Skip to content

Redwood Programmer Wins Comedy Fest

Thane Pullan by Hannah Herchenbach

A Redwood programmer has won the South Island leg of the national RAW Comedy Quest stand-up competition without uttering a single word.

Thane Pullan beat seven other finalists at a packed Twisted Hop in Woolston to win a spot in the national finals of the RAW Comedy Quest in Auckland.

While some fellow contestants played guitar and smeared shoe polish on their face for their six-minute set, Pullan delivered his monologue via his computer on software he designed himself.

“You are all in a very unique situation,” his computer said. “This is the only acceptable place where you can laugh at the guy in the wheelchair.”

Born with athetoid cerebral palsy, Pullan operates his computer and wheelchair with his eyes, a knee switch and a mouse. He has been honing his comedy on various blogs for the last five years, but is new to stand-up,.

He makes fun of his situation, but finds comparisons to physicist Steven Hawking insulting, because “I am much sexier than him”.

Meegwai Productions co-founder Derek Rogers invited Pullan to compete after seeing his debut stand-up performance at the Darkroom in February.

“He came out of nowhere,” Rogers said. “That kind of crispness and clarity of writing, you don’t see that often. He’s been honing it on his blogs and his web pages, but coming right out of that into stand-up is quite a revelation.”

This is the first time the RAW Comedy Quest has had a South Island leg.

Rogers said founder Scott Banks, who has run the competition out of Auckland’s The Classic since 1995, was so impressed by the calibre of South Island contestants that he has invited not just the winner, Pullan, but also runner-up David Correos to the Auckland finals.

The pair will compete in the national finals at the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in May.

_Hannah Herchenback for The Christchurch Mail