photo courtesy: worldbuskerfestival.com
The World Busker Festival is a local festival held in Christchurch every year, for the past 22 years. It houses many street performers, comedians, musicians, burlesque dancers, and other sorts of entertainers. Originally, Dan and I were very excited about “Puppet Fiction,” which is exactly what it sounds like – a tribute to Pulp Fiction performed with puppets. However, the show was sold out and we were saddened. We started poking around the site and discovered there was a plethora of entertainers and shows to watch, so we decided to head down to Hagley Park and enjoy our sunny Saturday.
When we arrived, we quickly realized the festival was not as large as we had imagined. No biggie. We bought a burrito and watched the performer on stage in the middle of the food truck arena. It was strange. We weren’t sure if it was her first time performing or if she didn’t think the sounds she was making in to the microphone were making the crowd feel uncomfortable. I’ll explain…
When we started to watch, she was standing on stage with an adult male and a small girl, both of which were wearing pink capes and pink crowns. She asked the adult to tie her tightly in a straight jacket, and then remove their outfits and exit the stage. While she tried to remove the straight jacket, she fidgeted around stage, grunting and huffing into her mic. Occasionally, she would try to make an awkward joke but everyone was just sitting there in silence wondering how long it would take her. She continued to flail her shoulders and elbows until, finally, she had managed to twist her arm over her head. The performer then asked for a countdown as she continued to struggle out of the jacket; Dan and I exchanged glances and walked away.
We noticed a sign that said, “Beer ->” and we followed it, naturally. We walked into a separate area with a stage that had flashing lights that read, “Busker Comedy Club” and was complete with benches, tables and chairs and some umbrellas. We decided this would be a good spot. We each got a beer and sat at a table, just in time to see the new act come on stage.
This performer is known as “Mullet Man.”
Not only does this performer name himself after his awful hairdo, but his whole act encompasses it.
Lucky for you, I found a video of his performance on Vimeo, which you can watch by clicking here.
We didn’t mind his act too much. Dan was cracking up the whole time, saying, “This is incredible;” it just felt so awkward watching him drop things and ordering the audience not to clap because he “mucked it up.”
After this performance, we walked around, not knowing what to do with ourselves until the final show at 7:00 PM. We passed by a few other performers: Two guys from Canada who rode on a bike, flipped some children and poked fun at one another; a woman who announced she was going to behead an audience member, only after blindly feeding someone whip cream from a plate; a shirtless man dancing around screaming about how he loved skateboards; a man in a purple jumpsuit dancing around to “All the Single Ladies” to an audience of children. Weird stuff.
Once we were back in the Busker Comedy Club arena, we grabbed two chairs and two more beers and watched the most ridiculous live performance we have ever seen.
It started with an award to the shirtless man who loved skateboards and someone else we hadn’t seen. Then the host came on stage. He passed through the audience and came face to face with a child. “Oh, hello there little fella! How are you? You’re going to hear some words tonight that you wouldn’t otherwise knew existed” he exclaimed before walking on stage.
I don’t know if he was wearing a wig or his hair was full of hairspray and dye, but he sort of looked like Elton John. He wore sunglasses and a striped suit, held a can of beer and strained his voice to yell some really bad jokes. He would shout after each one: “These are the jokes, folks!”
The first performers came on next: Lords of Strut. They performed some acrobatic dance moves in neon tights and purposely bad hip-hop moves before one of them exited the stage and returned completely nude. He held both of hands over his junk before his partner gave him his shirt to wear as underwear. He then did a fun solo while the half-clothed partner exited, and returned to stage in whitey-tighties that he purposely pulled up his butt crack; they strutted around stage before finishing the show.
The following act was a Canadian comedian, Sharon Mahoney. Her act revolved around her being Canadian. She wore a full Canada jumpsuit, a Canada visor, Canada glasses and carried Canadian flags. She continued to repeat the same thing over and over and over: That Canadians were over apologetic, empathetic and passive aggressive. It was a little overkill. BUT THEN! She pulled an audience member on stage and asked for liberation. She backed herself into his groin and bounced herself up and down. Okay, crude humor, whatever. The audience member went along with it, which was really funny. He pretended to smack her bottom and fist bump in the air. The audience was loving it.
However, she then tore off her shirt, turned around and tore off his shirt, pulled down his pants, and then pulled down his underwear. Luckily, he was quick enough to grab the front of his undies before we were all forced to see his junk. The audience member turned around and shook his bare bum while the audience roared. That was basically the end of the act. Repeatedly self deprecating jokes followed by the forceful strip of an audience member. Very strange.
The host came back on stage and introduced…. *drum rolllllll* MULLET MAN!
Dan and I exchanged glances. Damn it. Not again.
We re-watched the exact same act and mumbled under our breaths the jokes he would say.
Once Mullet Man successfully uni-biked on stage while juggling fire, a knife and a wrench and an audience member followed him with a leaf blower to exaggerate his mullet, we were given a little intermission break.
Dan and I sighed about having to see the exact same act, but we were curious about the remaining show. We agreed that Kiwis just have a very different sense of humor and seem to be open and comfortable with nudity. It’s just … different.
The show continued on with the 4th act being Hula Queen. She was probably my favorite, aside from the awkward hopping she did. She performed impressive hula tricks in between presenting random audience members with bouquets of flowers. She would comically announce that she would perform several pirouettes for her chosen audience member, and then awkwardly do a two-foot hop in a jerky motion and land in a stiff stance and pretend to breathe heavily. The audience loved this. My favorite part was towards the end of act, she singled out a man who had previously been denied by Mullet Man. She left him for last and gave him the most attention, followed by bringing him on stage and comically attempting to pour wine into a glass while hula hooping around her neck.
The 5th and final act was performed by Rueben DotDotDot. He did some really impressive acrobatics on stage, using a 20 foot pole that was held up by 4 audience members. It was really great. He was genuinely funny without being annoyingly cheesy and really wowed us.
All in all, the day was fun. We had plenty of laughs, shared some funny glances and ate some yummy food. We enjoyed being entertained for so little money, and it was such a perfect sunny day in the park. We learned that Kiwis have a different sense of humor and that our new home is full of quirky, fun events. We really do love this place.
Until next time,