Alongside co-starring in classic office comedy Gliding On, Susan Wilson has acted in drama series Pioneer Women and a host of stage roles. This Funny As interview sees her touching on several subjects, including: Still being recognised for her Gliding On role as straight-talking office worker Beryl — which she played for five seasons Feeling lucky she got to play an early feminist role model on-screen — "Beryl usually solved the dilemma of the episode in some way, while all the men just couldn't cope" Lamenting the lack of diverse roles for women in the 1970s: "the girlfriend in the background, or the silly typist with the nail varnish on the desk" Working with playwright Roger Hall at Wellington's Circa Theatre: "He's always been able to capture whatever it is that's important that's going on around us" The "amazing, genius comedy" of John Clarke, witnessed while acting with him onstage in Wellington
A Week of It co-creator David McPhail is a verifiable Kiwi comedy legend.
Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce both got their starts in TV comedy after stints at broadcasting school, before joining forces in 2012 to create long-running hit show Jono and Ben. Here they talk about their careers, including: Hating M*A*S*H but loving SportsCafe — and how Jono and Ben was a loose version of Marc Ellis and Matthew Ridge's TV partnership, only without the athleticism or business smarts Early forays into broadcasting, including a young Jono harassing Mai Fm DJ Robert Rakete until he was allowed on the radio, and Ben Boyce’s haphazard attempt at rugby commentary as a 19-year-old Ben discusses early creative endeavours including making movies on a farm as a kid, writing the "show us your crack" advert, and creating an early version of Pulp Sport at broadcasting school The perks of working with your best mate everyday on Jono and Ben, and getting to see younger talents from the show succeed — e.g. Guy Williams, Rose Matafeo, Laura Daniel and Jordan Watson (How to Dad) The challenges of transitioning from their 10pm time slot after 7 Days, to an hour of prime time at 7:30pm — and how Jono and Ben was hitting its stride in its seventh and final season How the internet is changing how comedy is viewed, and the difficulty of advertising executives always requesting “a viral video”
Actor, writer, and director Madeleine Sami has been honing her skills in theatre, television and film since she was a teen. She talks in this Funny As interview about Kiwi humour, performing, and other subjects, including: Coming from a large, close extended family, where "everyone's got a good singing voice and everyone's a comedian" Travelling around the world to perform in Toa Fraser plays Bare and No. 2, soon after leaving high school Learning to write on drama/comedy TV series Super City, and playing all five lead characters in the first season Worries over whether Americans would get the humour in her and Jackie van Beek's film The Breaker Upperers Feeling excited that New Zealand comedy is respected overseas — "It feels really nice, it feels like we can be ourselves and laugh at ourselves and the rest of the world get it" Wanting to try stand-up comedy next
Raised in Scotland and New Zealand, Erik Thomson found his acting career really taking off in Australia — including six seasons playing dad on TV hit Packed to the Rafters.
Laura Daniel has appeared in and written for Funny Girls and Jono and Ben, and been Billy T nominated for both her own stand-up and duo Two Hearts (whose Funny As interview is here).
Outrageous Fortune ran for six seasons, and lodged itself in New Zealand pop culture forever. The series tells the story of Cheryl West and her attempts to turn her Westie family away from a life of crime. A ratings hit for TV3, Outrageous Fortune proved that New Zealand television drama could hold its own against overseas productions.
Annie Whittle had already made her mark as a singer, before she played all the female roles on the first season of comedy hit A Week of It.
Comedy legend David McPhail began making New Zealanders laugh in pioneering 1970s sketch show A Week of It, then he and Jon Gadsby moved on to McPhail and Gadsby. The two comedians also had big parts to play in sitcom Letter to Blanchy. Later McPhail starred as the appallingly politically incorrect teacher in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby.
Suzanne Paul made a splash on our TV screens as the Queen of Infomercials in the 1980s. She soon had her own TV show called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, followed by a range of other popular primetime programmes. Despite breaking a rib in the final episode, Paul won the third season of Dancing with the Stars.