23 Nov 2023

2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala Host and First Five Names Announced!

2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala Host and First Five Names Announced!

The NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo returns in 2024 with three weeks of non-stop laughter for the 31st year, from 3 – 26 May. The New Zealand Comedy Trust is delighted to kick off the funniest Fest in town with the annual Best Foods Comedy Gala, this year hosted by none other than the self proclaimed People's Princess of Aotearoa and winner of the Topp Prize, Chris Parker.

Prepare for a night brimming with comedy gold in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on Friday 3 May, at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre. The laughter then heads south to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on Saturday 4 May, at The Opera House. The Best Foods Comedy Gala, a rock solid show-stopping sell-out, promises the perfect bite-sized taster of the finest local and international acts from the festival.

Chris Parker has had an incredible rise to the top. After the NZ Comedy Trust awarded him the prestigious Fred Award at the 2018 NZ Intl Comedy Festival and presented him with the inaugural Topp Prize in 2022, it seemed only natural to invite Chris to step into the esteemed role of Gala host for 2024. Chris’ journey is a testament to his multifaceted talent and authenticity as a performer, marked by sold-out tours and victory on Celebrity Treasure Island NZ where he won even more hearts across the motu.

In addition to his success on stage, Chris has authored a book, created a podcast, and earned a spot on Listener’s Top 100 list of the most intriguing people making a difference in Aotearoa. His diverse contributions extend to film appearances, TVNZ special Chris Parker: Back To School, and the creation of THREE’s Double Parked with Alice Snedden. Alongside this, Chris maintains an equally formidable online presence across Instagram and TikTok. All of this, and he has never compromised his unique voice and comedic flair.

"What an incredible honour it is to be hosting the 2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala. I feel like the luckiest boy in the world as it really is a combination of all my favourite things: dressing up, announcing my friends names on a microphone backstage and celebrating our incredible comedy scene here in Aotearoa. says Chris Parker.

First on the bill from across the ditch comes one of Australia's best comics, Heath Franklin’s Chopper. He’s been nominated for two ARIA’s, a Logie, won Comic’s Choice at the Melbourne International Comedy Fest and sold more than half a million tickets worldwide, and is a regular on 7 Days. Chopper is a genuine comedy icon. 

The first local acts joining Chris at the 2024 Best Foods Comedy Gala include star of everything from Taskmaster NZ, Celebrity Treasure Island, Shortland Street, and 2021 Billy T Award winner, Brynley Stent, returning after making an incredible Gala debut in 2023.

Award-winning comedian and 2020 Best Foods Comedy Gala host Pax Assadi. A familiar face from his days in Frickin Dangerous Bro, he’s also hosted The Great Kiwi Bake Off, made regular appearances on 7 Days and The Project; and created NEON’s Raised by Refugees.

Reigning Billy T Award winner Abby Howells, whose credits include Shortland Street, 7 Days, Guy Montgomery's Guy Mont-Spelling Bee and Comedians Giving Lectures. A Festival favourite, Abby has previously taken out the Director’s Choice Award in 2021. 

After his first appearance at the NZ Comedy Fest in 2023 Takashi Wakasugi returns to take to the Gala stage. After relocating to Australia from Japan in 2018 he’s gone on to build a burgeoning comedy career, sharing his unique perspective on Aussie life. Since then he’s sold out comedy festivals around Australia and this year was winner of Director’s Choice Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Even more acts bringing the laughs to the Gala stage in Auckland and Wellington are still to be announced. The rest of the nation won’t miss out either, with the ultimate night of comedy filmed exclusively for THREE.

The 2024 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo runs from 3 – 26 May, with the full programme to be announced in March 2024!