Billy T and Fred Award Winners Announced for 2024 NZ International Comedy Festival

Billy T and Fred Award Winners Announced for 2024 NZ International Comedy Festival

Published: Monday 27 May 2024


After a May packed with the very best comedians from Aotearoa and beyond all taking to the stage for the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo, the 2024 festival came to a close tonight by honouring the outstanding talent in this year’s programme at Last Laughs!, with the New Zealand Comedy Trust awards announced, including the coveted 2024 Fred Award for the Best New Zealand Show in the Festival and the 2024 Billy T Award for a comedian with the most outstanding potential.

Last Laughs!, a glorious showcase of the best of the best homegrown talent, was hosted by Australian icon and RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under host Rhys Nicholson, with performances from Fred Award nominees - Hayley Sproull, Alice Snedden, and Barnie Duncan & Trygve Wakenshaw, plus the 2024 Billy T Award nominees, Liv McKenzie, Rhiannon McCall, Advait Kirtikar, Tough Tiger Fist and Lana Walters.

2024 Billy T Award winner Lana Walters. Photo credit: Jinki Cambronero.

Started in 1997 and inspired by comedy legend William James Te Wehi Taitoko MBE (Billy T James), The Billy T Award celebrates the growth of fresh talent in the Aotearoa comedy industry. Each year it is awarded to an outstanding emerging performer with a commitment to their comedy career. Lana Walters took home the prestigious Yellow Towel for the Billy T Award and a $5,000 cash grant from New Zealand Comedy Trust. The award was presented on stage at SkyCity Theatre by 2023 Billy T Award winner Abby Howells.

2024 Fred Award winners Barnie Duncan and Trygve Wakenshaw. Photo credit: Jinki Cambronero.

Named in honour of much-loved comedy icon John Clarke’s legendary Kiwi character Fred Dagg, The Fred Award recognises the Comedy Festival's Best Show by a New Zealand comedian. Barnie Duncan & Trygve Wakenshaw were named the 2024 Fred Award winners, receiving the iconic Golden Gumboot and a cash grant of $5,000 from the New Zealand Comedy Trust. 2018 Fred Award winner Chris Parker, performing as Guy Montgomery (who wasn’t able to attend) was on stage to hand over the baton to the new Fred recipients.

Other award winners this year also include:

  • Best Newcomer (Auckland): Courtney Dawson with Dreams Are Free
  • Best Newcomer (Wellington): Samuel Gebreselassie with I'm A Refugee... Get Me Out of Here!
  • Festival Director’s Choice Award: Rhys Mathewson with 10th Rodeo
  • Best International: Rhys Nicholson with Huge Big Party Congratulations

Last Laughs! was staged at SkyCity Theatre and will air Thursday 30 May on THREE as part of their month of comedy.

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