New Zealand International Comedy Festival
The New Zealand International Comedy Festival (NZ International Comedy Festival) is held annually in Auckland and Wellington with a travelling convoy visiting other parts of New Zealand. It is run by the New Zealand Comedy Trust.
The opening of the festival is the televised Comedy Gala, a showcase of performances by the top local and international comedians appearing in the festival. Until 2008 it was held at the St. James Theatre and in 2008 it was moved to the Auckland Civic Theatre. Past hosts of the gala have included: Jeff Green, Ardal O'Hanlon, Arj Barker, Wayne Brady, Ed Byrne, Bill Bailey, Rove McManus, Greg Behrendt & Jeremy Corbett.
Alongside the large number of local and international shows, there are a number of events held annually such as the Class Comedians programme. This in an initiative set up to train talented high school students in the art of stand-up comedy and ends with a showcase at Q Theatre. The RAW rookie competition is also held every year, with the national finals at The Classic Comedy Club in Auckland.
To conclude the festival is the Last Laughs awards showcase. It is the last chance for the nominees for the Billy T Award and Fred Award to perform before the winners are announced at the end of the show. Other festival prizes awarded at Last Laughs include: Best International Comedian, Best Local Show, Best Newcomer, Best Marketing and Spirit of the Festival.