“Whenever you are ready to laugh about it, we’ll come down.”

Well-known Kiwi comedian Nick Rado is expecting to get heckled by some farmers later this month and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The award-winning comedian from 7 Days headlines an all-star line-up – including Courtney Dawson, Kajun Brooking, and Wilson Dixon – who are travelling to Hawke’s Bay for some Farmstrong Comedy Night Shows.

Farmstrong is a nationwide wellbeing programme that helps the rural community cope with the ups and downs of farming and growing.

Project lead Gerard Vaughan says: “After an incredibly challenging year, this is a great opportunity for rural communities to get off the farm and enjoy a good night out with friends, work mates and family.”

We caught up with Rado to talk about the comedy series that is designed to get farmers and growers off the farm and connect.

Nick, what was the experience like going down to Hawke’s Bay as an Aucklander, trying to connect with farmers and make them laugh?

Yeah, it was awesome. We felt very welcomed down there. It was a great response and that is why we are coming back. Lots has changed since we were last there.

We were chatting about it – just because Hawke’s Bay isn’t in the news anymore, it feels like Hawke’s Bay has been forgotten about a little bit.

When Cyclone Gabrielle happened, I’ve got some family members who live down there and were affected.  We said ‘listen, whenever you guys are ready to laugh about it. We can come and help you guys out and put some shows on for the community that has been doing it tough’.

It’s a fun night but it’s something that we wanted to say to the people of Hawke’s Bay, that you’re not forgotten about, and we know how tough it’s been for you guys.

This is literally the least we can do. We haven’t got any calluses on our hands, but we can write some jokes for you and at least give you one night off.

Like you say it has been a challenging year, so how important is to get people off the farm and thinking about having fun rather than stress? 

We wanted to help straightaway. And I think that’s what happened. Everyone wanted to help straightaway, but sometimes it can be detrimental because there are stages where things need to happen. And I feel like now is the ‘let’s have a laugh, entertainment, let’s have a have a night out stage’ where that was not the case, you know, even up to a couple of months ago. So, the timing of this is great.

What did you learn from last time, about connecting with farmers and rural people?

Because I was the MC for the event – I thought that people were going to be very reserved, but no, they’re very forthcoming with information and, and giving me stuff to play with. They also didn’t hesitate to throw people under the bus with regard to inside information. [Laughs]

So, part of my role is to make sure everyone is having a good time and make sure the room is warmed up before the comics come on. But last time, right from the get-go, it was a great night out, and people were just ready for it. Sometimes when you go to a community in areas where they maybe haven’t had comedy before, you think ‘Oh, I wonder how it’s going to go’. But everyone had a great time.

What advice would you offer to farmers who are thinking they have too much on at the moment, how important is it to have a night out?

It’s a great night out, and we’ve got world class comics coming down. What we’re finding, especially with these gigs is that people are coming out and they are catching up and just chatting with people who have gone through the same thing. And that’s what the Farmstrong is all about.

It’s a reason for people to get out. We have a good laugh; we have a good time. But the most important thing is we’re all chatting about things that were going on, you know, we’re not the only ones out there struggling. That’s the biggest feedback we’ve had it’s just nice to get out with other like-minded people who have gone through the same thing, laughing about common things that we have with each other, but also equally, knowing that for the two hours or three hours, nothing matters. We can just relax, and we can just have a good time.

That’s a big takeaway message from these comedy nights, just come on down, have a couple of drinks, have a laugh with your mates, and have a night out because boy, if anyone deserves it, it’s the people of the Hawke’s Bay.

Farmstrong Comedy Night Shows

  • Thursday 23 November October – Puketitiri Golf Club, Hutchinsons Domain. Doors open: 6.00 pm for a 7.00 pm start Tickets: $20 (includes food).
  • Friday 24 November – The Cabana, Napier. Doors open: 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start Tickets: $20 (includes food).
  • Tickets can be booked online here: Puketitiri or Napier
  • For more on Farmstrong visit: farmstrong.co.nz

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