Jon Bridges developed his stand-up comedy skills while studying English and Computer Science at Massey University. In the early 90s he moved into television with sketch show Away Laughing and drama Homeward Bound. In 1995 he joined the team of cult youth show Ice TV. By 2009 Bridges had become a producer, on the first of seven seasons of hit panel show 7 Days. The show won him two awards. In 2017 he oversaw the launch of Three's primetime show The Project. Bridges has written for kidult series Secret Agent Men and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends — plus a column for The Listener, from 2006 to 2011.
Paul Horan co-founded the NZ Comedy Festival and The Classic Comedy Bar, kickstarting a vital Auckland comedy scene — and his own successful trans-Tasman TV career. His credits include The Topp Twins, Super City, and Australia's Rove Live. After helping develop prime time formats like The Project, his company Slightly Uncomfortable Productions has specialised in hybrid news comedy shows.
Writer, producer and actor Paul Yates is a comedic "everyman". His CV includes sketch shows Facelift and Telly Laughs, pre-teen series Freaky and The Killian Curse, and teen sitcom Girl vs Boy. He’s written for popular sitcoms Willy Nilly and Sunny Skies, and is producer and co-writer for Wellington Paranormal, the successful What We Do in the Shadows spin-off.
Surely the most famous comedian to rise from West Auckland, Ewen Gilmour won the first Billy T award in 1997, and a devoted following. The longtime petrolhead had begun making regular appearances on TV show Pulp Comedy in the mid 90s; there would also be live performances in Paris, Ireland, Montreal, and across the length of New Zealand. Gilmour passed away in his sleep in early October 2014.
Producer Matt McPhail’s CV includes a number of Kiwi comedy hits. He started his career directing 1990s youth show Ice TV, before helping write and direct internationally successful superhero series Amazing Extraordinary Friends. His producing credits include The Jaquie Brown Diaries, the acclaimed Hounds, and downlowconcept feature Gary of the Pacific.
On hand to assist at the birth of wide-eyed television host Thingee, Stephen J Campbell has written and directed a wide range of children’s shows, and worked with Funny Business, Jeremy Corbett and Nigel Latta. Following hit show Ice TV he went on to create successful adventure tales Secret Agent Men, The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, and The Cul de Sac.
Manu Bennett’s acting career has seen him battling Roman gladiators, teaching salsa on acclaimed movie Lantana, and creeping out both superheroes and the staff of Shortland Street.
Don Selwyn, ONZM, was an actor, casting director and mentor to a host of talented Māori who went on to work in film and television. Selwyn’s long acting resume includes 1970s historical epic The Governor and police show Mortimer’s Patch. He also directed The Māori Merchant of Venice, the first feature film in te reo Māori.