The New Zealand comedy scene is going from strength-to-strength so it’s little surprise that this year saw a record-breaking 32 applicants vying to get a nomination for the 2017 Billy T Award.

The Billy T Award, named after Kiwi comedy icon Billy T James, was created to support up-and-coming comedians with the outstanding potential to take their comedy career to the next level – and if the 2017 nominees are anything to go by, we’re in safe hands.

The nominees for the 2017 Billy T Award are selected on their proven comedic ability; talent; dedication; current form and outstanding potential, and will be judged on all aspects of their show in the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival final performances and the award presentation will happen at Last Laughs on Sunday 21 May 2017.

The five nominees for the 2017 Billy T Award are:

Angella Dravid

Angella’s unique brand of comedy blends moments of gaping silences with stories that lead into surprising absurdity.  She’s more often described as “strange” and “mysterious”, and The Wireless described her role in Funny Girls as “that creepy girl who drifts around and has no concept of personal space”.

Angella’s first show ‘LOL Models’ (with Melanie Bracewell) was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2016 New Zealand International Comedy Festival.  In 2015, she was awarded Best Newcomer and nominated for Best Gag of the Year at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards, and was a grand finalist in the New Zealand Raw Quest.

Li’i Alaimoana

New Zealand born Samoan and Wellington raised, Li’i Alaimoana works at the Ministry of Justice by day and came back to regularly perform comedy in 2015.

A charismatic performer, with an eclectic combination of music and stand-up comedy, Li’i’s style of comedy has brought him a strong following in his hometown.

Patch Lambert

Patch Lambert. Lovable bogan, scruffy underdog. On stage, he casts an endearing but confident presence wrought with earnestness and naivety as he delivers open and honest stories about the world he lives in…  A world where he is just a gnarly little grub from the Hutt. He has twice been nominated in the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards.

“Leads us on adventures through his life and makes us feel like his mates at the pub, rather than an audience at a performance… Patch is a lovable, clever and funny young man” – Art Murmurs

Paul Williams

Paul Williams, better known as “Lorde‘s favourite New Zealand musician” was born and raised in Nelson where he grew up playing a lot of sport and performing in amateur musicals. His love for comedy began at Nelson College where he joined the prestigious theatre sports team. Upon graduation, Paul moved to Wellington to study musical theatre. It was here that Paul performed his first ever stand-up set at one of the Raw Monday nights at Fringe Bar.

Paul has since attended the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe while performing in Rose Matafeo’s show ‘Finally Dead’. The 2017 Comedy Fest will be Paul’s first ever solo show and he’s super excited about it.

Ray O’Leary

Ray O’Leary is an up-and-coming Wellington comedian known for his dark and political style. Ray has been described as ‘thought-provoking’, ‘provoked me to think’, and ‘thought-provoking’ and will have you laughing as he tackles all the tough issues, from penal sentencing to charity. Ray has a Masters in Philosophy and has quickly established himself, becoming a regular on the Wellington comedy scene with his style of outrageous one-liners, deadpan delivery and confident awkwardness.

“Not only makes you laugh, but makes you think” – Art Murmurs

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