Dave Smith was a law student at Victoria University when he was "accosted" by fellow student Roger Hall to join him onstage. Later the pair acted in university revue One in Five. The popular show, which also starred John Clarke, was released on vinyl. Smith's first television gig was In View of the Circumstances (1969), New Zealand's first comedy sketch show. He went on to write for Edwards on Saturday and Public Eye. Controversy ensued on the former when ex Prime Minister Jack Marshall sued the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, after Smith wrote a sketch calling Keith Holyoake's dog Sir Jack.
The script would be sent away and it would come back with all kinds of blue markings on it. It was in the days when I think politicians thought they owned... [the NZ Broadcasting Corporation] It was just their advertising arm of government. It didn't want any kind of boat rocking going on. I remember one sketch, we filmed it so many times, eventually the changes that were made were utterly pointless, because it just had to be a government minister or there wasn't a joke. Dave Smith, on local television in the late 1960s, in his extended Funny As interview
Funny As traces the history of New Zealand comedy through archive footage, and extensive interviews with local comedy talent. Debuting on TVNZ 1 in July 2019, the five-part series explores how Kiwis "have used comedy to navigate decades of profound cultural change". Funny As touches on everything from live and musical comedy, to pioneers of Kiwi screen humour (e.g. Fred Dagg, Lynn of Tawa) and the hit exports of later years (Flight of the Conchords, Rose Matafeo). The series was made by production/creative agency Augusto, and produced by comedy veteran Paul Horan.
Gibson Group production Public Eye was inspired by the British series, Spitting Image. Latex puppets caricature topical personalities, mostly drawn from the world of politics (Ruth Richardson, Helen Clark, Winston Peters etc). Their foibles are duly skewered in fast-moving comic skits such as the 'Ruatoria Rasta' segment, 'The White Way' and 'Honky Tanga'. The wickedly grotesque puppets were based on drawings by cartoonist Trace Hodgson, and built by a team headed by future Weta FX maestro, Richard Taylor.