyond Auckland, but the donation is also transferrable.

Donation now at Eventfinda.

What the community have said:

JON BRIDGES – Foundation comedian at The Classic, founding Director of 7 Days and The Project on TV3

“If giving Kiwis a laugh at NZ’s first and only dedicated comedy club doesn’t sound crucial enough to earn your support, think of your favourite TV comedians. Think Dai, Corbett, Matafeo, Ego, Mel Bracewell. Think of your favourite shows - 7 Days, Jono and Ben, Wellington Paranormal, Dai’s House Party. Think of our Kiwi acts who have made it big overseas. All of them. All of it. Everything comedy in New Zealand owes at least part of its existence to one room - The Classic. Our writers, producers, performers, and directors grew out of that room, and our future writers, producers, and performers will come from there too. Because nothing exists on TV, in the movies, on the radio without the live comedy scene. And in NZ, the live comedy scene has one cornerstone: The Classic.”


“If it wasn’t for The Classic and the support from The Classic family I would not be in comedy today and I know that’s true for most comedians in NZ.”


“The rusty red walls of The Classic have experienced not only every successful New Zealand comedian but many others from that great country known as ‘overseas’. Most would agree, on its night, there are few comedy clubs in the world that would compare. For me there is no version of my career in which it does not feature. A right of passage, a spiritual home, a nursery and a school. Without it Aotearoa simply would not have the thriving stand-up scene it now enjoys. It is the home of New Zealand stand-up comedy.”


“My first ever run at The Classic during my first ever visit to New Zealand in 2013 will always be one of the most special and exhilarating weeks I've ever experienced as a performer. It's a great privilege to have been involved with the venue and the festival over the years and I can't imagine the global comedy landscape without it.”


“You've got to have a good home to flourish and, for comedians, The Classic is ours. It's where rookies learn, professionals take risks, and veterans polish their craft. It's also the heart of our community - where we hold weddings, christenings, parties and wakes. We've never needed it more than we do now.”

DAI HENWOOD – Comedian

"The Classic is the life blood and standard for live comedy in New Zealand. From open mic to becoming a working professional the Classic is everything from a University to a place of work for comedy artists."

Images available here.

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