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The Secret Policeman's Ball NZ as part of the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival
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When:6 May 2012
Venue:Comedy Chamber @ Auckland Town Hall , Queen St, Auckland
Location: Auckland City, Auckland Region, New Zealand
Contact: Anita Harvey
Phone: +64-9-303-4526


What: The Secret Policeman’s Ball NZ as part of the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival
Who: Rhys Mathewson, Raybon Kan, Urzila Carlson, Wilson Dixon, Ewen Gilmour, Penny Ashton, Nick Rado, Simon McKinney and Amnesty International.
Where: Comedy Chamber @ Auckland Town Hall , Queen St, Auckland
When: Sunday 6 May at 7pm
Tickets: $35 from

“The freedom to laugh to me means that you are allowed to do it no matter where you are in the world and no matter what it is you are laughing about,” said self confessed comedy nerd Rhys Mathewson.

“Comedy is the great thing that unites people.”

And for one night only the freedom to laugh will unite Amnesty International and a stellar line up of kiwi comedians as the world famous Secret Policeman’s Ball comes to New Zealand for the first time ever.

On Sunday 6th May at Auckland’s Comedy Chamber Rhys will join forces with the top of the New Zealand comedy crop, including Raybon Kan, Urzila Carlson, Wilson Dixon, Ewen Gilmour, Penny Ashton, Nick Rado and Simon McKinney, to tell a story about freedom of expression.

Launched by funny man and Monty Python member John Cleese back in 1976 the Secret Policeman’s Ball has had people rolling in the aisles in the United Kingdom for 35 years, and finally it’s time to do the same in Auckland.

While Urzila told Amnesty International she had heard of secrets, policemen and balls before, “but not together”, she has assured the organisation she has done her research and with her title of ‘Best Female Comedian’ at the 2010 and 2011 NZ Comedy Guild Awards she’s sure to come through with the laughs.

The freedom to outrage and provoke is essential to every comic, but in some countries “free speech” isn’t so free when it can cost you your liberty.

In Myanmar, comedian and satirist Zarganar was banned from performing publicly and was later sentenced to 35 years in prison for speaking out against the government.  He served four years of his sentence before being released in a prisoner amnesty last year.

Around the world, many more artists remain under lock and key.

“If I was not allowed to tell jokes I would go crazy,” said Rhys.

“I would be sitting alone in my flat playing Xbox and becoming the biggest hermit in the world”.

Amnesty International said that here in New Zealand we enjoy the ‘freedom to laugh’ so they are inviting New Zealanders to join them and the great comedians they have on board for one night of side splitting, cutting edge comedy.

The organisation wants the comedy show to draw attention to the plight of those artists currently in prisons and add weight to the campaign for freedom of expression as a human right for everyone.