A huge comedy festival at the end of July will highlight some of the homegrown comedy in Hawke's Bay.
Sarah Lilburn and Karen Leslie are two of the local comedians who will perform at the Laugh Your Mask Off Gala in the Toitoi: Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre Opera House and at the Local Laughs show for two nights at Common Room in Hastings.
Lilburn runs an open mic night monthly at Common Room, while Leslie does the same at The Cabana in Napier.
Lilburn said the comedy scene in Hawke's Bay was fairly new, having only really begun around 2016.
She began doing stand-up not long after that, but Leslie has performed since the 1990s in Auckland.
Leslie said she took a break from comedy after doing "appallingly badly" at it to raise her son.
She decided to take up comedy again about 18 years later after seeing a poster at a local cafe and now had performed across the North Island.
"I am still trying to get the courage go back up to Auckland and give it another go."
She said she hadn't performed for an audience in the hundreds since the '90s, so her experience wouldn't count for much at the upcoming festival where the Toitoi Opera House has seating for 979 people.
"I'm really looking forward to it though, it's going to be so much fun."
Lilburn said the largest show she had done before this had been about 60 people.
"The feeling of when you tell a joke and a whole lot of people laugh is such a good feeling."
Leslie said Hawke's Bay audiences were typically more reserved than audiences in places like Wellington.
"They're far more likely to sit there and smile and nod, whereas you tell the same joke in Wellington and they're screaming the roof down."
Lilburn said she thought Hawke's Bay audiences were highly supportive of comedians.
"In Hawke's Bay they're really enthusiastic. If they don't like it then maybe they'll just leave and not come back, but they won't yell at you."
Leslie said her favourite comedian was up-and-comer Kajun Campbell Brooking, who originally hails from Hastings and will be hosting Local Laughs.
Lilburn said her favourite comedian was Dave Chappelle.
"I love Dave Chappelle, I could watch his specials over and over again and still laugh."
The entire comedy festival in late July will be over four days, with 19 shows across four Hastings venues.
The venues will be two different Toitoi: Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre stages, Common Room and Spaceship, and all the tickets will be $25 each.