Dressed in a floral dress over plain, black t-shirt, tights and boots, there is a question mark when Cal Wilson struts her way on stage – which way is this going to go and how much edge are we in for?
First impressions count, even in comedy and the visual comes before the audio. Kicking off with chatter about an “all you can eat, not all we can cook” buffet, she swiftly has the audience engaged and laughter peppers her easy-flowing gags. She touches on her husband’s laser-eye surgery, her quirky six-year-old child and there’s a good line about ageing overnight – which I won’t spoil here! Suffice to say, anyone with an age starting with number three or above will relate to that one.
It would be rare for a Kiwi not to make a quip about sheep and that makes it rather disappointing when she does. That aside, her act is slick, and material mix is refreshingly varied – Cal is not a one-trick comedy pony.
Her section about mishearing is the stand out from her stand-up, and has ‘that could so happen’ relatability. From start to finish, she keeps hold of the packed Jupiters auditorium brilliantly – as part of the regular, Laugh Your Pants Off comedy nights. Cal comes in to her own when we see a flash of feisty spirit as she shuts down a heckler with a verbal ninja-like move and the calm, confident ease of a real pro. No flustered, offensive putdowns here - it’s dealt with and we quickly move on.
She’s not cutting edge, Cal’s comedy foundations are down-to-earth and relatable. Refreshingly, there’s no cheap shock-bait, which comedians often seem to mistakenly believe makes strong comedy. She keeps the crowd laughing, there’s even a couple of amusing zealous squeals of laughter from the back; and when she wraps up, you feel you’ve been genuinely entertained rather than having an uncomfortably furrowed brow or offended ears.
When it’s worth braving a cold, blustery night for, you know you’ve cracked it!