2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala

Opera House, Wellington

04/05/2024 - 04/05/2024

NZ International Comedy Festival 2024

Production Details

Presented by the NZ Comedy Festival and Best Foods Mayo

Prepare for a night brimming with comedy gold!

The 2024 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo is delighted to kick off the funniest Fest in town with the annual Best Foods Comedy Gala! Join host Chris Parker (our 2018 Fred Award Winner, the NZ Comedy Trust’s 2022 Topp Prize Winner, Taskmaster NZ, Celebrity Treasure Island NZ) for a rock solid show-stopping sell-out, celebrating Aotearoa comedy with some of the finest local and international acts this Comedy Fest. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of the comedy magic – one-night-only at Wellington’s mighty Opera House!

We’re stoked to announce the final lineup of incredible comics joining us at the 2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala!

Hosted by Chris Parker, and joining the already announced Heath Franklin’s Chopper, Brynley Stent, Pax Assadi, Abby Howells, Takashi Wakasugi, Nazeem Hussain, Hayley Sproull, He Huang, Alice Snedden, Rhys Mathewson and Eli Matthewson is: Wilson Dixon, Barnie Duncan, Jerome Chandrahasen, Courtney Dawson, Lesa Macleod-Whiting and Samantha Hannah.

Venue: The Opera House
Dates: 4 May
Times: 7.30PM
Prices: $55 – $139
Booking link: https://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/2024-best-foods-comedy-gala/

Hosted by Chris Parker

Joined by Heath Franklin's Chopper, Brynley Stent, Pax Assadi, Abby Howells, Takashi Wakasugi, Nazeem Hussain, Hayley Sproull, He Huang, Alice Snedden, Rhys Mathewson, Eli Matthewson, Wilson Dixon, Barnie Duncan, Jerome Chandrahasen, Courtney Dawson, Lesa Macleod-Whiting and Samantha Hannah.

Comedy , Theatre ,

2 hours 30 minutes (including interval)

Local acts hold their own in mixtape of comedy

Review by Nicholas Holm 06th May 2024

Link to The Post


Make a comment

An hilarious evening of bubbly artists trying their luck at gauging a giggle

Review by CHLOE JAQUES 05th May 2024

I’m seated in the Gallery of a packed-out Wellington Opera House on a brisk Saturday night. I’ve got my wine and I’m ready for some big laughs at the 2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala. There’s bright lights, an enthusiastic crowd and a star studded line up of national and international folk ready to hit the stage and impress us all with their best stand up stick.

The person we all love to love, Chris Parker, holds the MC space with confidence and passion, driving up enthusiasm for the next act. He’s the host with the most, always on job and just completely relatable. “It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you drive into …” [spoiler averted]. Parker has silly stories and surprisingly muscular one-liners including one that suggests how traumatizing Wellington Airport can be for some people…

Speaking of traumatizing, I notice running themes in the sets that follow of getting married, buying houses, pulling for loans and getting sober. Usually such things would scare me but I’m more than prepared to not take things so seriously… especially with this influential group of bright performers. 

Eli Matthewson is up first, speaking to purchasing an expensive TV and getting into skin care. Small hints of religion evolve. I relate to his declaration of what he’s more into than God.

Courtney Dawnson gives “a karanga for Karen” and judges us for not watching her on Celebrity Treasure Island. The delivery is a perfect balance of casual and demanding, incorporating a twisted display of supermarket banter. Her “I whakapapa …line gets most of us reaching for a decent giggle.

Jerome Chandrahasen has relatable chats about too many feijoas, buying a couch and not being able to work the printer. He brings a powerful stage presence that complements his ideal comedic timing. A smooth few minutes of humour my mum would love.

Rhys Mathewson is sober! And he’s “just raw dogging existence”. He compares drugs to turtle necks and gets us excited about what life could be without the presence of alcohol … or … Best to make a comedy show about it then, eh?

Lesa Macleod-Whiting is quick on her timing and smart with her jokes. She got married to a man (and a loan) and sometimes uses Trojan condoms. A clever segue into comparing a woman’s reproductive system to an ancient world proves Macleod-Whiting is a pocket rocket of humour.

Barney Duncan gives a thumbs up for Luxon! He doesn’t fear away from the obvious like some performers, perhaps. A brilliant imitation of the cyclist world evolves in the most simple and hilarious scene. I appreciate a universal topic like cycling turning into such a silly world. Duncan is a smooth performer and a stand out of the stand ups!

Samantha Hannah is Scottish. She has a strong Scottish accent whilst making some strong Scottish jokes. More marriage chat whilst referencing Lord of the Rings and the Tongariro crossing. Hannah is universally funny.

Takashi Wakasugi is confused by New Zealand, comparing leftover pizza to New Zealand Society. Genius. He proposes the question of ‘how do you eat leftover pizza?’ ... I’d love to see what he does in 40 minutes.

Hayley Sproull just had her“Pappy-Anniversary”! Her air-brushed timing and professional delivery about her experience of a doctor assessing her female health is dominant. You can tell she’s been in the game for a bit. A cute mention of The Great NZ Bake Off unrolls. It would be rude not to, right?

He Huang deciphers her name and pronoun with us, with suggestions of modern Chinese culture and red flags. She’s part of the “leftover ladies. It sounds brutal but yummy …”.And really funny!

Wilson Dixon is a country man with a guitar, comparing American culture to Kiwi culture. It’s a good chuckle with comedy for everyone.

Pax Assadi opens with some Wellington insults and some jabs at white people’s lack of taste. These moments stand out in the wave of marriages and house buying. 

Brynley Stent is a skit artist making impressions of… a microwave, dragon, Christmas tree and… surprise! She can play the recorder! Surprise! A bare bum! Stent is a dramatic performer leaving us wanting more.

Alice Snedden has been out of the game for a bit and wants to catch us up on what’s been happening. She’s got a new partner but is still a lesbian. She shares amazing facts about herself including one about her torso.

Chopper is “tryna make soup out of spilt beer and BO”and considers eating a pork roll in the Vietnam War. Well sort of. He compares croissants to German politics… whilst wearing the iconic sunnies and mo.

Abby Howells shares some “great facts about me”. She has a bone to pick with Puzzle World in Wanaka and can’t stop telling people about the whole dramatic saga. Her nuanced humour is refreshing – and required at this point of the evening.

Nazeem Hussain explores the ins and outs of mental health within a family dynamic. He is likable but un-Australian. We like to like him alright! A completely suitable conclusion to a dynamic bunch of funny people making some funny jokes in the 2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala.

Congratulations to everyone for the brave energy and hilarious evening! You’d be silly (and not the good way) to miss any of these bubbly artists trying their luck at gauging a giggle!


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council