Opera House, Wellington

05/05/2019 - 05/05/2019

NZ International Comedy Festival 2019

Production Details

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The Best Foods Comedy Gala returns to Wellington for another side-splitting year, launching the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo with a smorgasbord of tasty comedic delights.

Leading the line-up for this year’s event is New Zealand’s favourite South African, Urzila Carlson, 5-star rated comedic maestro James Acaster (UK), The Chase’s Paul ‘Sinnerman’ Sinha (UK), 2018 Billy T nominee Alice Snedden, co-host of podcast Boners of the Heart and writer and star of TVNZ’s Alice Snedden’s Bad News! Also starring the 2018 Fred Award Winner Chris Parker (NZ) and our favourite Scottish bachelor Chris Henry (SCT). God Damn Wellingtonian Fancy Man James Nokise (NZ) hits the stage alongside internationally acclaimed, award-winning comedy cabaret duo Boo Dwyer & Tash York (UK/AUS) and Fred Award-nominated Kiwi Eli Matthewson (NZ) of TVNZ’s The Male Gayz.

Taking care of hosting duties will be our own multiple award-winning wahine Justine Smith (NZ)! But wait, there’s more – further acts to be announced over the coming weeks.

Expect an all-star line-up featuring some of the best to launch this year’s Comedy Fest, packed into two and a half hours of rollicking good times.

Looking for the Auckland Best Foods Comedy Gala, Thu 2 May? Click here!

Wellington line-up:
Justine Smith (NZ) – host
Urzila Carlson (NZ)
James Acaster (UK)
Paul Sinha (UK)
Alice Snedden (NZ)
Chris Parker (NZ)
Chris Henry (SCT)
James Nokise (NZ)
Boo Dwyer & Tash York (UK/AUS)
Eli Matthewson (NZ)
…with even more yet to be announced!

The Opera House, Wellington
Sun 5 May 2019
A Reserve: $74.90
B Reserve: $69
C Reserve: $59
VIP: $125
*service fee may apply 

Please note: There is no elevator in the Opera House and access to the Dress Circle and Gallery are via stairs. The Gallery may be unsuitable for patrons with accessibility requirements or experience vertigo.
For further information, please contact 04 916 1205.

May contain colourful language and adult themes.

Recommended 15+

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

2 hrs 30 mins incl. interval

A diverse line-up with a refreshing variety of perspectives

Review by Clarissa Chandrahasen 06th May 2019

The Best Foods Comedy Gala is hosted by sass-queen Justine Smith, who has the audience on board with her from the beginning. She successfully gets us warmed up and excited for the night ahead.

Urzila Carlson kicks off the night’s line-up with brilliant, fresh content. She has an amazing stage presence and deserves an even bigger fan-base than she already has.

Fred Award-nominated comedian Eli Matthewson is completely endearing with his on-point observations about plant-obsessed millennials. His stories about growing up gay and Christian are epically good. I can’t wait to hear more when I see his solo show Myth and Legend.

James Roque is energetic and instantly likeable. Roque’s comedy tells the truth about racism in New Zealand. I will definitely be checking out his show, Boy Mestizo.

James Nokise is perfectly political with a polished performance that is perpetually punching up. His show God Damn Fancy Man is sure to be another quality hour from this award-winning comedian.

This is the first time I’ve seen UK comedian Lauren Pattison, and I am charmed by her skillful storytelling, with punchlines that are well worth the wait. I don’t want to miss her one night only show in Wellington.

Li’I Alaimoana, a 2017 Billy T nominee, is a fast-rising star. In a venue the size of the Opera House he still manages to successfully make a facial expression a punchline. Don’t miss his show this festival. He’s one to watch.

Alistair Barrie is our second UK comedian of the night and talks about colonialism. It is funny but not particularly exciting or fresh content.

I am excited to see what Australian/British comedy duo Boo Dwyer and Tash York has in store for us, but character comedy is hard when you’ve only got several minutes to work with. Unfortunately Dwyer and York don’t manage to win us over in that short amount of time, but I’m curious to see what they can do with a full hour show.

UK comedian Paul Sinha’s story of coming out to his conservative parents is popular with the audience. Sinha is an experienced comedian with well-crafted jokes.

As I’m already a huge fan of Alice Snedden’s TV series Bad News, Funny Girls, and her Boners of the Heart podcast with Rose Matafeo. She literally can do no wrong, and the entire Opera House audience loves her as well.  Her solo show, Absolute Monster, is guaranteed to be well-written and hilariously performed. Go see it.

Jamaine Ross’s roasting of Simon Bridges goes down well. I have to award him best use of pause on the night. Ross is very likeable and I would be happy to spend an hour listening to him at his solo show The Good Life.

Last year’s Fred Award winner Chris Parker is incredibly engaging to watch. He is a captivating storyteller, eliciting constant laughter from the audience. His tale of being a pallbearer at his grandmother’s funeral generates my first and only tears of laughter the whole night. I cannot wait to see his solo show Iconique.

Johanna Cosgrove is confident and powerful as Aunty. While again, character comedy is proving hard to establish in such a short time span, I feel Aunty manages to introduce us to herself effectively.

Chris Henry, also from the UK, is the perfect energizer to end the night on. His 90s dance mashup is highly entertaining.

The curators of the Gala have done a wonderful job of providing us with a diverse line-up of comedians. It is refreshing to see such a variety of perspectives represented on stage.  


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