13 May 2024

Spotlight on: The Billy T Nominees 2024

The Billy T Award is one of NZ's most prestigious comedy awards, named after comedy legend Billy T James. It recognises an up-and-coming comedian with outstanding potential.

In the final week of the Comedy Festival in Auckland (21 - 25 May), you can catch all five nominees performing in the lead up to Last Laughs where this year's winner will be announced alongside the coveted Fred Award.

Check out what previous winner Guy Williams has to say about the Billys:

“The Billy T Award is an iconic part of kiwi comedy culture. There’s nothing else like it - 5 acts doing their 2nd or 3rd shows audition and compete to win Billy T’s famous yellow towel! This competition is so stupid and so awesome at the same time…even the list of losers is impressive including Rhys Darby and Urzila Carlson aka two of our most successful comedians! This year the Nominees are bloody strong: Advait KirtikarLana Walters, Liv McKenzieRhiannon McCall and Tough Tiger Fist. Go see all of them and then yell “the judges were off their face” at the Last Laughs final show.”

Click here to see all the Billy T Nominee shows

2023 Billy T Award Winner Abby Howells with 2023 Fred Award Winner Guy Montgomery

Don't miss out! Read on to learn more about this year's Billys... 

Advait Kirtikar is a Wellington based stand-up comedian. Known for his super dry performance style and killer timing. Advait has sold out shows across multiple comedy and fringe festivals, and is a fixture on the Wellington comedy circuit.  

Lana Walters is a standup comedian, television writer and improviser based in Auckland. A regular panelist on 7 Days and The Project, you may have also seen her in the 2022 Best Foods Comedy Gala or The Great Comedy Debate. Lana is also a staff Comedy writer at The Project, and her freelance writing credits include 7 Days, Funny Girls, Jono and Ben, NZ Today, and Have You Been Paying Attention? NZ. This is her second nomination for the Billy T Award.

Liv McKenzie is a stand up comedian from Christchurch and the winner of Best Newcomer at the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival, and the host of TVNZ+'s new show, Cubicle Confessions. She has been featured on 7 Days, Have You Been Paying Attention, and the Best Foods Comedy Gala.

Rhiannon McCall (she/her) is a comedian, actor, writer, and filmmaker from Christchurch and now based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is a comedian/reporter on Seven Sharp, a regular panelist on 7 Days. Rhiannon also features in Epic NPC Man by Viva La Dirt League, a Youtube channel which has over 5.5 million subscribers. Rhiannon is also a shameless improv nerd. She's a regular fixture at Snort, and co-director of improv company Heartthrobs.

Tough Tiger Fist is created by Ben Cleland and Matt Parker, two highschool best friends from the small rural town of Waiuku. Office workers by day, at night these boys transform into a joke-slinging, multi-instrumental comedy dynamo, belting out delightful ditties about just about everything - from a soulful operatic ode to Matt's lost hair, to a bombastic hip-hop tribute to their favourite Star Wars character. Tough Tiger Fist has been a staple in the Auckland comedy scene since 2019.