Entertainment | Comedy

‘Humble king of comedy’ returns

Tofiga Fepulea’i has a one-night show in Tāmaki Makaurau featuring up and coming new stand-up comedians

His show will be on Saturday April 6th

Samoan intimacy, his three sons, and interracial marriages are what an audience can expect from comedian Samoan Tofiga Fepulea’i’s new show ‘I Love You Full Speed No Breaks’.

The show promises to guarantee laughter on April 6 at the Tāmaki Makaurau Kiri Te Kanawa theatre but for one night only.

Labeled the ‘humble king of comedy’ by his peers due to his support of Pacific comedians, Fepulea’i says he wished there was an inspirational story behind the title of the show but there wasn’t.

“Because working on 5.31pi, myself and Ina here in Wellington on our Island Time Show, you get to look through the (radio) playlist and there was one song in there at the end that said I love you full speed, no breaks.

“I thought you know what, that’s it. That’s it right there, mate, that’s the name of the show and that was the day I had to have the name for the show. Otherwise we would’ve had to cancel the booking and everything.”

New faces of stand-up

Fresh from sold-out gigs across Australia and a show at the 2021 NZ International Comedy Festival, Tofiga is ready to light up the stage once more.

Joining him are two Samoan comedians, James Nokise and Bubbah (Sieni Leo’o Olo).

Nokise, a recipient of New Zealand’s prestigious comedy award, The Fred (2021), brings a style that confronts politics and everyday life, shaped by his upbringing as a minister’s son.

Bubbah, known for her sharp humor and unfiltered wit, has made a mark in her Māngere community with backyard shows priced at just $1.

The collaboration of Nokise and Bubbah with Fepulea’i marks a shift from social media skits to live stand-up, a rarity among young comedians in Aotearoa today.

Fepulea’i appreciates both comedians taking this opportunity because he says it takes a lot to move from recording comedy on camera to performing live in front of a paid crowd.

“Bubbah is someone who’s really raw, she’s e le people (doesn’t care), she has no mercy, she’s different in her way of comedy. And then you have James who’s a veteran, he’s been doing it for a while and he does more shows overseas than he does in New Zealand.

“What a great opportunity to hopefully sell out again on April 6 and so our people can enjoy three Pasifika, proud Samoans who enjoy doing what they do.”

Nokise has opened up for Fepulea'i before in their show in 2020 show "Sorry bout it."

He also had some advice for those who want to move from social media comedy acting to live on the mic in public.

“It’s just one of those things where people are more creative and feel more comfortable doing stuff on camera because on stage you’ve got a whole bunch of people in the audience and strangers you don’t know.

“Then all of a sudden you don’t get the response you were hoping to get. It can be frightening but that’s where it comes down to having thick skin, it comes down to how much you really want to do it. You don’t give up after your first time. If we did that in life no one would be achieving anything.”

Māori his ‘biggest fans’

A cherished figure in the Pacific community, Tofiga has entertained audiences since the early 2000s with his comedic talent, acting, and musical prowess.

Rising to fame as one half of The Laughing Samoans duo alongside Etuati Ete, Tofiga feels Māori will be able to relate as, over his 20 years of comedy, Māori have become his “biggest fans” and they might know a few of his uncle’s characters he’s most likely to act out in this appearance.

He urges people to come along because “laughing is for free, except for the tickets to my show.”