ONstage: Something interesting happens every 10 seconds with the Red Bastard

Red Bastard - Tenement

Red Bastard – Tenement. PHOTO: Justin Bernhaut.

Red Bastard is a dangerous seductive comedy monster. America’s number one bouffon spreads through the audience like a big red virus, challenging everyone to play along. Red Bastard is halfway through his kick-ass series of shows in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, and warns spectators to be prepared for anything to happen when you go to see him. The brainchild of Eric Davis, Red Bastard engages audiences in raw conversation, provocations, traps, rewards and catch 22s – encouraging risk and personal discovery.

Red Bastard demands that we be “bigger”, that we “go beyond.” He commands, “risk, and you are rewarded.” The audience finds itself changing seats, yelling, posing, singing – as he delicately leads them through a no-holds-barred show demanding to know nothing less than the existential query, “Who the hell do you think you are?” ANNABEL WILSON got on the blower just as he’d finished a three day Bouffon workshop to find out what he’s all about, what he thinks of Kiwiland and what’s ON for Autumn.

What are your first impressions of New Zealand?

The people I’ve been surrounded by are lovely people. I feel like the audiences are pretty engaged.

How would you explain your work to the uninitiated?

Well, it’s interesting that this show is in a comedy festival. While it is a funny show, it’s also a fusion of many types of things. It’s not a straight theatre show, it’s not a straight comedy, it has moments that are funny, moments that are provocative … the show is not going to be like any other show that you have seen before. You might even make a life-changing choice at the show.

You’re a writer, director, and co-founder of the NY Clown Theatre Festival. So you get a lot of stuff done. What’s your secret?

You work with good people. I think, as I’m getting older, I realise the good blessings, the best parts of my life are when I found good people to work with.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Different places I suppose. Some of them are in terms of teachers. One of them was a lady named Sue Morrison and a guy named Gaulier was influential. I had a couple teachers who sparked my interest in Le Coq technique. I also work with a partner named Deanna Fleysher and I bring a lot of my personal life experiences into the show. The show is a reflection of me in one way or another.

So your show has an existential bent. What does this mean, exactly?

I think everybody on a day-to-day, has to ask themselves, when they’re confronted with things, with the difficulty of life… you know, who are you? By your actions. You constantly have to weigh your desires and your actions and that defines who you are.

How do you get into that suit? Is it difficult?

I stick my thumb into my mouth and I blow and I just pop up. I move out.

And now for some signature questiONs… If we opened your hand luggage, what would we find? Any books, or dark secrets?

Oh, I’ve got plenty of dark secrets. Ah, I’ve got a broken engagement ring. I just broke an engagement ring today. I was kind of pounding my fist on the ground and the onyx in it came out, so I have to get it fixed.

Ouch! I guess a broken engagement ring is better than a broken engagement… ring. So who would play you in the movie of your life?

Oh I’m horrible at this! Do I have to? Ok, here’s an idea – maybe it should be Kristen Wiig. I love to see her do anything, she’s so awesome. So can we do something like a Lou Reed biopic, where there’s a cross-over switch?

Sure. And now for some either / or… Boxers or Y-fronts?


Apple or Android?


Mountains or ocean?


And what’s ON for Autumn?



  • Annabel Wilson.

Bizarrely hilarious…has to be seen to be believed…. he cruelly assumes we love him and want to be like him, which by the end of his set turns out to be true – a cult favorite. –  TIME OUT – NEW YORK

Jaw dropping symphony of gasps and giggles…I am still tingling at the memory. –  THE SCOTSMAN (UK) ★★★★★


Dates: 10 May – 14 May, 7pm

Venue: VK’s Comedy & Blues Bar

Tickets: Full $27, Concession $22, Group $23

Bookings: http://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/red-bastard/

In 2011, Eric created the role of Allen Smithee in Cirque Du Soleil’s Resident Hollywood show, Iris. In 2010, he won the Golden Nose for Clown of the Year in New York. In addition, he was a Finalist for the NY Comedy Festival’s Andy Kaufman Award, and the award winning director and co-writer of The Bouffon Glass Menajoree, which was nominated, for Outstanding Director, Script, Ensemble and Production by the NY Innovative Theatre Awards. He is also the co-writer and director of Kill Me Loudly: A Clown Noir

For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, contact annabel@onmag.co.nz.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Connect with Facebook

— required *

— required *