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Helene Wong - Funny As Interview

Helene Wong - Funny As Interview

Interviews - 2019

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Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story author Helene Wong grew up in 1950s Aotearoa, and has worked in the arts as a performer, writer, and film critic. She discusses her varied career in this Funny As interview, including:

  • Growing up with radio comedy, being the class clown at school, and realising that you could make people laugh with voices and accents
  • The university capping review being a revelation and a liberation — presenting an opportunity to deal with issues and being more than just "prancing about on the stage"
  • How the introduction of television meant being able to see politicians — "their physicality, their flaws and their body language" – providing wonderful source material for satirists
  • Working with Roger Hall, John ClarkeDave Smith and Catherine Downes on university revue One in Five, and mimicking three-screen promotional film This is New Zealand to open the show
  • Working for Prime Minister Robert Muldoon in the 70s as a social policy advisor – despite spending “the previous few years having a lot of fun satirising him”– and feeling that he had a "kind of dark force field around him"
  • Reaching a turning point in comedy about Asians in New Zealand; Asians have started to "take back the power" and "as opposed to encouraging audiences to laugh at us, we’re now getting them to laugh with us"

This interview was recorded for 2019 TV series Funny As: The Story of New Zealand Comedy. All audiovisual content is copyright to Augusto, and may not be reproduced. Publication of Funny As extended interviews made possible with funding from the NZ Lotteries Grants Board.