New Zealand Comedy Trust cancels 2022 NZ International Comedy Festival


The New Zealand Comedy Trust has made the gutting decision to cancel the 2022 NZ Intl. Comedy Festival, which was to be held in May.

Despite working through multiple ways of presenting the 2022 Festival programme, the Festival cannot go ahead as planned.

The decision has come down to the mass disruption caused by the spread of Omicron, the level of preparation required from artists to create their shows and from organisers to deliver such a large-scale event.

Crafting excellent live comedy requires the feedback of live audiences. The ongoing impact of the Red restrictions, on top of the extended 2021 lockdown, has made this unfeasible.

The Festival was set to feature over 150 comedians from around Aotearoa, across 600 live comedy performances.

The NZ Comedy Trust recognise the enormous loss for our comedy community and their hearts go out to the artists, producers, venues, production companies and hospitality businesses that this cancellation will impact. They also recognise that audiences need live comedy more than ever, so this is an upsetting decision. 

The Trust team will now refocus on how to best support the wellbeing and financial sustainability of the industry during this challenging time.

“This was an incredibly hard decision, as our kaupapa is to provide a stage for comedians to perform their craft and for audiences to enjoy live comedy, especially at a time where we all want to escape or challenge what’s going on in the world. While it is heartbreaking to cancel a second Festival in three years, this is absolutely the right choice for our community, our industry, our audiences, and the New Zealand Comedy Trust”, says general manager Lauren Whitney.

Not everything is cancelled, the Trust team are working through plans to bring laughter to kiwis in 2022.

The highly anticipated showcase, the Best Foods Comedy Gala will be rescheduled in both Auckland and Wellington for later this year, with new dates announced next week. The Auckland show will be filmed to broadcast on by THREE to share comedy with audiences across the motu.

‘With the support of our wonderful stakeholders and funders we are able to look at how we can best support the industry and also make some sensational comedy experiences for audiences across the rest of 2022. We’ll also be back next year with a full Festival line up of incredible live comedy shows to enjoy!’ says Whitney.

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