If there's one thing Kiwi comedians do well, it's a good bout of really, really uncomfortable awkwardness.

The Wireless is capitalising on that with a hilarious new series called Tough Crowd, in which this year's Billy T Nominees come up against their toughest crowd yet: their parents.

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Wellington comic Ray O'Leary is up first, bringing his dark and awkward style to the challenge.

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He whips out his phone and proceeds to mock the text message his mum sent when the family dog died, straight to his mother's face with zero regard for danger.

Luckily, Mum's a good sport and - by the looks of things - is too embarrassed to do much more than bury her head and laugh uncontrollably, even despite her son calling her out on her so-called "psychic powers" in front of everyone.

It's about as awkward as you'd hope it would be, and it's just the first in the series with O'Leary's fellow Billy T nominees Angella Dravid, Li'i Alaimoana, Patch Lambert and Paul Williams still to come.