The NZICF is the most important part of the year for so many creatives in Auckland and Wellington. It’s creating a culture of legitimacy for comedians where they strive for excellence and work towards a collective New Zealand comedic aesthetic. It’s also very important for New Zealand as a whole. How dreary life would be without it. – Thomas Sainsbury, comedian, actor & writer.



This festival has solidified a turning point in my career as a comedian. It has meant that I now believe in myself as a stand up comedian and that what I have to offer is of value. If we didn’t have this festival I would not of had the opportunity to discover this. – Kura Forrester, comedian & actor.



“The Comedy Festival helped me set various goals for myself and achieving them has always lead me to work harder. In 2005, I received the Billy T Award for my unique style of circus sideshow prop comedy and it was from winning that award that the motivation to challenge myself to reinvent my style of performing came from. The Boy with Tape on His Face was first performed at the 2006 NZ International Comedy Festival, and since that week long season I have performed in multiple countries collecting various awards on my way; I have had three completely sold out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where on my debut year received the nomination for Best Newcomer and later received Chortles Breakthrough Act Award. My second show ‘More Tape’ I had a sold-out season & was awarded the Edinburgh Panel Prize. I’ve performed at the Royal Albert Hall with a full orchestra backing, developed television ideas with the BBC & in 2011 was invited to be the first New Zealander to entertain at The Royal Variety Command Performance. None of this would have happened without me taking part in the NZICF.” – Sam Wills (Tape Face), comedian




Comedy underpins so much of the entertainment and arts sector. Comedy appears in film, in TV, in radio in theatre and (obviously) in comedy shows. Comedy isn’t just found in “comedy,” it’s everywhere. The Festival, in showcasing it, does much for the health of the NZ entertainment universe. It is vitally important. – Jesse Griffin, comedian & actor.



The Comedy Festival has been hugely instrumental in my professional development as a comedian. It’s annual nature has meant that every year, I get an opportunity to challenge myself and grow as a creator and hone my voice. I have been fortunate enough to have participated in eight Comedy Festivals with six of them being solo shows and I can honestly say having an environment which allows for artistic freedom every year has been crucial to my development.” – James Roque, comedian & actor




“The NZICF provides us with an environment to develop longer conceptual shows, encouraging greater artistic development and originality than can be achieved in pubs and clubs.” – Te Radar, comedian and past NZCT Board member





Comedy is quintessential to the New Zealand identity and the conversations that push our country forward. It allows us to cover the tough topics with empathy and warmth, serves as a balm to the onslaught of terror and panic, and brings people together through with laughter. The artists working within the New Zealand comedy scene are creating works that are vital, ecstatic and filled with humanity. The quality being made in New Zealand rivals or betters that being made anywhere in the world. The New Zealand Comedy Festival is the largest platform available to those artists, and without their continued support the live comedy scene in New Zealand would be irrevocably damaged. It is remarkable what the NZICF achieves considering they are, by global standards, underfunded by the city councils they rely on. I can only wonder what they could achieve with greater community support. – Rhys Mathewson, comedian. 




The Comedy Festival is the most exciting and inspiring time of year for New Zealand Comedy. The NZ Comedy Trust does an incredible job under very trying circumstances. The funding of the Comedy Festival ensures that our culture and comedic voices continue to be heard. It’s a world class event that has become a mainstay both in Aotearoa and abroad. It’s the happiest time of year, and such an important part of New Zealand’s art scene. – Brendon Green, comedian & NZ Comedy Guild board member.




I have been a producer in the NZ comedy festival since 1993 when it first began. Back then it was at one venue and comprised of about 6-8 shows. I have seen it transition through many different stages from too little to too big. But across those 25 years the audiences have steadily grown and have become more comedy literate. A good festival both entertains and educates an audience by stretching their imagination. This is done by a cunning combination of the ‘commercial’ with the ‘artistic’. In the last 2 years the NZ International Comedy Festival has struck it’s best combination of these 2 factors. Audiences are being rewarded for their attention and investment in the festival and the funders and sponsors are being rewarded with their association. I think it is too easy to undervalue the experience of a fun and funny night out. – Scott Blanks, producer & owner of The Classic comedy club.




Comedy Festival provides opportunities for broad audiences to access and enjoy live performance. For artists, it’s a chance to reach those groups who might otherwise be challenged to go to ‘the theatre’. It’s important to reduce the divide between what might typically be viewed as ‘commercial entertainment’ and high-quality performing arts, and accept that some of our most celebrated and successful artists have their roots in comedy – and that support for this art form ensured that the wider art ecosystem (including theatre and dramatic arts) remains healthy and prolific. – Alice Canton, comedian & theatre practitioner.



The comedy festival is the best time of the year, and the craft that kiwi comedians are putting into their shows right now is mind-blowing. The standard has just risen and risen and risen, and the festival has become a launching pad for people like myself to head overseas for festivals and to get writing jobs and TV spots. The comedy festival is the most fun, most artistically rewarding thing I do, and I love to be a part of it. – Eli Matthewson, comedian.