Billy T Jams – Q Theatre March 2, 2018

Its hard to complain about a comedy gig, especially when you and your companion leave the theatre collectively carrying close to two kilos of unsolicited mayonnaise. 

Welcome to the Billy T Jams – don’t hold the mayo – which showcased this year’s nominees for the Billy T James award and officially kicked off New Zealand’s  impending comedy festival season.

Award nominees Melanie Bracewell, Alice Snedden, singing duo Two Hearts, James Malcolm and  Donna Brookbanks  dressed for, shocked, out heckled, synced menstrual cycles and sung odes to slutty ghosts at a packed Q Theatre.

Hosted by a spiffily dressed and charming Rhys Mathewson, via government Lotto conspiracies and bathroom accidents, the evening bodes well for this year’s festival.

Diving deep into the perils of online dating, “six Subway foot longs and a bit tall,” Melanie Bracewell kicked off the the evening’s laughs.

The home birthed Alice Snedden’s “Alpha Ovaries” shared stories of growing up in Ponsonby with an overtly political mother  and the challenges of being a feminist in a New York Hooters.

A crowd favourite, comedy pop duo Two Hearts (Laura Daniel & Joseph Moore), dropped beats addressing the perils of slut shaming mystical beings.

Donna Brookbanks character nervously navigated the worst-case scenario of arriving to a gig late and pants-less mounting the stage in a manner which suggests it should be considered as a new Olympic event.

Picking up what Donna put down, James Malcolm, deconstructed his mother’s 12 kilogram dildo collection via the joys of conceptual versus actual blow jobs.

Closing up the evening, last year’s Billy T winner, the divinely droll Angella Dravid, deserves another prize for shutting down a heckler who dared to pre-empt a punchline. Her deadpan delivery turned the crowd into a howling mass.

Billy T finalists are judged over the course of the Comedy Festival which runs April 26 -May 20.

Go, you need too, these folks are talented.

Neesha Bremner