Rose Matafeo was the big winner at the annual NZ Comedy Guild Awards last night.

Comedians from all over the country gathered at The Classic in Auckland to celebrate a big year for the local industry, recognising overseas successes and burgeoning local scenes taking off around New Zealand.

UK-based Matafeo won the Kevin Smith Memorial Cup For Outstanding Artist Achievement following a successful year that included a star turn on comedy panel game show Taskmaster and the recent announcement of an HBO Max comedy special.

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This is the second year in a row Matafeo has won the award, joining past winners Rhys Darby, Te Radar, and Flight Of The Conchords among other icons of Kiwi comedy.

Producer and director Paul Horan claimed the Executive Board Medal, recognising his immense effort in collating, documenting, and archiving the history of New Zealand comedy while making the critically acclaimed docu-series and book Funny As. Based in Melbourne, Horan accepted the award via a message read by Michele A'Court.


"Remembering the history of kiwi comedy was a big part of New Zealand's year, and we wanted to reflect and acknowledge that with our Executive Board Medal", said Comedy Guild Chair and comedian Donna Brookbanks.

Meanwhile, the nominees for Best Comedy Venue featured a South Island venue for the first time, with Queenstown's Yonder picking up a nomination, before Auckland's Basement Theatre was declared the eventual winner.

Abe Gray and Guy Williams at the Cannabis Museum in Dunedin. Photo / NZ Herald.
Abe Gray and Guy Williams at the Cannabis Museum in Dunedin. Photo / NZ Herald.

Breakthrough Comedians who have risen to new levels over the year were also voted on, with Ray O'Leary, Li'i Alaimoana, and Audrey Porne being tapped as the new ones to watch around the country.

"Kiwi comedy is booming right now, and it's great to see local comedians being told they're doing well by their peers," said Comedy Guild board member and stand-up comedian Brendon Green.

"We're a funny country, and our comedians are world class, so we should celebrate that."

International comedian and star of The Chase Paul Sinha was voted Best International Guest for his visit during the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival.

Paul Sinha from The Chase. Photo / ITV.
Paul Sinha from The Chase. Photo / ITV.

Nick Rado was a double winner for Best Male Comedian and Best MC, with Justine Smith taking home Best Female Comedian. Paul Douglas picked up two awards for Best Gag and Best Show, for his NZ International Comedy Festival show Fire Yarns.

Wellington Paranormal won Best Comedy Writing for Film or TV, while it was the hugely popular NZ Today hosted by Guy Williams that took out the Best Performance On TV award.


The awards are nominated by and voted for by members of the New Comedy industry, which is represented by the NZ Comedy Guild.