BEST OF THE BILLYS 2014 – Hosted by Dai Henwood

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

10/05/2014 - 10/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Dai Henwood (TV3’s 7 Days) hosts a crack-up lot of Billy T Award winners including Rose Matafeo (Jono & Ben at Ten), Cori Gonzalez-Macuer (What We Do In The Shadows), Justine Smith and Ben Hurley (7 Days).

Billy T James changed the face of comedy in New Zealand and every year at the Festival we celebrate ‘our cuz’ with a night of laughs at Best Of The Billys.

On a Saturday night it’s a great show for you and your mates, work peeps, or to impress your Tinder date with your sense of humour. 

Experience a selection of true original kiwi comedy at it’s finest! “A masterclass of comedy… every single gag was hilarious” – TVNZ

Dates:  Sat 10 May, 8pm
Venues:  SKYCITY Theatre
Tickets:  Adults $39.00 | Conc. $30.00 
Groups 6+ $35.00* service fees may apply 
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 538) 


Overall, a fine night out

Review by Gabrielle Beran 11th May 2014

Best of the Billys sees five past Billy T Award winners take to the stage in a medley of the last 13 years of New Zealand stand up. 

Dai Henwood is the perfect MC for the event, as he is a Kiwi comedy darling in his own right, as well as a previous Billy T Award winner. He has explosive energy and does all the necessary formalities alongside his own jokes and musings. Henwood is a reliable feature on the comedy circuit – he always brings the laughs – and his uniquely Kiwi points of reference and knowledge of suburban Auckland are a hit with the audience. 

Rose Matafeo takes the stage next and follows Henwood’s enthusiasm and energy with gusto. She still needs more work on her delivery and has such great potential with the anecdotes she tells, if only she would take them a bit further. She is a delightfully quirky individual and is as quick-witted as always but I would love to see her take that quirkiness and broaden her horizons a little bit. Her trademark impressions are getting better every year and are a vehicle for Matafeo to show how clever her humour can be. She should make the “phone buzzing on a table” impression a staple. 

Cori Gonzalez-Macuer tells us that he doesn’t feel like being here and isn’t being paid enough for this gig and his stroppy mood doesn’t feel like he is joking. One can’t help but think that if he doesn’t want to be there, then don’t be, there are so many other comedians who would love the chance to perform to a nearly full Skycity theatre. Gonzalez-Macuer is obviously a clever comedian but his set is too fragmented, he is forgetful and messy; it’s a shame. He takes out some real rage on the drunken hecklers who spoil much of his (and the rest of the night’s) performances, which is met with cheers of approval from the audience but it is also awkward to have the equivalent of teenage girl angst released in public. 

Thankfully Henwood comes back to bring us back to comedy’s good side and the second half is started by Justine Smith. Smith is smooth, sassy and a damn good time. She reads the audience well and knows how far to push a joke. She is enthusiastically self-deprecating and makes the audience question themselves along with her. She is obviously a seasoned pro and her irony and cynicism get to the heart of what Kiwis seem to like in their comedy.

Ben Hurley rounds out the night. Like Smith, it is clear that Hurley has been doing this awhile. He is so relaxed and genuinely happy to be there. He uses this local audience to give some real Kiwi material and manages to talk about parenthood and marriage without isolating those who are not part of that sphere. He has a good physicality in his presentation and, like Henwood, shows his consistency at making us giggle.

A quick note for the venue: the very drunk hecklers needed to be dealt with by some security and the lighting people did not seem to know how to work the booth.

Overall, a fine night out. The older comedians really showed up the younger two but maybe there is room for some mentoring of our local talent? Personally, I think Smith and Matafeo would have a wonderful time together.


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