The Billy T nominees for 2018 have been announced
The cream of the comedy crop has been announced and the 2018 Billy T James nominations are looking flasher than ever.
The five nominees are already well-established in comedy circles. They are Alice Snedden, Melanie Bracewell, James Malcolm, Donna Brookbanks and Two Hearts, made up of Laura Daniels and Joseph Moore.
Marketing manager Lauren Whitney said it was a point of difference this year - to select people who were already working full-time in comedy.
With tighter criteria, only 16 people were eligible to enter against 32 last year. Contestants were required to have already performed a solo show in the Comedy Festival.
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Picked for their proven comedic ability, talent, dedication, current form and outstanding potential, the five nominees impressed judges at The Classic in Auckland on Thursday night with their show concepts and career goals.
Alice Snedden is fast rising in the Auckland scene as a comedian, writer and improviser. She trained and performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York where she completed their long form improv program. She was nominated for Best Newcomer at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival 2017 and is a member of the hit weekly show, SNORT, on at the Basement Theatre.
Alice is currently head writer for TV3's Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, columnist for the Sunday Star Times and Stuff, and co-host of podcast Boners of the Heart.
At only 22 years old, Melanie Bracewell has shot to success in comedy. She began in 2014 as the winner of the 7 Days Comedy Apprentice competition and continued impressing audiences to win the 2015 Raw Comedy Quest. Since then, she has been in hot demand, performing at events including Rhythm and Vines and won the Best Newcomer award for her first solo show in the 2016 Comedy Festival.
With goofy observations and natural stage charisma, Melanie is a master of anecdotes.
James Malcolm is the Taylor Swift of New Zealand comedy, because they both write about their ex boyfriends. James shocks and entertains with an explicitly detailed look into his adventures as a wannabe gay icon.
He was nominated for the 2016 Billy T Award, and won the 2014 NZ Raw Comedy Quest.
Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore
Two Hearts - Laura Daniel (Jono and Ben, Funny Girls, 7 Days) and Joseph Moore (also of those shows) have ditched their solo comedy careers to become a serious pop-music duo that go by the name of Two Hearts.
Self-titled the Bieber and Beyoncé of musical comedy, this powerhouse duo delivers catchy AF bangers, that also have jokes in them.
Donna Brookbanks is a comedian, improviser and actor. She is a founding member of Snort, Auckland's cult hit improv show. Donna debuted her solo show, Cat Lady in Waiting, at this year's NZ International Comedy Festival and was nominated for Best Newcomer. She has attended the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Snort for the last three years and, in 2017, was part of a double bill with Alice Snedden.
Donna appeared and written for TV's Funny Girls, Jono and Ben and Best Bits and appeared twice as Leonie the wedding celebrant on Shortland Street.
Nominees will perform one-hour shows in next year's NZ International Comedy Festival from April 26 to May 20 and their final performances and award presentation will take place at Last Laughs on Sunday May 20.