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Billy T Award

Started in 1997 and inspired by comedy legend Billy T James, this award celebrates the growth of fresh talent in the New Zealand comedy industry. Each year it is awarded to an outstanding emerging performer with a commitment to their comedy career.

Up to five nominees are selected on their proven comedic ability, talent, current form and potential. The nominees go on to perform their one-hour solo shows in the Festival, where they are judged by a panel of industry experts. The Billy T Award winner is then announced at Last Laughs, our Festival finale show.

Past Winners and Nominees of the Billy T Award:

Year Winner Nominees



Advait Kirtikar
Lana Walters

Tough Tiger Fist
Rhiannon McCall
Liv McKenzie


Abby Howells

Gabby Anderson
Jack Ansett
Janaye Henry
Maria Williams

2021 Brynley Stent James Mustapic
Josh Davies
Lana Walters
2020 Did not run because of disruption due to Covid-19

Brynley Stent
James Mustapic
Josh Davies
Lana Walters
Ray O'Leary

2019 Kura Forrester Donna Brookbanks
James Mustapic
Ray Shipley
Tom Sainsbury
2018 Melanie Bracewell Alice Snedden
Donna Brookbanks
James Malcolm
Two Hearts (Laura Daniel & Joseph Moore)
2017 Angella Dravid Paul Williams
Li'i Alaimoana
Ray O'Leary
Patch Lambert
2016 David Correos Alice Brine
James Malcolm
Laura Daniel
Matt Stellingwerf
2015 Hamish Parkinson Eli Matthewson
Matt Stellingwerf
Nic Sampson
Tim Batt
2014 Guy Montgomery Brendon Green
Jamaine Ross
Stephen Witt
Tim Batt
2013 Rose Matafeo Tom Furniss
Eli Matthewson
Pax Assadi
Joseph Moore
2012 Guy Williams Tom Furniss
Rose Matafeo
Tevita Manukia
TJ McDonald
2011 Nick Gibb Joseph Harper
Urzila Carlson
Nick Rado
Cameron Murray
2010 Rhys Mathewson Jarred Fell
Clayton Carrick-Leslie
Vaughan King
TJ McDonald
2009 Chris Brain Jim Brown
James Keating
Vaughan King
Dave Wiggins
2008 Steve Wrigley Simon McKinney
Grant Lobban
The Lonesome Buckwhips
Jim Brown
2007 Mrs Peacock (Jarrod Baker and Dave Smith) Alex Hawley
Jamie Bowen
Grant Lobban
2006 Cori Gonzalez-Macuer James Nokise
Jerome Chandrahasen
Cameron Blair
Gish (Justin Hansen)
2005 Sam Wills Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
Darren Jardine
James Nokise
Jo Randerson
2004 Ben Hurley Cohen Holloway
Ezequiel Balmori
Jamie Bowen
Penny Ashton
2003 Justine Smith Penny Ashton
Sully O'Sullivan
Benjamin Crellin
GARY (Brett O'Gorman, Jamie Bowen and Mick Andrews)
2002 Dai Henwood Rhys Darby
Tarun Mohanbhai
Benjamin Crellin
GARY (Brett O'Gorman, Jamie Bowen and Mick Andrews)
2001 Jan Maree Jeremy Elwood
Rhys Darby
Jon Stubbs
Benjamin Crellin
2000 Mike Loder
Paul Ego
Jan Maree
Irene Pink
Benjamin Crellin
1999 Philip Patston
The Humourbeasts (Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi)
Paul Ego
Irene Pink
Jon Stubbs
1998 Brendhan Lovegrove
Radar (Andrew Lumsden)
Sugar and Spice (Jonathan Brugh and Jason Hoyte)
Philip Patston
Jaq Tweedie
1997 Cal Wilson
Ewen Gilmour
Mike King
Brendhan Lovegrove
Raybon Kan