8 Mar 2023



Crack open the diary! The highly anticipated 30th anniversary year of the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo is almost here. This year’s Comedy Festival will be three jam-packed weeks of big laughs and epic live comedy experiences, featuring more than 150 local and international comedians in over 600 performances. Taking place across the month of May, the full programme is now live and tickets are on sale.

To make the Festival’s 30th birthday even sweeter, 2023 sees the return of international comedians to the programme for the first time since 2019, including comedy heavyweights Joe Lycett, Sara Pascoe, Dylan Moran, Lloyd Langford, Becky Lucas, Ed Gamble, Heath Franklin, Nazeem Hussain, Laura Davis, Ross Noble, and ISMO. Heading to the NZ International Comedy Fest for the first time are Australia-based ARIA Award winner and Helpmann Award nominee Anne Edmonds, Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under star Karen From Finance, Australia-based Japanese comic Takashi Wakasugi and Ray Bradshaw who will perform his show simultaneously in English and British Sign Language.

Each year, the New Zealand Comedy Trust (producers of the NZ International Comedy Festival) put together a suite of absolutely unmissable Trust Shows and 2023 is no different with the Best Foods Comedy Gala hosted by Melanie Bracewell, The Great Comedy Debate with Taskmaster NZ 2022 winner Josh Thomson as fearless moderator, The Comedy Mixtape hosted by 2019 Billy T Award winner and Shortland Street star Kura Forrester, Last Laughs! hosted by the iconic Chris Parker, an NZ vs. the world edition of 7 Days Live, Best Comedy Show On Earth hosted by 2019 Fred Award winner and podcast superstar James Nokise, and the debut of Loud & Queer, a celebration of queer comedy in Aotearoa at Wellington’s St James Theatre - hosted by super popular satirist Tom Sainsbury and drag queen and activist Judy Virago. These shows are perfect for audiences looking for a killer line-up with the best comedians in the game right now.

While the internationals were away the last few years, Aotearoa comedy superstars rocked the mic and proved why the world is obsessed with Kiwi comedy. Local stars returning to this year’s Festival include Kura Forrester, Guy Montgomery, James Nokise, Tom Sainsbury, Josh Thomson, Chris Parker, Hayley Sproull, Ben Hurley, Rhys Mathewson, Two Hearts, Brynley Stent, David Correos, Eli Matthewson, Tim Batt, Sameena Zehra, James Mustapic, Paul Douglas, Lana Walters, Jamaine Ross, Justine Smith and so many more.

With so much on offer in this year’s Comedy Festival, audiences can grab themselves a taste of the programme with the New Zealand Comedy Trust’s Preview shows in both Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara. In Auckland, audiences will be able to check out Basement Theatre Preview Show - Johanna Cosgrove hosts a star- studded line-up including Donna Brookbanks, Barnie Duncan, Liv Parker, Ruby Esther, Jonny Brugh and more. At Te Auaha - Tapere Nui, Wellingtonians can sample the programme with Wellington Preview Show - a major line-up hosted by Tony Lyall and featuring Lesa MacLeod-Whiting, Sri Nair, Salome Bhanu, Orin Ruaine-Prattley, Jim Stanton, Kura Turuwhenua, Neil Thornton, Clarissa Chandrahasen and more.

Let the laughter commence. Check out the absolutely stacked 2023 line-up and start grabbing your tickets!