Urzila Carlson is driven by rage

DRIVEN BY RAGE: Comedian Urzila Carlson
DRIVEN BY RAGE: Comedian Urzila Carlson

If you ever see Urzila Carlson behind the wheel, don't make her mad. Really, just don't. This is a woman who freely admits she enjoys road rage.

"Some people suffer from it, but I love it," says the South-African born comedian who is hosting a comedy show on the subject of driving.

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"When it's the end of the week some people go, 'I can't wait to get to the gym' and they get rid of their frustration that way, whereas I don't. I just go for a drive."

The one-off TV3 programme which is called AotearoHa: Driving Stories, features a smorgasbord of up-and-coming plus established comedians regaling a theatre audience with tales about motoring.

Look out for well-known faces such as Ben Hurley, Jesse Griffin and Justine Smith. Plus there are appearances from younger comedians James Roque and 2014 Billy T Award winner Guy Montgomery.

"Initially, when I heard it was going to be all about driving I thought, 'Geez... how much can you say about driving?' But on the night I was blown away how there are so many comedians and none of us had the same jokes. I don't even know who they are going to edit or cut because everyone had an
amazing night.

"On that show there were a couple of comedians who had only just started driving, which is really weird because they're in their 30s.

"I don't know how you can be in this industry and not drive.

"Five nights out of the week I'll be somewhere different. There  is a lot of  driving involved."

Carlson says the driving theme is a hit because of its shared experience.

"Everyone has been in a car, driven a car or seen a car," she deadpans.

"If you talk about relationships (in stand-up comedy) there is always a quarter of the audience who has no idea what you're talking about."

A familiar face on 7 Days, Carlson is in hot demand these days. She has performed stand-up in her adopted city of Auckland as well as in venues around New Zealand, so it is not surprising that she has strong opinions on our driving habits.

She thinks the best drivers in the country are in Feilding.

"They have the biggest police station I've ever seen in my life and they don't have traffic lights," says Carlson. "Hardly anyone drives."

On a more sombre note, she believes Christchurch drivers are the worst - but that is not necessarily their fault.

"So many of their lives have changed," she says.

"There are potholes and people have become super aggressive after the earthquakes. I think driving is an afterthought for them. They have so much other stuff to think about and focus on and when they get into the car, that is their release and they all drive really aggressively.

"Now there are so many foreigners working there to fix up and rebuild and they all bring their own unique style of **** driving.

"When you get in your car in Christchurch, it's every man for himself. If I had to live there I'd
put some bullbars on my car andgo for it."

And what of Auckland drivers?

"I don't think we're that bad because our cars hardly move," says Carlson.

"We're usually stuck in traffic. My biggest complaint about Auckland is that nobody knows how to merge.

"In any other city in the world if traffic goes slow you go, 'It must have been an accident'.

"But in Auckland you go, 'Somebody's trying to merge. Somebody's trying to get into this lane.' People just freak out and go, 'I'm just going to spill a latte on my chinos'."

And while Carlson is happy to be driven around by her partner, she would rather not be a passenger for anyone else.

"I'm always driving," she says. "I'm a terrible passenger. If someone says to me, 'We can go in my car', I always go, 'No it's OK. I'll meet you there'."

"Only twice in New Zealand have I have been a passenger in a car with another comedian.

"That was Nick Rado. But he doesn't know how freaked out I am when other people drive."

AotearohaHa: Driving Stories
TV 3, Friday, 9.40pm

Get The TV Guide here 

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