New Zealand International Comedy Festival

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival (NZICF; sometimes the NZ Intl Comedy Fest) is a comedy festival in both Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, run by the New Zealand Comedy Trust and held across three weeks during April and May.[1] From its beginnings in 1993 as a 2-day event, the festival has developed into a major nationwide event with a total attendance of over 100,000 people each year.

Taken outside of Q Theatre in Auckland, during the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival.

Main events edit

Each year the Festival features over 200 shows and involves around 250 performers. The Festival contains a wide range of comedy performances – from emerging artists through to NZ comedy industry veterans and stars of the international comedy circuit.

Similarly, the Festival caters for a wide range of audiences with specific shows aimed at children and teenagers, and a diverse offering of comedy fare.

The opening of the Festival is the televised Comedy Gala, a showcase of performances by the top local and international comedians appearing in the festival. Past venues include St. James Theatre until 2008, and since then the Auckland Civic Theatre and ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre. Past hosts of the gala have included: Jeff Green, Ardal O'Hanlon, Arj Barker, Wayne Brady, Ed Byrne, Bill Bailey, Rove McManus, Greg Behrendt, Jeremy Corbett, Jason Byrne and Rhys Nicholson.

Alongside the large number of local and international shows, there are a number of events held annually such as the Class Comedians programme. This is an initiative set up to train talented high school students in the art of stand-up comedy and ends with a showcase at Q Theatre. Its most successful graduate is Rose Matafeo. The RAW rookie competition is also held every year, with the national finals at The Classic Comedy and Bar in Auckland.[2]

Last Laughs! edit

To conclude the festival is the Last Laughs! awards showcase, held on the last Sunday. It is the last chance for the nominees for the Billy T Award and Fred Award to perform before the winners are announced at the end of the show. Other festival prizes awarded at Last Laughs include: Best International Show, Best Local Show, Best Newcomer, Best Marketing Campaign, and Spirit of the Festival.

Last Laughs! presentations and winners
Year Host Venue Fred Award Billy T Award Auckland Newcomer Wellington Newcomer Director's Choice Best Debut
2023 Chris Parker SkyCity Theatre Guy Montgomery Abby Howells Kura Turuwhenua Orin Ruaine-Prattley Liv Parker Anthony Crum and Bailey Poching
2021 Michèle A’Court Eli Matthewson Brynley Stent Maria Williams Tess Sullivan Abby Howells, Jadwiga Green
2019 James Nokise Kura Forrester Liv McKenzie Maria Williams

References edit