Last Laughs celebrates best of Comedy Festival

The Billy T nominees: James, Laura, Matt, Alice and David. Photo / NZ Comedy Festival
The Billy T nominees: James, Laura, Matt, Alice and David. Photo / NZ Comedy Festival

Unlike the Comedy Gala opening, Last Laughs showcases almost exclusively Kiwi talent in a show where the question on everyone's minds is the same: what the hell is happening?

This year's Billy T nominees dominated the first half of the show, each with less than 10 minutes to show New Zealand what they were all about.

Jono and Ben and Funny Girls star Laura Daniel was first off the block, with a period joke to end all period jokes. Let's just say it involved a lot of fake blood - so much so, someone had to come and wipe it all off the stage before the next set.

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James Malcolm, Alice Brine and Matt Stellingwerf all performed, with Stellingwerf becoming a standout for being the only one to ditch the usual sex jokes for a set based entirely around the merits (or lack thereof) of homeopathy.

And then David Correos happened.

Prepare yourselves, David Correos is this year's Billy T Award winner. Photo / NZ Comedy Festival
Prepare yourselves, David Correos is this year's Billy T Award winner. Photo / NZ Comedy Festival

From start to finish, his set was just totally absurd. If you've ever wanted to see a man strip down, paint his face and dance around the stage, this show is for you. If you ever wanted to see a man eat a mouthful of cinnamon, drink a litre of milk, eat a whole egg and snort a condom (and who hasn't, am I right?) this is the show for you.

Even host Paul Ego was flabbergasted saying what we were all thinking: "What the hell did I just watch?"

But Correos was dubbed the winner of the Yellow Towel this year - accepting his award by stripping down to his underwear and screaming, prompting Ego to wonder just what's going to happen once Correos gets on 7 Days, as is part of the prize.

The Fred Award for best New Zealand show was also handed out last night, going to "the Zac Efron" of New Zealand, Rhys Mathewson, who - not to be outdone by Correos - stripped fully naked on stage in celebration.

Other performances included Fred Award nominees Nic Sampson and Pax Assadi, Raw Comedy Quest winner Lucy Roche, and international guest Jimmy McGhie, while Ego tied the whole thing together with a few killer jokes of his own.

Last Laughs is a chance to see New Zealand's rising comedy stars first, and a look at where the industry is at. Where that is, is a pretty weird place, but one which is more diverse, accepting, open and entirely remarkable.

Also good luck getting the image of Laura Daniel dragging herself across a blood-soaked stage out of your head.

- NZ Herald

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