July 5, 2011
THE RISE OF LAUGHTER
The NZ International Comedy Festival is stoked to announce that over 105,000 people came out to see live comedy during the Festival this May.
The 2011 Festival saw a stellar line up of comedians from across the globe descend on New Zealand; including household legends Arj Barker (USA), Ardal O’Hanlon (IRE), Greg Proops (USA), Danny Bhoy (SCOT) and Wilson Dixon (USA). These world-class performers shared the stage with the best of our local comedians, including the likes of Ben Hurley, Dai Henwood, Jeremy Corbett, Paul Ego, & The Boy With Tape On His Face to name just a few.
The growth of live comedy in New Zealand has seen a major jump in interest since the early 2000’s. In 2004 the Festival consisted of 94 shows with an audience of 48,000. In just 7 years, we’ve seen the Festival more than double in size to 187 shows and a nationwide audience of over 105,000.
The New Zealand Comedy Trust’s inaugural Creative Comedy Initiative supported two comedians, each with a $10,000 grant. These grants were established to encourage collaboration and push the boat out on new formats of funny. Audiences got on board and lapped up the comedic genius that this initiative nurtured; Steve Wrigley shone in Kevin: The Musical, while Jamie Bowen captured a brilliant eccentricity in Munfred Bernstein’s Cabinet of Wonder.
Nick Gibb was the emerging comic who won the battle for the Billy T Award this year; his raconteur skills and hilarious musings saw him walking out of SKYCITY Theatre with the yellow towel wrapped firmly around his shoulders. Jan Maree won the highly respected Fred Award for established New Zealand comedians, with an entirely personal mix of comedy, tragedy and toasted sandwiches.
NZ International Comedy Festival Director, Kylie Aitchison, is already planning the party for next year’s 20th birthday, “We love that New Zealanders are embracing comedy, and that our distinctly Kiwi sense of humour is getting global recognition. We’re super excited about hitting 20 next year and are looking forward to celebrating in a big way!”