The Best of the Billys

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

11/05/2009 - 11/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


The NZ International Comedy Festival are delighted to invite Tui on board this year to host this uniquely kiwi comedy event.  For the first time ever we bring together past winners of the esteemed ‘Billy T award’ awards for The BEST OF THE BILLYS Showcase. 

The Billy T Award was inspired by and named after New Zealands’ much-loved Billy T James, and is now in its thirteenth year – a testament to the depth and history of comedy in NZ.  The Award is an initiative of the NZ Comedy Trust and aims to ensure the continued growth of live comedy in NZ – and judging by this event’s line up, it has certainly achieved that! 

The ‘Billy T Award’ has created a legacy for New Zealand comedians; previous winners include: Cal Wilson, Ewen Gilmour, Te Radar, Sugar and Spice, Philip Patston, Humourbeasts, Mike Loder, Paul Ego, Brendhan Lovegrove, Jan Maree, Ben Hurley, Dai Henwood, Sam Wills, Cori Gonzalez Macuer, mrs.peacock and Steve Wrigley.  

On the 11th May – inaugural winner Ewen Gilmour will host a legendary line up that includes Dai Henwood, the lovable larrikin of New Zealand Comedy; Paul Ego, who is returning to the Festival stage after 9 years away; Brendhan Lovegrove, who will keep audiences on their toes with his quick wit;  and the latest addition to the alumni – the fabulous Steve Wrigley.

Audiences can come and watch why these New Zealand comedians were the chosen ones   Guaranteed award winning comedy.

One Night Only!
Monday May 11, 7.30pm
Level 3, Cnr Wellesley & Hobson Sts, City
Adults $42.50 /Conc. $39.50/Groups 10+ $39.50
Book @ 0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) 


A long night – but a great one

Review by Joanna Davies 12th May 2009

Kiwi comedians aren’t a patch on the festival’s overseas talent. Yeah right.  

It was a tough crowd at SkyCity. Either people were half asleep or just slow, but the line-up of Kiwi stars had their work cut out for them. Frankly, that wasn’t fair. We were there to see the best of the best – and they were.

MC for the night, and 1997 co-winner of the Billy T Award (the most absorbent award in NZ comedy), Ewen Gilmour, soared and flailed in equal measure. He was right, we staunch locals laugh on the inside. It was Gilmour’s job to take us back in time act by act and, so as not to upset Rhys Darby, I shan’t give punch lines away.

In 2008 the Yellow Towel Billy went to Steve Wrigley who’s done great things since his win. He talked us through his tour of Invercargill via Taupo’s vast airport and it was as though we were there.

The previous year’s winners are duo Mrs Peacock (New Zealand’s other musical comedians) who gave us lesson in Christian rock and Emo performance – complete with costume change.

Cori Gonzalez-Maucer wore his 2006 towel with pride and in a dry, dead-pan fashion compared the passion of football fans in South America (who are killed for wearing an opposing team’s strip) with rugby fans here. It was terrifying.

2005’s winner Sam Wills couldn’t join us – he’s on tour overseas – so Ben Hurley stepped up, without his 2004 towel, to give the blokes advice on how and when to use subliminal messages to get what you want.

The 2003 winner and the first female comic of the night, Justine Smith is gearing up to be "more slutty in her 40s". Men, beware! She was fabulous and in total command of the stage.

Justine was followed by Dai Henwood (2002) who has very good reasons for passing a law that people have to hire a moving company rather than use their mates (although as I’m moving in a month it’s good to know his car has a towbar…)

During the interval punters were invited to enter the comp to win 52 dozen Tui and other great Tui prizes. All they had to do was enter a billboard slogan. For many that meant the biggest joke of the evening was that 624 bottles of beer went to a non-beer drinker.

Then it was straight back into it with 2001’s Jan Maree taking us on a night out in Wellington as a 16 year old when the drinking age was 20 (ah, those were the days).

2000-winner Mike Loder shared the joke that sparked an official complaint. He got a letter and now wants a collection of them. It’s a damn good joke though – and it got the biggest laugh of the night.

Paul Ego’s back on the comedy circuit after branching into radio. He talked through the differences between the two stations he’s worked for and delivered a priceless talk-back monologue.

Like us, 1999 winner Philip Patston was taught not to stare at those who have a "unique experience of life" so he avoided mirrors for years. Then Brendhan Lovegrove – observed that it takes more than 3 weeks to pick up an accent, unless you move to Browns Bay (pron. Braahns Bay).

At just under three hours it was a long night – but a great one. And we Kiwis need to get over our cultural cringe. Sure, top international acts can put our local comedians to shame, but not the Billy winners. Be proud NZ! Support them too; get out to see their shows (checkout the festival site for details) and demand they repeat the night’s event next year.

This year’s Billy T Award winner will be announced at The Last Laugh on Sunday 24th at SkyCity Theatre. See you there. 
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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