Two former partners took home the top honours on the final night of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, in a further sign of the changing face of local comedy.
At the Last Laughs showcase in Auckland last night, Eli Matthewson won the Fred Award for the best overall show, while Brynley Stent took home the Billy T Award for rising talent.
While the two comedians were ecstatic in their victories, there were pleased to have won together, having dated as teenagers prior to their comedy careers and before Matthewson came out as gay.
Speaking after their wins, Stent said this spoke of the journey they have both gone on together.
"I would love to go back in time and tell 18-year-old Eli and Brynley who had just started dating what a crazy ride was coming," Matthewson added.
"It's been so pretty cool how awesome our lives have intertwined."
Matthewson has become one of the only LGBT comedians to win the Fred Award, which is named after John Clarke's iconic character Fred Dagg.
He won for his show, Daddy Short-legs, where he spoke about being a queer comedian and coming to terms with a revelation from his father. Matthewson said he loves seeing the growth of LGBT comedy in the country.
"I started doing stand-up 10 years ago, and when I started there was Urzila [Carlson] and me, and that was all the queer people doing comedy in the country at the time.
"It's really evolved since then. Now all the gay people are selling out and killing it."
In one part of his show, Matthewson referenced one internet troll who disparagingly compared him to John Clarke, and said it "rocks" to have won an award named after him.
Stent, who won for her sketch comedy show Soft Carnage where she embraced her dark sense of humour, said it was great to see another sketch comic win an award named after Billy T James.
"It feels like that's what he did best."
She is the fourth woman in a row to win the Billy T Award, the first time that has ever happened. The award has historically been dominated by men, with just eight women amongst the 32 people to have won the prize.
She said it was "about time" and hoped more female comics would take home the prize in the future. "I feel very grateful to be part of a long legacy of female winners."
Comedy Festival general manager Lauren Whitney said she has watched the two comedians start out and they have "grown and grown and grown" since then and was overjoyed with both winners.
Last Laughs marks the final night of the International Comedy Festival, which has been made up almost entirely of domestic comedians this year due to border closures.
Whitney said that while they look forward to inviting international comedians back, the Kiwi comedians have put on a fantastic show this year.
"I think people can have a great knowledge that we have some wonderful talent writing amazing shows and reflecting what's happening in the world, right here in New Zealand."
Other awards handed out last night included Best Newcomer, which went to Maria Williams for Anxiety…The Musical!? and Tess Sullivan as Bobby Wood for If You Met My Mum, You'd Understand, and the Director's Choice was shared by Abby Howells for HarleQueen and Jadwiga Green for Cardigan Faget.
Previous Fred and Billy winners include Rose Matafeo, Dai Henwood, Ben Hurley and Rhys Matthewson.