McRoberts takes on world, MPs hit cafes again, and Paquin dazzles media mogul.

The annual New Zealand International Comedy Festival began on Friday night with the comedy gala at the Aotea Centre hosted by American funny man Greg Behrendt, who's most famous for coining the rom-com phrase, "He's just not that into you."

He was, however, very into us. "It was seriously one of the best nights of comedy I've ever seen. Lucky to have been a part of it," Behrendt tweeted.

Others weren't so cultivated in their admiration, or wordy. Jeremy Corbett offered laconic praise to Irish comic Jason Byrne: "You were fkn hilarious, man. Cried."


Kiwi comics Ben Hurley, Rhys Darby, Ewen Gilmour, Dai Henwood, Wilson Dixon, Steve Wrigley and The Boy With Tape on his Face performed routines alongside 14 comedians from around the world, including Britain's Milton Jones, Urzila Carlson from South Africa, Scotland's Janey Godley, Marcel Lucont from France and Stephen K. Amos from the UK, who described our comedy festival as "now well on track for something".

On track for big numbers, we hope.

The gala screens on TV3 tonight and the festival concludes on May 20.


TV3 star Mike McRoberts will front Three60, a Sunday morning current affairs show starting this weekend, following The Nation. It will look at the week's international politics and business stories.

McRoberts, who has penned a book about his time as a foreign correspondent, will interview politicians and newsmakers, bringing a New Zealand slant to international stories. He will be joined by Guyon Espiner.

TV3 news chief Mark Jennings says the show will appeal to those upset at the demise of TVNZ7.

"It will be the place to go if you are interested in a deeper look at international news. We think there is a demand for a high-quality current affairs programme that looks at the big stories happening in the world."

Big demand for international politics on Sunday mornings? There's no denying Three60's timeslot will pitch it up against TVNZ's Q+A.

McRoberts fronts 60 Minutes, which has seen a revival in ratings since Espiner joined the team.

However, TV3 is likely to lose the popular news franchise this year if the deal with American network CBS is not renewed.

CBS shows such as CSI, NCIS and America's Next Top Model continue to rate well in the States, but ratings have flagged here. MediaWorks bosses are reviewing whether it is worth retaining the multimillion-dollar deal. If not, 60 Minutes will be part of the collateral damage.

The money saved is likely to be put towards producing a new local Sunday night current affairs show.

Money will also be spent on acquiring high-rating shows, such as GC (the Maori-Aussie version of Jersey Shore), which starts this week.

And the long-awaited New Zealand X-Factor, which TV3 is in talks with Dominic Bowden to host, is also likely to finally get the go-ahead.


John Banks, who can't remember discussing a $50,000 donation from Kim Dotcom, is partial to a cup of tea in Newmarket with a National chum.

However, he's not expected to be there on Friday having a soothing cuppa with the man who was reluctant to win the seat.

National list MP Paul Goldsmith, who stood in Epsom against Banks, is hosting a policy breakfast at Gee Gee's brasserie near Alexandra Park on Friday for electorate members, who are paying $35 a ticket to hear ACC Minister Judith Collins make a speech.

Michelle Boag, who's noticeably not been wearing her collection of blue sateen jackets lately, is unlikely to be a topic of discussion. Neither will Labour luvvies Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little, who were reportedly advised by Collins' lawyers on Friday that defamation proceedings are being issued against them.

Nor will the tape recording made by Nick Smith frenemy Bronwyn Pullar at the infamous December ACC meeting - and now made public.

It's bound to be a controversy-free zone. As far as cuppas go, paying punters may want a lie-down afterwards. And a snooze.


The Herald's pic yesterday of a pregnant and glowing Anna Paquin at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday night showed the mum-to-be wearing a plunging Herve Leroux halterneck dress that clung to her baby bump.

Paquin, whose sister Katya is the partner of Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, posed with husband Stephen Moyer, Washington Post publishing heiress Katharine Weymouth and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, who sold the online paper to internet conglomerate AOL last year for a whopping US$315 million ($383 million).

Huffington shamelessly posted the pic of her newfound celebrity pals on Twitter like a star-struck fan.

The True Blood stars sat at the Huffington Post table next to Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis, US Attorney-General Eric Holder, Twilight star Dakota Fanning, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, Glee actor Darren Criss and Republican senator Rand Paul.

Less-salubrious names were also quick to accept the Washington invitation, including Kim Kardashian, Elle Macpherson and Lindsay Lohan, who rubbed shoulders with the Obamas, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor.


PS: She may be taking the US by storm, but Kimbra is not too proud to admit when she's flummoxed by fame. "I was star-struck hanging out with Kylie Minogue at the Arias last year," she told Sydney's Sunday Telegraph. "I was so focused on my performance, I forgot I was nominated. Once that was over, I was pretty relaxed - until Kylie said she was into my album, then I just thought, what a crazy night."