For 20 years, Auckland has played host to the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Comedians from all over the country that brought you the lyrical funnies of Flight of the Conchords have already started to gather for this three-week event, which kicked off on April 26. From slapstick silly to cut-and-dry standup, this festival has something to make everyone chuckle.
This year’s bill features 115 shows, including international acts such as MTV funnyman Tom Green, Emmy-winner Wayne Brady and Conchords regular Arj Barker. The laughs will be staged at 22 venues around the city until May 19. Some stages boast plenty of capacity like The Civic, SKYCITY Theatre and the Bruce Mason Centre. Others have a greater sense of intimacy and a gritty feel, such as The Wine Cellar and The Basement. Most of the venues are located around the Auckland, which is very pedestrian friendly — so bring your walking shoes. Or, if you don’t feel like pounding the pavement, hop on the inner-city bus service — it won’t cost you more than a couple of New Zealand dollars. Comedy Festival tickets come at various costs; visit the festival’s website to purchase them.
Now that you’re armed with all the necessary details, let’s talk strategy. To make the most of your laugh-filled stay in Auckland, here is our list of must-do activities:
Check out one of the big names on the bill. Tom Green, Wayne Brady, Arj Barker, Jack Dee and Danny Bhoy — these guys are the festival headliners for a reason. Pick a stand-up set and see what all the fuss is about.
Sample some local humor at The Best of The Billys. The Billy T Award (named after Billy T. James, one of the most famous New Zealand comedians, ever) recognizes rising stars on the NZ comedy circuit. Previous winners will come together for a night of classic Kiwi comedy on May 5 at SKYCITY Theatre.
Do something random, just for fun. Pick a date, pick a name, and make a night of it. Sure, this method can be hit or miss, but you might just stumble upon a comedic gem that makes you laugh so hard you cry.
Photos Courtesy of New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Rainer Hersch Classic Comedy Orchestra