To honour the memory of hugely successful comedian Billy T James the New Zealand Comedy Trust created the annual Billy T Award to support up-and-coming comedians and take their comedy career to the next level.
At the 2012 Comedy gala the annual Billy T Award was won by Guy Williams, who recently performed a farewell song to Sonny Bill Williams (no relation) for TV3’s Jono & Ben at Ten.
Last night fifteen of New Zealand’s emerging comedians gave exceptional performances at The Classic as they competed for a spot in the final five, a tough decision for the judges!
Brendhan Lovegrove and Steve Wrigley, previous Billy T Award winners. were amongst the judging panel alongside Oliver Sealy (Channel Manager TVNZ U), Jackie van Beek (Actor/Writer/Director) and Nigel McCulloch (The Down Low Concept whose productions include TV3’s 7 Days and Hounds).
These final five nominees for the 2013 Billy T Award were selected on their proven comedic ability, talent, dedication, current form and potential, and will be judged on all aspects of their 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival show.
Eli Matthewson – Nominee for Best Newcomer at this year’s Comedy Festival for his joint show ‘Minority Report’ with James Roque and Edith Poor. About to graduate with a Bachelor Of Performing & Screen Arts in Acting at Unitec, Eli also travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe this year to perform ‘Square Eye Pair’ with Hamish Parkinson, a show that had won them Best Comedy at the Auckland Fringe in 2011 and one that we reviewed too!
Joseph Moore – A writer, director, actor and now stand-up comedian. Joseph has been involved in the Comedy Festival for five years with hits such as ‘Bombs Away! A Musical’, ‘Space Race’ and this year he went to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with ‘Fanfiction Comedy’. Next year’s Comedy Festival will see his first solo show.
Pax – A finalist in the Raw Comedy competition in 2011, Pax has come a long way very quickly. A first generation Kiwi of Middle Eastern heritage Pax has his own perspective on how things roll. His friend Chris describes his style of comedy as “calm and confident, but with a bit of Jihad on the end of it”. Pax thought “Is that racist?… Yeah it is, but it’s cool and I took it as a compliment. Rest in peace Chris.”
Rose Matafeo – Popular host of TVNZ’s U Live and a Billy T Nominee in 2012, Rose graduated the Class Comedians programme in 2007 and has gone on to see huge success as the host of ‘Fanfiction Comedy’ and with her solo Comedy Festival shows including ‘Scout’s Honour’ and ‘Life Lessons I’ve Learnt From The 60s Based On Things I’ve Seen On Television’.
Tom Furniss – Winner of the V48HOURS in 2011 for Grand Cheval’s Fad Film ‘The Child Jumpers’ and a Billy T Nominee in 2012, Tom had a sell-out season of his first solo show ‘The Free Ice Cream Show’ at the Comedy Festival this year and also performed in Melbourne with ‘Fanfiction Comedy’.
Final performances and judging will take place at Last Laughs, on Sunday 19 May 2013. Congratulations and can’t wait to see them all at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival 2013!!