One Question Quiz
Please welcome Urzila Carlson, Mel Bracewell and Guy Montgomery into your home (Design: Tina Tiller)
Please welcome Urzila Carlson, Mel Bracewell and Guy Montgomery into your home (Design: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureMay 17, 2024

How to enjoy a comedy festival in your own lounge

Please welcome Urzila Carlson, Mel Bracewell and Guy Montgomery into your home (Design: Tina Tiller)
Please welcome Urzila Carlson, Mel Bracewell and Guy Montgomery into your home (Design: Tina Tiller)

If you can’t get to the comedy fest, let us bring the comedy fest to you.

This is an excerpt from our weekly pop culture newsletter Rec Room. Sign up here. 

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is in full swing at the moment, with a veritable smorgasboard of comedy treats on offer for those lucky enough to live in Auckland or Wellington. It may well be the festival’s final week, but there’s still plenty of stellar acts to come, including Guy Montgomery, Melanie Bracewell, Ray O’Leary, Jed Parsons and Laura Daniel.

For those of us who live outside of Auckland or Wellington, there’s no need to miss out on the comedy fun. We’ve pulled together a list of local comedy specials that you can enjoy for free in the comfort of your own home, whenever you want – maybe even at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night? The internet! What a blessing. Grab some snacks, hold onto your sides and let the good times roll.

Best Foods Comedy Gala 2024 (ThreeNow)

Hosted by Chris Parker, the Best Foods Comedy Gala 2024 showcases the very best in stand- up comedy, featuring a variety of local and international comedians appearing at this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival. Acts include Heath Franklin’s Chopper, Brynley Stent, Pax Assadi, Abby Howells, Alice Snedden and Eli Matthewson. If that’s not enough comedy hijinks for you, the 2023 and 2022 comedy galas are also available on ThreeNow.

Urzila Carlson: It’s Personal (YouTube)

If you laughed like a drain during Urzila Carlson’s Netflix special Overqualified Loser, then get ready for some more LOLs in her new special It’s Personal. From the ripeness of avocados to the menopausal love of linen to dealing with an elderly cat, Carlson is in brilliant form here.

Guy Montgomery: My Brain is Blowing Me Crazy (YouTube)

The genius behind Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont Spelling Bee is back with this new comedy special. “I used to be a little boy and now I am a 35-year-old man,” Montgomery explains on YouTube. “The world is a crazy place and I would like to tell you about it through the medium of stand-up comedy.” What more do you need, New Zealand?

Melanie Bracewell: Forget Me Not (YouTube)

Filmed at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne last year, Forget Me Not sees Billy T Award winner Bracewell discuss everything from antihistamines to her Grandad to impersonating Jacinda. Don’t miss it; this review called it “hilarious” (phew) and “exceptional”.

The Comedy Treatment (ThreeNow)

This stand-up special was held in 2023 to raise money for The Cancer Society. Headlined by Dai Henwood, the charity extravaganza also features laughs from Melanie Bracewell, Josh Thomson, Ben Hurley, Justine Smith, Chris Parker and Paul Ego.

Nick Rado: On Trend (YouTube) 

Mapua, this is your moment. Nick Rado’s comedy special was filmed in the Mapua Playhouse in Tasman, and the laughs come thick and fast. Rado is the head writer at 7 Days and has opened for Rob Brydon, Aziz Ansari, Danny Bhoy and Russell Howard.

James Must-a-pic His Mum a Man (TVNZ+)

Listen, this is your comedy festival, and if you want to include a six-part series in your laughfest, go right ahead. James Must-a-pic His Mum a Man is a romantic comedy the likes of which we’ve never seen on New Zealand TV before, as comedian and Celebrity Treasure Island winner James Mustapic embarks on a quest to find his Mum a man. The twist? The last thing Janet wants in her life is a bloke.

The New Zealand international Comedy Festival runs until May 26. 

Keep going!