Billy T Nominees for 2020 Announced | Kiwi Comedy

Media release – Elephant Publicity, 14th October 2019

After a hotly contested showcase at The Classic on Saturday night, The New Zealand Comedy Trust are excited to announce five nominees for the 2020 Billy T Award.

Taking to the stage with their 2020 Festival show pitches, a judging panel of industry experts was impressed by the calibre of talent on offer, with creativity, ingenuity, and an incredibly high standard of performance presented by 19 brilliant applicants. Selected for their proven comedic ability, dedication to their craft, current form, and outstanding potential, five comedians are in the running to win the 2020 Billy T Award.

The NZ Comedy Trust are delighted to announce that our 2020 Billy T Award nominees are:

  • Brynley Stent (Have You Been Paying Attention?, Funny Girls, Jono & Ben, NZICF 2016 Best Newcomer nominee)
  • James Mustapic (Shorty Street Scandal, NZICF 2018 Best Newcomer winner, 2019 Billy T nominee)
  • Josh Davies (2019 NZ Fringe Most Promising Emerging Artist nominee)
  • Lana Walters (Have You Been Paying Attention?, Funny Girls, NZICF 2018 Best Newcomer nominee)
  • Ray O’Leary (Have You Been Paying Attention?, 7 Days, NZICF 2017 Billy T nominee)
billy t

The Billy T Award celebrates the memory and achievements of Billy T James, a comedian who forged a hugely successful career and changed the face of comedy in Aotearoa. The award supports up-and-coming comedians with the outstanding potential to take their comedy career to the next level. All five nominees kick off their Festival with a performance at Billy T Jams on Friday 28 February, and help close the Festival season at the awards celebration Last Laughs on Sunday 24 May, as well as securing their own one-hour shows during the 2020 NZ International Comedy Festival (April 30 – May 24).

This year’s expert panel of five judges, who have a wide range of combined experience across the comedy, television and theatre industries, are Justine Smith (Comedian and Billy T Winner 2007), Kylie Sealy (Former Festival Director of the NZ International Comedy Festival, and current NZ Comedy Trust Chair), Steve King (NZ Comedy Trust Board member and original founding member of The Classic), Ahi Karunaharan (Theatre director, producer, writer and actor), and Tony Manson (Commissioner for TVNZ). Successful in their task to narrow down 19 applicants to five nominees, their next challenge is to judge this year’s crop of Billy T nominees all aspects of their performance, with the winner crowned during the awards presentation at Last Laughs.

Tickets to see the first offering from all the awesome 2020 nominees at Billy T Jams are on sale now from This excellent showcase of outstanding new talent will be held on Friday 28 February 2020 at Rangatira in Q Theatre, hosted by this year’s Billy T winner Kura Forrester.

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  1. MuddledUpMolly 01/12/2019 at 10:57 pm

    The Billy T awards are fantastic and it is great to see a range of nominees here. I am not currently aware of any of them but I’m sure that at least one of them will be known in no time at all.

  2. Loucyd3 01/12/2019 at 1:05 am

    I loved Billy T James as a youngster, he was a great comedian, brynley stent is so funny too, my hubby and I love our comedians, good luck to the 5 nominees.

  3. Micht 30/11/2019 at 11:05 pm

    1st im hearing about this as im not originally from NZ but great to see new up and coming local comedians and that comedy ia going strong.

  4. Bevik1971 26/11/2019 at 3:55 pm

    Nothing can beat good old Billy T! Still remember watching him as a kid and laughing!! Tough gig being a comedian, some have to work at it and some it comes more naturally 🙂

  5. dawnblyth 26/11/2019 at 3:44 pm

    I loved Billy T James as a comedian and still do today. I often find today’s comedians that we see on tv can be quite vulgar and not actually that funny. Good honest humour is what I like! Good luck to the nominees!

  6. SarahBlair 23/11/2019 at 7:22 pm

    This would be so fun to go and watch, i have never seen a live comedy show but I would really love to! Good luck to the nominees!

  7. Mands1980 20/11/2019 at 11:02 am

    Billy T Jams was a great comedian and it’s great to see this continuing on with other great people congratulations to the top 5 2020 nominees for the Billy T Jams award. This would be great to watch but we are too far away unfortunately

  8. Jen_Wiig 19/11/2019 at 4:39 pm

    Well done to the top 5, its no easy task coming up with fresh new material and then perform it in front of loads of people… I’ve been to our NZ comedy festival once on my bday and it was the best night out in ages… We have sooooo much talent here and our kiwi sense of humour is just the best (not bias at all haha)
    Comedy seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year here too which great and with the likes of tape face making it big in the US it’ll only be a matter of time before us awesome kiwis take over the world of comedy hehehee

  9. Shorrty4life1 11/11/2019 at 10:27 am

    How awesome is this for the 5 nominee’s. Very exciting. This would be amazing to go to. I must check back to the tickets with hubby when he gets home. Could definitely be a fun and entertaining show

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