Key Points:

With free chocolate on arrival, there were smiles aplenty at the Crunchie Comedy Gala on Friday night, even before the comics took to the stage.

Marking the launch of the month-long NZ International Comedy Festival, 23 local and international comedians performed at the gala, hosted by British comic Jeff Green.

The sold-out event was held at the Civic Theatre for the first time in the festival's history, as the St James Theatre remains closed following last year's fire.

Highlight: The high level of interest in and support for the festival. The gala still sold out weeks in advance despite the larger venue.

Lowlight: That several of the international acts were only in town for the weekend.

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