Words Zoe Reid

Kicking off this years Comedy Fest calendar with one hell of a comedy showcase at Q Theatre was a good way to spend a Friday night, it was an introduction to this year’s exceptional Billy T Award nominees – and there were some goodies too.

Hosted by the affable Rhys Mathewson, who took out The Fred and the Billy T Awards. You may have recently seen him on The Project or at a wrestling match.

The Billy T Award is named in honour of THE ‘cuz’, Billy T James. The award is an initiative of the New Zealand Comedy Trust that aims to recognise and support up-and-coming NZ comedians with outstanding potential and commitment to their comedy career.

Melanie Bracewell opened and was by far my favourite act, telling tales of the perils that come along with Tinder and online dating, and just generally being a bit of a tall woman. Her delivery was charming and very relatable.

7 Days guest Alice Snedden with her ‘alpha ovaries’ shared her stories of growing up as a ‘Ponsonby’ princess and having an overly political mother. Also telling us some unexpected issues a woman might face when going into Hooters..!

Comedy pop duo Two hearts (Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore) were quite clearly a crowd favourite with their catchy ode to the late actor Alan Rickman and anti ghost slut shaming campaign. Their confident delivery and catchy tunes, for me, made their performance one of the best of the night.

Snort Improv’s Donna Brookbanks awkwardly entered the stage after a long winded climb through the crowd sans pants. Which would be everyone’s worst nightmare really, performing on stage In your underwear. She saved the day eventually by manoeuvring precariously into a wet suit.

James Malcom delved into what hell it was like ‘knowing your mother has 12kg dildo collection’ and the concept of blow jobs vs actual blow jobs. Although young, he had a confident stage presence and delivery that was extremely funny.

To bring the night to a close Angela Dravid, last years Billy T winner, won us over with her extremely deadpan but captivating delivery. She honestly deserved another award for shutting down an inappropriate heckler trying to pre-empt her punchline with such style and grace. All in all a great Friday night putting me in the right frame of mind for the weekend. You can catch all of the Billy T Nominees’ solo shows at the NZ International Comedy Festival, 26 April – 20 May