FROM MY COMEDY CLIPPINGS ARCHIVE:
Returning from Australia in 1994, I was in a show called Best of the Fest with Dean Butler and Andrew Clay. It was part of the Watershed Comedy Festival which grew to become the Auckland Comedy Festival. In the NZ Herald review by Harvey Clarke, he wrote that ‘Elliot[sic] and Clay, home after spending time in Australia, have progressed from their humble, amateurish beginnings on the Auckland stand-up circuit in the late 80s. They have blossomed into confident, fully-fledged comics’ and ‘we are witnessing New Zealand stand-up comedy’s coming-of-age.’
There is a bit of a story to this next review. The evening ‘would have been a complete disaster if it hadn’t been for the reappearance of one of this country’s most experienced ‘stand-up’ comics…Hopefully these younger comics will learn from the slick professionalism and class of Matt Elliott and develop a Christchurch comedy scene.’ – Presto magazine, 1997.
The venue was called a short-lived but vibrant addition to the Christchurch arts scene, The Green Room, just off High Street in Lichfield Street. The ‘younger comics’ were an ensemble calling themselves Four Fingers Missing. I had given them some technical tips on setting out the room, such as lighting and seating, and did a bit of emceeing for them. Among their number were Chris Bryan (now using the stage-name Chris Brain), Grant Loban, Mark Hutchings and a guy specialising in physical comedy called Rhys Darby. There was, as they say, something about him back then and I can still remember Rhys’ reaction to the review and giving me a bit of stick. I wonder whatever happened to him…
From the 2006 Wellington Fringe Festival; ‘…veteran Matt Elliott. He’s a sublime storyteller of the ridiculous. Whether he’s dealing with the city council checking out a children’s tree house for resource consent (Where are the fire-extinguishers? The wheelchair access?), the threatening behaviour of charity collectors, or bus travelling as an Olympic sport, he and his audience feed off their mutual enjoyment of the material and each other.’ – Scoop, 2006.