The New Zealand International Comedy Festival on now

Thursday, 28 April 2016 by Mark Sandiford

It's that time of year again when some of the best comedians from around the world make their way to Aotearoa. The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is now in its 23rd year, and bigger and better than ever! From the 22nd April to the 15th May, some of the best acts in the world will be performing right here in the heart of Auckland. 


For over 20 year the festival has showcased New Zealand's rising talent, helping support not only established Kiwi artists, but those trying to launch their career in the industry.

RAW Comedy Quest

Starting way back in 1995, the Raw Comedy Quest is the biggest comedy competition in New Zealand, and this year is the biggest yet. With $2000 in prize money, the winner can pay the rent for a few months, but the accolade is worth its weight in gold. The heats leading up to the final are ten weeks long, with an elimination process whittling the contenders down to a final ten. With many previous winners have gone on to become stalwarts of the Auckland Comedy scene, this is your chance to see the rising stars before they hit the big time.

The grand final will be held at Q Theatre on Sat 14th May, and you can book your tickets here.


Who can you go see?

This year has some old faces and some new ones- all recognisable! Arj Barker gained a huge following in New Zealand with his role in Flight of the Conchords. His unique style of stand-up has given him a cult following around the world, and his last show can be seen on Netflix.

Tommy Tiernan is coming back this year after his sold-out 2013 tour. The Irish comedian is comedy royalty back in his home country, second in DVD sales only to megastars U2.

From north of the boarder in Ireland Jimeoin returns to Kiwi shores. The Ulsterman has been living in Australia for decades and is a frequent visitor to Auckland, bringing with him his unrivalled sense of observational comedy.


For those of you who like your comedy a bit stronger, Jim Jefferies is returning with his on the nose blue collar comedy. Jim is returning fresh off his outstanding FX series Legit, and also plans on returning to New Zealand in October for nationwide tour.

Stephen K Amos is also back this year, with his award winning comedy. A staple of the British Comedy circuit, Stephen has been at the forefront of stand-up for 20 years.

And of course, no New Zealand Comedy Festival would be complete without Rhys Darby, whose solo show I'm A Fighter Jet is a collection of his best bits from previous world tours.

Rhys Darby Fighter Jet -Sqaure

Where is it all happening?

This is the really great news; the majority of these comedy shows are being held a five minute walk from the Kiwi International hotel!

The heart of the festival is right here on Queen Street in the Comedy precinct.

Based around the Auckland Town hall, you'll find dozens of show at the ABS Theatre, the Cellar on Q theatre (home to four of the venues of the festival), the Basement Studio, the Concert Chamber, (lovingly re-named Comedy Chamber during Festival), and of course, the Comedy Club itself.

So if you're coming to Auckland this month, then you're coming at the right time! See the sights during the day, and grab a comedy show at night.

And remember, staying with us at the Kiwi International, means you're only minutes away from a great night out! No need to worry about taxis, parking or not having a drink because you're driving.

Enjoy yourself!




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