Last Laugh 09

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

24/05/2009 - 24/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Last Laugh is the final ‘knees-up’ for the NZ International Comedy Festival 2009, it brings audiences and comedians together on May 24 to party hard and celebrate the success of 3 weeks of outstanding comedy.

Presented by the unparalleled Jeremy Corbett, the evening provides three jam packed hours of incredible entertainment, backstage the tension will be running high for comedians up for the two most prized awards in the NZ comedy industry.  First up is the award for best emerging talent The Billy T Award which grants a $5000 cash prize and The FRED AWARD which gives those with an outstanding reputation in New Zealand a chance to take their talents abroad thanks to a $3000 travel grant.

The Billy T Award has been a longstanding accolade and a prominent feature of the NZ International Comedy Festival, setting a benchmark for young comedians and providing a steppingstone into stardom, with past winners including Ewen Gilmour, Te Radar, Dai Henwood, Paul Ego, Sam Wills and Ben Hurley. 

The Billy T Award is in its thirteenth year, the NZ International Comedy Festival are delighted to announce that this year the nominees are:  Chris Brain, Dave Wiggins, James Keating, Jim Brown and Vaughan King. Audiences at Last Laugh are in for a treat; these nominees will be performing at their peak and using their finest comic material to battle it out for the prized yellow towel.

The second hotly contested prize is The FRED AWARD, named after black-singletted, gumboot-wearing legend that was Fred Dagg.  It was introduced in 2006’s Festival season; it recognises the achievements of professional New Zealand comedians.  Brendhan Lovegrove, Dai Henwood and Ben Hurley have all be recipients of the revered Gum Boot – who will try the boot on for size this year? 

Last Laugh is the grand finale of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2009, it is your final chance to get a giggle and guffaw in before the Festival closes for another year.

Be wary though – seats are limited and will sell out fast, so get in early to avoid disappointment.

Last Laughs plays:
Sunday May 24th, 7pm
Level 3, Cnr Wellesley & Hobson Sts, City
Tickets: Adults $45.00, Conc $39.50, Groups 10+ $39.50
Book at 0800 TICKETEK (0800 245 5385)

The spirit of great comedy is alive and kicking in NZ

Review by Joanna Davies 25th May 2009

It may be the International Comedy Festival but last night was New Zealand’s night. And what better way to wrap up the month’s laugh fest than with some awards? 

The Last Laugh is a great chance to sample the acts of the Billy T and Fred nominees before the awards are announced. The audience is filled with fellow comedians, comics and performers’ Mums as well as the few punters who manage to get tickets for the sell-out show.

This year’s nominees for the Billy T (the winner gets the coveted yellow towel, prestige and a smidgeon of cash) were Dave Wiggins, James Keating, Jim Brown, Vaughn King and Chris Brain. And together they proved that New Zealanders love self-deprecating humour.

Dave Wiggins, the fast-talking Yank-turned-Kiwi-citizen, made some fantastic observations on NZ culture (thanks Dave for being funny, not patronising). His use of his faith to segue into an assault on our military might was masterful.

James Keating followed with a deadpan delivery of his observations. He recounted tales of some of the ridiculous situations he’s found himself in and his tales of taunting off-shore contact centre staff was a highlight of the evening.

Vaughn King‘s wondrous inventions proved that Kiwi ingenuity is alive and well although best appreciated were his reflections on a TVC for a feminine hygiene product that features a particular animal (the commercial, not the product). Even the most prudish in the audience appreciated his suggestions for improvement.

Jim Brown was a legend in his own bathwater, and on the stage, letting us glimpse the workings of his mind, while Chris Brain showed us his mind’s recovery path in a very funny take on what constitutes "normal". 

Then it was intermission number one, a few well-chosen and well-received words for Festival Director Kylie Aitchison (my hat’s off to you, Kylie), the less-publicised awards for such things as the "Spirit of the Festival" and into the Fred nominees.

Paul Ego seemed a lot more comfortable in front of the crowd than he was in the more intimate setting of his Comeback Special. In fact I’d go so far as to say he was on fire.

Te Radar‘s exuberance about NZ’s criminal history was a lesson to us all, and we learned more about Steve Wrigley‘s 21st birthday exploits than we perhaps needed. Thanks for the tip on backyard cricket in a small property.

So (after a second drinks break) who won?

Chris Brain took home the yellow towel (nice one, Ben Hurley:  your throw-away comment about giving a former coke addict $5,000 got the biggest, longest laugh of the night). And the $3,000 travel grant and glorious gumboot went to Te Radar.

Congratulations to all the night’s winners, and the evening’s host, Jeremy Corbett. Yes, his shoes did look like bare feet – but very expensive bare feet – but he kept the audience in the palm of his hand with tongue-in-cheek bitterness about not being up for an award and an uncanny gift for ad-libbing. That’s not easy when the audience is made up of your peers. 

All in all the final night was a fitting end to what has been a massive festival. The banter between the comedians and the audience’s general piss-taking shows the spirit of great comedy is alive and kicking in NZ.

Don’t wait until 2010’s festival to see for yourself – get out to as many local shows as you can.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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