The Best of the Billys
The famous comedy award was established in 1997 in New Zealand and there's certainly been a long list of winners - and near winners too.
Every year, this prestigious award's dished out to the hottest comedian on the circuit, in recognition for their talents.
And for a while now, every year at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, there's been a show collecting together past winners and parading them for our enjoyment. This year is no exception.
Hosted with ease by the ever amiable, much adored and hilarious Dai Henwood, six acts got their time to shine in the glow of the big yellow towel again. Henwood was on form, rocking out issues such as his height, life after 30, a recent rural tour and asthma issues. He's always a great compere - his bits are funny to the maximum but he knows there are others who deserve to shine on the bill too. A generous host, he made this show sizzle and crackle with the energy it needed.
There were six others on the bill - Steve Wrigley, Nick Gibb, Brendhan Lovegrove, Jan Maree, Rhys Mathewson and The Boy with Tape on his Face.
Each of these acts demonstrated why they've won before and each brought the funny to the stage - from Wrigley's talk of confusion over the new driving laws to Gibb's ever so slightly divisive (but smart) humour; from Lovegrove's raucous raunchy energy to Maree's honest hilarity; from Mathewson's croaky but confident performer to Tape Face's scene stealer, each was a masterclass in comedy. Every single gag was hilarious and each minute of it was worthy of our time.
What an ensemble show like this shows is just how healthy the Kiwi comedy scene is - and as we pull into the final week of the NZ International Comedy Festival, it's well worth checking out the talent out there before the new Billy T winner is unveiled for 2012.