The Best Foods Comedy Gala is back with an incredible lineup to kick off the 2021 New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Expect big laughs from this fast-paced live show with bite-sized sets from some of Aotearoa’s comedy superstars.

Leading the lineup this year, our host is the multi award-winning Queen of NZ comedy, Justine Smith.  Joining Justine on the lineup is 2018 Fred Award Winner and online sensation Chris Parker; from TVNZ’s Taskmaster NZ and winner of the Billy T Award the awkward and always hilarious Angella Dravid; national treasure Ben Hurley of Have You Been Paying Attention? and 7 Days, alongside international Samoan comedy superstar, and half of the Laughing Samoans duo - Tofiga Fepulea'i!

Plus - returning from a 5-year Festival hiatus, international comedy superstar Rhys Darby joins the line-up with his sensational blend of sound effects, characterisations and off-kilter observations. Comedy Royalty Urzila Carlson brings her world-famous lively, relatable and down-right hilarious style to the mix. Multi-award winning stand up Nick Rado joins this stellar line-up too, along with Billy T Award-winning comedian Guy Montgomery, the crack-up deadpan and self deprecating Cori Gonzalez Macuer and bringing the magic of musical comedy, one of our funniest and most naturally talented young comics, Ruby Esther.

See below for more info on the comedians. Get in quick for tickets to this buffet of the best.

Proceeds from this event will support the New Zealand Comedy Trust to run the annual Comedy Festival and continue their work supporting the development of the local comedy industry.

The 2021 NZ Intl Comedy Festival will run from 4 – 23 May, for the full programme go to


2021 Line-Up:

Justine Smith (host)
One of New Zealand's very best award-winning comedians Justine Smith takes the stage as host of this unmissable night of comedy. In short, she's done it all: a regular on our TV screens with awards coming out her ears, including multiple Best MC wins at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards. She'll be steering the ship and  coming in hot with her razor-sharp wit and biting commentary for this fast-paced live show full of laughs.

Ben Hurley 
A classic on the comedy scene and winner of all the awards Ben's trademark style has won him adoring fans in Aotearoa and abroad. You've seen him on the telly, he’s the Head Writer for 7Days, a regular guest on TVNZ’s Have You Been Paying Attention? Now catch him live in this lineup of pure joy at the Best Foods Comedy Gala.

Angella Dravid 
Known for her wide-eyed pauses, the Billy T Award Winner and Taskmaster NZ Champion Angella Dravid is bringing her signature dark and dry wit to the Best Foods Comedy Gala. From TVNZ's Taskmaster NZ and Jono and Ben, her awkward and unexpected style has been described as ‘wonderfully cringe-worthy and hugely entertaining’.  

Chris Parker 
Heating up Instagram feeds everywhere with his iconic, off-beat craft-based comedy, Chris Parker is the bouncy Fred Award winning performer who captivates audiences with his campness and quick-wit. He’s part of the cult-classic, super silly late-night improv show Snort and the infamous Parker & Sainsbury duo and is a guaranteed good time.

Tofiga Fepulea'i
After touring the world both as a solo act, and as half of the legendary Laughing Samoans duo, this international comedy superstar is gracing the stage at the Best Foods Comedy Gala for the first time ever! Tofiga is a sure-fire crowd pleaser with a clean and clever comedic wit.

Rhys Darby
International comedy superstar Rhys Darby joins the Best Foods Comedy Gala with his unique stand-up experience promising a sensational blend of sound effects, characterisations and off-kilter observations. This year Rhys returns to the Comedy Fest bringing you the latest and weirdest news on the planet in a very special live performance of The Cryptid Factor podcast. His international stardom started with HBO's Flight of the Concords, he’s also brought his comedy talent to What We Do In The ShadowsHunt for the Wilderpeople, Wellington Paranormal, not to mention his appearances in Hollywood blockbusters including Jumanji: The Next Level alongside The Rock and Guns Akimbo with Daniel Radcliffe. 

Urzila Carlson
Urzila Carlson is absolutely smashing it with her Netflix special, Overqualified Loser, and as a regular on TVNZ’s smash-hit panel show, Have You Been Paying Attention? NZ, alongside her sell out tours. Her sharp observational style is lively, relatable and down-right hilarious. Don’t miss this chance to see her live at the Best Foods Comedy Gala! Plus, get your tickets now for her Comedy Fest solo show, All The Rage Returns and catch her brand-new podcast That’s Enough Already, where she explores all the things that “shit us to death”. 

Nick Rado
Multi-award winning stand up Nick Rado joins this stellar line-up straight off the stage from taping his first comedy special for SiriusXM's Laugh USA channel! He’s performed to sold-out audiences both internationally and at home, and has opened for the likes of Russell Howard, Danny Bhoy and Aziz Ansari. He’s the hilarious head writer for acclaimed topical news comedy show 7 Days and a FIVE time winner of Best MC at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards.

Guy Montgomery
You've seen Billy T Award-winning comedian Guy Montgomery perform all over - including recently on TVNZ’s Have You Been Paying Attention?!Just For Laughs Montreal and on Comedy Central US. Crowned Winner of Best Male Comedian 2020 at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards, Guy Montgomery brings his comedic genius to the stage once again in this year’s Best Foods Comedy Gala. 

Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
With his unique brand of deadpan comedy Cori Gonzalez-Macuer has been a regular on 7 Days and appeared alongside Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement in cult horror flick What We Do In the Shadows and its TV spinoff Wellington Paranormal - just picked up for US release by HBO and The CW! Since winning the Billy T Award early in his career, he’s become best known for his cynical and self-deprecating humour. 

Ruby Esther
Bringing the magic of musical comedy, one of our funniest and most naturally talented young comics, Ruby Esther takes the stage in this year’s Best Foods Comedy Gala. A graduate of the 2016 Class Comedians, Raw Winner in 2017 and Best Newcomer nominee at the 2019 NZ Comedy Fest, Ruby’s comedic style is a joyous mix of storytelling, poetry and song.

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