The Billy T and FRED Award winners 2017 crowned at Last Laughs

Last night at the final show of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. the Festival came to a close after 115 shows in Auckland and 68 shows in Wellington. I’ve been to six Last Laughs and this has to be the best yet; a well-paced show with an extremely high caliber of acts along with the brilliant Jesse Griffin hosting.

Over a few hours, the SKYCITY Theatre hosted the five Billy T nominees, The four FRED Award finalists, The Raw Comedy Quest winner and UK comic Adam Hess.

Griffin opened the show with a song and dance number, a sort of ode to gingers that was hilarious and included cameos from other great ginger kiwis comics including Nick Samson on drums. The bar was set and he set it high for this funny festival finale.

Angella Dravid
Angella Dravid Billy T Award Winner 2017.

First up for the Billy T Nominees was Li’i Alaimoana who had some great tales of life as a father of seven. Ray O’leary followed recounting his mother’s psychic ability with dogs, all delivered deadpan with perfect timing. Paul Williams shared his random opinions, complete with hilarious musical stab, as well as treating us to the second musical number of the night, he’s one talented man. Angella Dravid got intimate by sharing some of her sexual experiences that were enough to make your toes curl. Her delivery was composed and monotone giving her punchiness the perfect build-up. Finally, the very likable Patch Lambert delivered his laid back set on life in ‘The Hutt’.

The FRED Award finalists kicked of the second half beginning with Eli Matthewson, whose material on rubbish sex-ed resulted in some great roars of laughter from the audience. Rose Matafeo was next with her energetic set that covered 90’s movie clichés, clever relatable observations, and random silliness. Next up was an absolute treat, and one of the highlights of the night, when Chris Parker graced the stage as Guy Montgomery’s understudy (Guy was out of the country so unable to perform). His Mongomeryesq exaggerated physicality, gyrating and delivery was a pure joy. Lastly came the Fuq Boiz, Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Richards, who gave us a very Monty Python style sketch of two performers obsessed with one disengaged audience member, it was brilliant mayhem.

Rose Matafeo review
Rose Matafeo FRED Award winner 2017.

Raw Comedy Quest winner, 18-year-old Ruby Esther, totally held her own with some solid material and a musical number around her parents thinking she was gay.

Adam Hess then stormed the stage with a fantastic set around his drunken exploits in Auckland, shared some of his thoughts on the Queen’s hair and gave examples of his general awkwardness that resulted in hilarity everytime. A great international guest to finish off the show.

Then the results were in and it was very pleasing the two women went away with the prizes making it a comedy hat trick for the females this year. Angella Dravid won the Billy T Award for 2017 and Rose Matafeo took home The Fred Award for 2017 both popular and well-deserved winners.

So, there we have it the end of another festival but after Last Laughs you don’t need to worry as we have plenty of talented homegrown comics for you to enjoy all year round.

Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.