Parker proves why 7 Days is best live

WEEKLY WARRIORS: Paul Ego, Dai Henwood and Jeremy Corbett are the stars of TV3's 7 Days.
WEEKLY WARRIORS: Paul Ego, Dai Henwood and Jeremy Corbett are the stars of TV3's 7 Days.

After watching 7 Days performed live, I'll never love the edited version that airs on Friday nights on TV3. That's because the live show is much funnier than the broadcast version.

The live version has seven stand-up comedians performing simultaneously. They feed off the audience, riff one-liners, speak over each other and interrupt. It's messy but glorious. The broadcast version is (now) like a poorly edited, laugh-tracked sitcom.

The emotional high of the 7 Days performance last Wednesday in the Hagley Park Geo Dome came when Mayor Bob Parker was ushered onstage for "Yes Minister", a segment where the two 7 Days teams ask questions of a guest politician, trying to elicit the word "Yes" in their answers. The politician is supposed to avoid the Y-word.

Bob "the Rebuilder" Parker skates through his questions and guest comedian Urzula Carlson asks what sounds like a scripted question: "Can we fix it?"

Parker knows a gift when he sees it, rises to his feet and leads the audience through the answer: "Yes we can!"

Readers and viewers lost by this exchange should study the Bob the Builder animated children's TV show.

Anyway, in the live performance, Parker appears at about 70 minutes into the 180-minute production. In the broadcast version, Parker appears in the first five minutes. Television viewers probably didn't notice, but people who saw both will know the moment was robbed of its build-up and tension - and the release that Parker orchestrated so well.

Arguably, the second-best moment of the live performance didn't make the broadcast. The Geo Dome was a temporary studio, and the set was fixed with duct tape. At one point, a banner behind host Jeremy Corbett slipped and threatened to come down on his head. With comic genius, Corbett donned a hard hat which happened to be around from a previous skit about quake danger in Christchurch. Nobody could have scripted a bad tape job, and Corbett was perfect.

I'll keep watching 7 Days on television because it's topical New Zealand humour and earns its laughs. But I'll also know the show leaves some of the best humour on the editing suite floor.

If 7 Days visits Christchurch again, go see it. If you're visiting Auckland when the show's in production, go see it. You'll come away pleased.

7 Days: Fridays, 9.30pm, TV3.

The Press