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Wellington sweeps comedy awards

May 12, 2008
Attn Arts and Entertainment Reporters

Wellington sweeps comedy awards

Wellington City is the home of hot comedy and last night's glittering New Zealand Comedy Awards proved it again.

Wellington comedian Steve Wrigley spearheaded a clean sweep of the New Zealand Comedy Trust's annual awards, winning the 'Billy T' Award for 2008 while ex-Wellingtonian Ben Hurley picked up the 'Fred' Award.

Last week, rising star Cameron 'Pinchy' Murray won the Raw Comedy rookie competition, giving the Capital all three of the top awards for New Zealand comedians in 2008.

The Fred (named for the immortal Fred Dagg character created by Jon Clarke) is given to a Kiwi comedian of at least eight years experience for best solo show of the comedy festival and the Billy T is awarded to the best up and coming New Zealand comedian.

Last night's ceremony was part of the Last Laughs event held at Auckland's Sky City Theatre, which concluded the 2008 New Zealand International Comedy Festival.

In other awards, the best local Wellington comedy show went to the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, and the Spirit of the Festival Award for Wellington went to Michele A'Court.

Jason Cook won the award for Best International Performer, best local Auckland comedy show went to Dai Henwood, The Electric Kokozoids won the best newcomers, and the Spirit of the Festival for Auckland went to Heidi O'Laughlin. Best Marketing went to Notorious Corporation from Auckland.

Wellington comedy festival producer Brigid Connor applauded Steve Wrigley's win, saying his efforts for Wellington's comedy scene extended well beyond his comedy acts.

"Steve is a tireless worker for comedy in Wellington," said Ms Connor. "He helps foster a new generation through the Class Comedians initiative, produces all his own shows and is a key player with The Improvisers. Steve is the heart and soul of Wellington comedy."

Born in Hawera, Ben Hurley worked the Wellington comedy scene for many eyars and was instrumental in establishing the Wellington Comedy Club, which hosts weekly shows at the San Francisco Bathhouse.


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