Te Radar has the Last Laugh
A show about Kiwi blunders and one from a professional depressive took out the top honours as The New Zealand International Comedy Festival came to an end in Auckland.
At the Last Laugh gala event in front of a capacity crowd at Auckland's Sky City Theatre, Chris Brain was handed the prestigious Billy T Award for 2009 symbolized by a yellow towel and named after the iconic New Zealand comic.
Brain's show in 2009 was called A Better Place and saw the comedian exploring some of the darker regions of his personal life and sharing them with audiences at the festival.
On stage, Brain was stunned when his name was revealed by 2008's winner Steve Wrigley and at a loss for words before going on to thank his family for their support and fellow Billy T nominees Dave Wiggins, Vaughan King, Jim Brown and James Keating.
Radar took out the coveted Fred Dagg award, symbolized by a golden gumboot, and was also given the Best Local Act award.
Popular young comic Rhys Mathewson was also honoured by his peers tonight - the teen comedian picked up the Best Newcomer award for his first solo show at the NZ International Comedy Festival, entitled "The Best $18 You Will Ever Spend."
The audience at SkyCity was a mix of comics and the public with the likes of Rhys Darby, Ben Hurley, Dai Henwood, Ewen Gilmour, Jamie Bowen, Jason Cook and Simon McKinney all mingling with the audiences to celebrate the best of the festival.
Organisers of this year's event reckon around 80,000 people attended shows during the festival's 3 week run. Various acts from the festival now head off around the country as part of a Comedy Convoy.
Winners at the 2009 Last Laugh gala closing event:
Billy T Award 2009 - Winner Chris Brain
Fred Award 2009 - Winner Te Radars Eating the Dog
Best Newcomer - Rhys Mathewson
Spirit of the Festival award (Wellington) - Derek Flores
Spirit of the Festival award (Auckland) - Jeremy Elwood
Best Marketing - Notorious Ent for Dai Henwood's Shabba
Best Local Act (Wellington) - Jan Maree
Best Local Act (Auckland)- Te Radar
Best International Show - Carey Marx