Comedian just wants a happy audience

Whether it is laughter or even just a smile, each time Dunedin comedian Reuben Crisp steps on stage his only aim is to make people happy. Photo: Linda Robertson
Whether it is laughter or even just a smile, each time Dunedin comedian Reuben Crisp steps on stage his only aim is to make people happy. Photo: Linda Robertson
Being funny is only one part of being a great comedian - you also have to really like being on stage.

Dunedin comedian Reuben Crisp has been on stage, making people laugh, for about 18 months and still gets a thrill out telling jokes. He has performed hundreds of times now in cities across New Zealand, hoping to do one simple thing.

''I like making people happy, whether it's laughter or even just a smile ... don't we all?''

Humour is fundamental to the human social experience; it is how people connect and establish rapport, Crisp says.

''It is a well known fact that we engage in humour and laugh more when in company.''

But it takes more than just being funny to be a comedian. A great stand-up is also a great performer, he says.

''Some of the funniest people I know have no interest in performing on a stage.''

For those who are not born with the funny gene, comedy, like anything else, can be learnt. It can be mastered through hard work, diligence and years of ''self-neglect'', he says.

A relatively small tight-knit community only a few years ago, Dunedin's comedy scene has now grown considerably.

''We have a bustling community of grassroots comedians which has grown considerably in the past few year, thanks to the efforts of Simon Kingsley-Holmes.''

As the number of comedians has grown, so too has the audience. Many people regularly turn up to supported local independent artists.

Anyone wanting to have a crack at comedy can start by attending one of the two open mic nights in the city, Crisp says.

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