Billy T Award

Started in 1997 and inspired by comedy legend Billy T James, this award celebrates the growth of fresh talent in the New Zealand comedy industry. Each year it is awarded to an outstanding emerging performer with a commitment to their comedy career.

Abby Howells – Billy T Award Winner 2023

Eligible comedians are NZ citizens or residents who have had between one and three solo shows in the Festival. With applications for the award opening in October each year, this award is a journey which takes place over several months leading up to the Festival in May.

Up to five nominees are selected on their proven comedic ability, talent, current form and potential. The nominees go on to perform a set during the Billy T Jams showcase in February, then their one-hour solo shows in the Festival, where they are judged by a panel of industry experts. The Billy T Award winner is then announced at Last Laughs, our Festival finale show.

Many of New Zealand’s most celebrated comedians have received the Billy T Award.

2023 Billy T Award nominees (from left to right) Jack Ansett, Abby Howells, Janaye Henry, Gabby Anderson (absent Maria Williams)
Eli Matthewson – 2021 Fred Award Winner & Brynley Stent – 2021 Billy T Award Winner
Rose Matafeo – Fred Award Winner 2017 & Angella Dravid – Billy T Award Winner 2017

Past Winners of the Billy T Award:

For the full list including nominees, visit the Comedy Festival website, and see below for the full list of winners.

Year Winner
2023 Abby Howells
2021 Brynley Stent
2019 Kura Forrester
2018 Melanie Bracewell
2017 Angella Dravid
2016 David Correos
2015 Hamish Parkinson
2014 Guy Montgomery
2013 Rose Matafeo
2012 Guy Williams
2011 Nick Gibb
2010 Rhys Mathewson
2009 Chris Brain
2008 Steve Wrigley
2007 Mrs Peacock (Jarrod Baker and Dave Smith)
2006 Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
2005 Sam Wills
2004 Ben Hurley
2003 Justine Smith
2002 Dai Henwood
2001 Jan Maree
2000 Mike Loder
Paul Ego
1999 Philip Patston
The Humourbeasts (Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi)
1998 Brendhan Lovegrove
Radar (Andrew Lumsden)
Sugar and Spice (Jonathan Brugh and Jason Hoyte)
1997 Cal Wilson
Ewen Gilmour


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