A full house settled in for the NZ comedy version of the Oscars and the finale of the NZ International Comedy Festival – Last Laughs – hosted by the lanky Paul Ego who tickled the crowd with anticipation for what lay round the corner. During two hours we watched the hopefuls for this year’s Billy T Award and Fred Award’s perform their best material for the judges consideration.
From the Billy T Award nominees we saw a bloody grand opening by the vivacious Laura Daniel that was quickly followed by James Malcom’s hauntingly real depiction of an Upper Huttian finding himself. The segment was fraught with sexual tension, but, in the end, he nailed his ‘exit’ strategy. Second-time nominee, Matt Stellingwerf, delivered in his relaxed style and created a convincing argument against homeopathy. Alice Brine’s dick jokes hit home as most of the males in the audience felt the fear over the course of her sketch. The final nominee, David Correos, rounded off with absolute mayhem, think the joker from Batman except with a mo.
So, the results – the 2016 Billy T Award and yellow towel went to the hyperactive Correos for his show Second Place Winner who stripped down, rubbed his gut and pranced around the stage screaming. Ego had a right to be concerned about Correos’ role on 7 Days as part of his prize pack – someone’s going to get feathered! The Fred Dagg Golden Gumboot was presented to the chummy Rhys Mathewson, for his one-man show Nouveau Rhys, who the crowd unanimously believed to have deserved it. Nic Sampson and Pax-man Assadi, who were Rhys’ competition, also pulled out some zingers, while Jimmy McGhie was a stellar holdover act while the judges’ deliberations went on. Wondering how he could top Correos’ acceptance jig, Mathewson got fully naked and held the gumboot in front of his pale junk while thanking his parents in the crowd and his fellow comedians.
An absolute cracker way to round off the festival and a huge bucket of kudos to Ego for doing such a mint job on the mic between sketches and keeping the energy sparking. Next year let’s open the festival with these guys and hope by then Mathewson has some new clothes since Jesse Griffin threw the entire outfit, inc shoes, into the audience as souvenirs – sweaty, pre-worn souvenirs.
Reviewed by Nic Brookland
Last Laughs was the final show in the Flick Electric 2016 New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Until next year guys, in the meantime keep supporting local comedy.