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NZ Comedy Fires Up in 2008 for a Laugh Explosion

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The 2008 NZ International Comedy Festival

NZ Comedy Fires Up in 2008 for a Massive Explosion of Laughter

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival catches alight on April 18 answering the call of audiences, local talent and international acts with an explosive programme of great comedy. Now in its 16th consecutive year the Festival has expanded to include 13 national centres with a comprehensive programme running in both Auckland and Wellington.

With new developments aplenty, the 2008 Festival features 300 comedians across more than 110 shows nationwide. The star-studded line-up includes Arj Barker (USA), Ewen Gilmour (NZ), Jimeoin (IRE/AUS), Mark Watson (UK), Dai Henwood (NZ) and Jamie Kennedy (USA).

Each year the Festival has gone from strength to strength contributing to the development of NZ comedy on both a local and international level. Audiences have responded with gusto with a record number of 84,000 people who attended Festival shows in 2007. The development continues this year with the introduction of an all new Nickelodeon Kids Comedy Season aimed at 6-12 year olds, an increased Wellington Festival programme and a wider geographical reach as the Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Convoy tours to 10 centres - nearly double what was offered in 2007.

As always the popular Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala will kick off the Festival offering NZ audiences a chance to catch some of these stellar performers in action for this opening night extravaganza. Always a Sell Out, tickets for the Gala go on public sale on Sat 16th February. The two part TV2 presentation of the Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Gala drew big ratings in 2007 and won the TV Guide’s 2007 "Best on The Box People's Choice Award" for Best Special Event. The Wellington opening Festival event First Laughs also turns up the heat with a star studded showcase of local and international comedians. Both opening events have moved to new venues to cope with the demand of kiwi comedy junkies flocking to catch the laughs in these sell out events.

The successful secondary school programme, Class Comedians (an initiative of the NZ Comedy Trust), returns for its eighth year with a mission to train up the next generation of kiwi comics. This year the programme is sponsored by Macleans (GSK) and supported by Creative Communities Auckland City, Manuakau City, North Shore City and Wellington City. It will run in both Auckland and Wellington giving more young talent the chance to study, perform and be mentored by the best of what has developed into a mighty local comedy scene.

The NZ Comedy Trust is also dedicated to the ongoing development of both emerging and professional comedians with the presentation of awards for excellence in comedy. The most prestigious of these being the time honoured Billy T Award (recognizing the potential of emerging comedians) and THE FRED Award which recognizes the achievements of professional comedians. In 2007 musical comedy duo mrs.peacock took home the Billy T Award and loveable lunatic Dai Henwood was awarded THE FRED. Both of these awards offer cash prizes and kudos to the recipients.

The Festival also announces Cadbury Crunchie as the Festival’s major sponsor for 2008.

NZ GETS HOT FOR THE LAUGHS THIS FESTIVAL SEASON

The NZ International Comedy Festival runs:
AUCKLAND - 18 April – 11 May
WELLINGTON - 20 April – 10 May
CADBURY CRUNCHIE COMEDY CONVOY – Tues 6 –Sat 17 May
Tauranga, Hamilton, Taupo, New Plymouth, Napier, Nelson, Blenheim, Greymouth, Christchurch, Invercargill

Full programme launched on Tues 11 March at www.comedyfestival.co.nz.


ENDS

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