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Southern funny man takes out Billy T. Award

Southern funny man takes out Billy T. Award

The search for New Zealand’s newest and funniest comedian is over after a riotous evening at the ODDFELLOWS International Comedy Festival’s Billy T awards held on Sunday at the Winter Garden, The Civic, THE EDGE®, in Auckland.

Timaru-born Sam Wills (26) was lost for words after he was voted winner of the Billy T. award, gaining even more brownie points when he rang his mother from the stage. “Mum, I got it,” he yelled into his mobile.

Wills’ childhood magic tricks and physical contortions, such as squeezing himself through the head of a tennis racquet and juggling sharp axes gave his show Dance Monkey Dance the edge over the other four Billy T. nominees (Jo Randerson, Cori Gonzalez-Maceur, Darren Jardine and James Nokise).

The five nominees were chosen on their proven comic ability, dedication and potential. The judging panel attended the nominee’s shows which were created and performed for the International Comedy Festival, with the final decision made after individual performances on the night of the awards.

Inspired by and named after New Zealand’s much-loved legendary comedian, Billy T James, the Billy T’s are an initiative of the New Zealand Comedy Trust- with the aim to ensure continued growth of live comedy in New Zealand.

The Awards are in their ninth year and are a proven benchmark for new comedians. Previous winners have included; Cal Wilson, Ewen Gilmour, Te Radar, Sugar and Spice, Brendhan Lovegrove, Jan Maree and Ben Hurley.

Wills’ says he doesn’t know what he will do with the $7000 prize money but hopes to pay off some debts and go to Australia.

“I was really happy to get the award because I am not a stand-up comedian. I am an entertainer, just like Billy T.”
Wills currently resides in Auckland where he is resident MC for the comedy hour at SKYCity Casino. Sam was David Strassman’s support act for his 2003 New Zealand tour and has recently completed both writing and performing for a new comedy TV show, Last Laugh, which is due to screen in late 2005

His last exciting gig took him to Tonga to perform before the royal family as a part of the Kings great grand daughters first birthday celebrations

Sam has performing Dance Monkey Dance in Auckland and Wellington.

The Billy’s are proudly sponsored by ODDFELLOWS.


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