SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

19/05/2013 - 19/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Some say it’s bigger than the Oscars AND the Grammys. For NZ comedy, those people are correct!

Ladies and gentlemen – it’s the Best of the Fest – Last Laughs, taking place on Sunday 19th May at SKYCITY Theatre in Auckland from 7pm. 

The veritable closing ceremony of the NZ International Comedy Festival is one that encompasses everything that the Festival has provided; a chance to rub shoulders with comedians, a killer night of comedy and for the performers on the evening, their one last Festival fling! Hosted by the bro–‐mantic duo of Ben Hurley (Billy T Award Winner 2004, Fred Award Winner 2008) and Steve Wrigley (Billy T Award Winner 2008), Last Laughs is where audiences will witness the crowning (or towelling, rather) of the 2013 Billy T Award winner, along with the hallowed gumboot – The Fred Award – with show–‐stopping performances from all the finalists.

So expect one last killer performance from Billy T nominees Rose Matafeo, Eli Mathewson, Tom Furniss, Pax and Joseph Moore.

Then watch as the three comedians up for best local show compete for The Fred Award.

The nominees for The Fred will be announced on Saturday 18th May. And if that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be surprise, special guests there to take to the stage.

Don’t miss the final comedy stand and the always sell–‐out affair that is Last Laughs!

Come celebrate and laugh yourself silly! 

For the full Festival line-up, sweetest deals and comedy news head to

SKYCITY Theatre Level 3, Cnr Wellesley St West & Hobson St
Ticket Range: $39.50 — $45
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) 
*Service fees will apply

Packed with quality: Awards announced

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 20th May 2013

Sky City has been the home of Last Laughs for many years now and what used to be very much an inner industry event has become a public showcase, and big. 750 seats of fans and practitioners alike have gathered tonight to find out who will take the New Zealand Comedy Industry’s highest accolades; The Fred Award and Billy T Award.

Ben Hurley and Steve Wrigley make formidable hosts; they are a good match. Steve is a Billy T Award judge and as such has to watch the show with his fellow judges in order to complete the process thus leaving Ben to run things solo for a while. First up are the five young comedians vying for NZ’s oldest and most coveted career launching award named in honour of comedy legend Billy T James.

Joseph Moore is outstanding from go to whoa and sets the bar high. His comedy is fresh and polished and impressive.

Not easy to follow an opening act who blows the show out of the room but Tom Furniss manages to do it. He is the last word in hipster comedy and is at the top of his game, Tom’s easy physicality reminds me of Robin Williams and David Cross, he has the makings of exceptional stuff.

I always enjoy watching third nominee Eli Mathewson, his energy is outstanding and he is magnetic. Tonight it is either nerves or exhaustion which are standing in the way of seeing him at his best though he completes a solid routine.

Fourth nominee Pax Assadi appears and instantly has the room on his side, he has funny bones and brings plenty of laughs with his very biographical material.

Rose Matafeo wraps up the first half of the show. She is cool, calm and collected as she delivers her sparkling gags with the ease of an old professional. Certainly the five nominees are outstanding in form this year and I do not envy Steve and his fellow judges their task.

The Fred Award recognises the outstanding work of an established professional kiwi comedian. This year the nominees are James Nokise, Nick Rado and Jarred Christmas. Before them however we are treated to this year’s RAW Quest winner Maarten Idema who handles the big room impressively. 

Rado’s performance is a picture of natural ease, as is Nokise’s but the standout here is Jarred Christmas for his quick wit; he delves into the crowd and gets plenty of big laughs proving without doubt that he is a solidly skilled professional working comic.

To be honest the show is so long that I find myself rueing the second break in proceedings, however making the decision to stick around is rewarded by UK comic James Acaster who I have already had the pleasure of seeing this festival and again tonight he is outstanding.

Ben and Steve are back and the awards are to be announced, this is sheer adrenaline stuff now, it is a shame that all around us are the empty seats of people who have left which I am sure is not a matter of quality, the show is just so very long…and on a school night.

The new award this year is The TV3 people’s Choice Award, which is presented to Urzila Carlson. 2012 Billy T Award winner Guy Williams opens the envelope and announces Rose Matafeo is this year’s winner. It has been ten years since a female comedian has taken the towel so as much as I know this sounds corny, it is a pure girl power moment for me! 

Rhys Darby won last year’s Fred Award and takes the stage to pass the mantle on. I am unsurprised when he announces Jarred Christmas the winner, the man is a genius!

Like I said the show is long but it is also very slick and packed full of quality acts. If this had been the only show I had seen at this year’s festival I would have been satisfied. A great end to three weeks of celebrating comedy in New Zealand.


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