Open your diaries to May and prepare yourself to binge on almost a full month of comedic delights, as the New Zealand International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo returns for it’s 27th year, running May 2 – 26 in Auckland and Wellington! The programme is bursting with over 140 shows featuring comedians hailing from 17 countries. On-sale from midday Thursday 28 February, this veritable smorgasboard of comedic options will offer something for every taste.
The Comedy Fest is delighted to welcome a host of world-class international talent to our shores for their first show in New Zealand. The Brits are always a hit with Kiwi audiences, so we’re thrilled to have Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist Chris Henry, Ireland’s ‘One To Watch’ Eleanor Tiernan, Hate Thy Neighbour’s Jamali Maddix (UK), The Chase’s Paul Sinha (UK), and Londoner Tom Houghton who joins us directly from the actual Tower of London. A strong contingent of Aussies are heading across the ditch, with Aaron Chen, Demi Lardner, and Michelle Brasier all performing in Auckand for the first time. Critically acclaimed cabaret stars Boo Dywer & Tash York have a foot in both camps, with Birmingham-born Dywer and Melbournian York also making the trek across the Tasman. And lone American Josh Wolf makes his debut, heading down under from the writers room for E!’s Chelsea Lately.
Returning to Aotearoa are some of comedy’s biggest names, including Becky Lucas, Ed Byrne, Fern Brady, Phill Jupitus, Phil Nicols, and Ross Noble. They join some of our homegrown fave, including Angella Dravid, Ben Hurley, David Correos, Frickin Dangerous Bro, Guy Montgomery, Guy Williams, and Urzila Carlson. 2018 Billy T Award winner Melanie Bracewell is back with brand-new hour, as is Chris Parker after winning the Fred Award in 2018 for the best NZ show in the festival. Plus, this years Billy T nominees – Donna Brookbanks, James Mustapic, Kura Forrester, Ray Shipley, and Tom Sainsbury – will strut their stuff in their bid to take home the coveted yellow towel.
The Comedy Fest is run by not-for-profit charity the New Zealand Comedy Trust, who are again producing some of the most beloved annual features. Returning to the programme is the family-friendly Stand Up For Kids, the huge line-up show the Best Comedy Show on Earth (which this year will be a Mothers Day special event), and closing night blockbuster the Electric Kiwi Last Laughs. Pax Assadi steps up to host a highlight from the Trust’s programme – Dialogue: Matters, featuring a top-shelf line-up dissecting a range of topical issues from the deeply personal to the incredibly funny. As always, the Comedy Fest launches with the Best Foods Comedy Gala, hosted by Rhys Nicholson in Auckland on May 2 at The Civic and Justine Smith in Wellington May 5 at The Opera House – tickets are on-sale now, and moving quickly so don’t miss out! All of the proceeds from these shows will be channelled directly back into the Trust to help foster the ever growing kickass industry that is New Zealand comedy.
The full Comedy Festival programme goes live and on-sale through comedyfestival.co.nz at midday Thursday 28 February