The Blog


New Zealand Comedy Trust presents
April 30 – May 24, 2020


With Paul Sinha, Josie Long, and Felicity Ward leading the charge with shows in Auckland and Wellington, the Fest are delighted to welcome a host of comedic superstars from around the globe in 2020. Hitting both cities this Fest is returning Finnish delight Ismo Leikola, along with some unique new acts on the comedy scene, including Japanese comedy export Takashi Wakasugi, science-comedy fusion act and beekeeper Alanta Colley, and Australia’s rowdy Pub Choir (where the audience gets to sing!). Plus Heath Franklin’s Chopper can be seen in 15 centres on his massive New Zealand tour kicking off this May! They join a sumptuous feast of international wunderkinds who make their way to Tāmaki Makaurau for the 2020 programme, including Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock sensation Tracy Morgan, USA’s Josh Wolf; Brits Ben Elton, Dane Baptiste, Jamali Maddix, Laura Lexx, Tom Deacon, and David Baddiel, who has recently been seen in TVNZ’s Taskmaster; and a stellar bunch of talented comics from across the ditch, including Becky Lucas, Cassie Workman, Gen Fricker, Matt Okine, Fiona O’Loughlin, Aaron Chen and Sam Campbell, alongside the NZ debut of four-piece Aboriginal Comedy Allstars who bring their exceptional indigenous comedy to our shores.

Local heroes are also set to shine in Auckland and Wellington this Comedy Fest, with homegrown comedy on a meteoric rise. 2019 Festival Director’s Award winner Eli Matthewson, 2019 Billy T nominee Donna Brookbanks, Frickin Dangerous Bro’s Jamaine Ross, the mastermind behind Aunty Johanna Cosgrove, 2018 Billy T nominee Li’i Alaimoana, and local legend Ben Hurley are all back with brand-new hours, along with the globe-trotting surreal circus act Laser Kiwi who come home to debut their new show. They join the masterful Tape Face who is also returning to Aotearoa after wowing audiences the world over, and sell-out Festival faves Two Hearts (Laura Daniel & Joseph Moore) and The Fan Brigade, who all perform their full hour shows in both cities after what we’re sure will be star spots on the Best Foods Comedy Gala line-up!

The Best Foods Comedy Gala is just one of eight annual delights from the NZ Comedy Trust, with proceeds all helping the not-for-profit charity continue to grow the booming comedy industry in Aotearoa. Returning bigger and better for 2020, these special shows have been produced by the Trust to ensure there’s truly something for everyone in this year’s programme: the Basement Theatre Preview Show whets the comedic whistle with a tease of their programme before the Fest officially launches; Stand Up For Kids offers a chance for our smallest comedy fans to giggle in a show tailored to 4-8 year olds; the next generation of comedy legends get their turn at the mic in the Class Comedians Showcase; treat mum on Mother’s Day with the story-telling show Dialogue, this year hosted by 2019 Billy T Award winner Kura Forrester for a bit of comedy done different; directly before the Best Comedy Show on Earth which promises another huge line-up; Wellingtonians get their own curated line-up of Festival excellence with the blockbuster Late Laughs; and the Festival closes with a bang as the 2020 Fred and Billy T awards are handed out after live performances at Electric Kiwi Last Laughs, hosted by Michele A’Court! Plus the Best Foods Comedy Gala kicks everything off in true style, hosted by the incredible Felicity Ward.

If April seems too far away to sink your teeth into some comedic treats, the Electric Kiwi Billy T Jams on Friday 28 February offers the first chance to preview some world-class talent on offer in the 2020 Comedy Fest programme. Recognising and supporting NZ comedians with outstanding potential and commitment to their comedy career, five up-and-coming comics are in the running for the Billy T Award this year: Brynley Stent, James Mustapic, Josh Davies, Lana Walters, and Ray O’Leary. Previous winners have been Taika Waititi and Jamaine Clement (as The Humourbeasts) and Rose Matafeo – so you know these folks are going places! The nominees all perform in the showcase hosted by Kura Forrester with a guest appearance from Tom Sainsbury, before taking their solo shows to Auckland and Wellington during the Fest, and wrapping up with a final performance at the Electric Kiwi Last Laughs.


The full 2020 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo programme goes live and on-sale through at midday Thursday 27 February.

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