Dunedin-born Alan Dale always had his sights set on brighter lights: first Auckland, then Sydney, then Los Angeles, where he now lives. He started out performing in amateur theatre, but came to professional acting late, taking a DJ slot on Radio Hauraki in his late 20s, followed by a role on the Hauraki-inspired series Radio Waves. Moving to Australia, Dale appeared on The Young Doctors, before playing the fondly remembered solo father, Jim Robinson, for almost a decade on Neighbours. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has often played bad guys, authority figures and moguls on series including ER, Lost, NCIS, 24, The X Files and Entourage, plus high profile roles on The OC and Ugly Betty, and parts in feature films including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dale has returned to New Zealand for only two series: Plainclothes and Auckland Daze. He also appeared in Flight of the Conchords on HBO, playing the Australian Ambassador.
Roger Horrocks is an academic and writer who has mentored many figures in the New Zealand screen industry. Horrocks began teaching film studies at Auckland University in the 1970s, at a time when film was looked down on by academics. He helped launch the Auckland Film Festival (the precursor to the New Zealand International Film Festival), and was a founding board member of funding body NZ On Air.
In the early 90s Vicki Walker acted in TV sketch show Away Laughing, and helped set up women's stand-up group A Girl's Gotta Eat. She talks about being a woman in comedy during the 80s/90s, and other subjects, including: Creating and playing her Away Laughing character Felicity, at a time when women rarely got to play their own characters on screen Growing up in Sydney with a "very serious father", before moving to New Zealand to study creative writing at Auckland University Giving stand-up a go in London during the mid 80s, performing in character as a waitress Helping create all women stand-up stage show A Girl's Gotta Eat, and recalling hundreds of people lining Ponsonby Road in Auckland eager to watch the group perform Feeling that she had to work harder and be funnier than her male TV colleagues —"I couldn't afford to be weak once because there might not be a second time" Walker talks in more depth about A Girl's Gotta Eat in this Funny As interview, along with Brenda Kendall and Fiona Edgar.
James Griffin is the brains behind many successful Kiwi TV dramas and comedies (he co-created Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons). He talks in this Funny As interview about failing, succeeding and more, including: Putting together a TV pilot for comedy group Funny Business, while working at TVNZ's drama department Writing comedy scripts for "old school gentleman" Billy T James How he became script editor for 1980s melodrama Gloss in his mid-20s, and drank lots of champagne Being asked to work on a film Pacific Islanders would like, which ultimately became hit movie Sione's Wedding Learning a lot from failing (City Life, Diplomatic Immunity) as "it can teach you a few things if you're smart enough to learn" How infusing comedy into his dramas (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons) "normalised" Kiwis to seeing New Zealand humour on screen
Actor Paul Ellis is best known for playing bad boy Fergus Kearney on Shortland Street. Since leaving the show, he has appeared in a number of New Zealand, US and UK television productions including The Chosen, Celebrity Treasure Island, Legend of the Seeker, Dream Team and Ice. He has also appeared in 2008 movie The Delphi Effect and online soap Auckland Daze.
Scott Blanks helped launch New Zealand's stand-up comedy scene in the 1980s. The owner and co-founder of Auckland's iconic comedy club The Classic muses about building the live comedy scene and other subjects, including: Getting his start in showbusiness when he was 19, acting in an amateur production of West Side Story Helping form comedy group Funny Business, and being a jack of all trades on their early gigs: "provide a stage, get the lights and sound sorted, and the marketing and the promo..." Starting a rookie comedy night at Auckland pub Kitty O'Brien's, where several comedians (e.g Brendhan Lovegrove, Sugar and Spice) first got their break The excitement of finding and setting up New Zealand's first dedicated live comedy club, The Classic, in 1997 How television stand-up show Pulp Comedy boosted The Classic's audience How his accounting degree helped save The Classic when it ran into money troubles
Actor Mia Blake made her screen debut in ensemble comedy film Hopeless, which then became the TV series Lovebites. In 2006 Blake won an NZ Screen Award for her role in Toa Fraser film No. 2, then starred in horror movie The Tattooist. Blake was nominated again after playing a woman giving birth in short film This is Her. Blake has gone on to act in The Millen Baird Show, Auckland Daze and Golden.
Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Chris Parker grew up seeing long-running improv show Scared Scriptless at Christchurch's Court Theatre. A move to Auckland and comedy troupe Snort — which fellow Snorter Thomas Sainsbury joins him here to discuss — saw him playing David Halls onstage, and becoming a head writer on Jono and Ben. Among other things, Parker discusses: Seeing himself as an actor more than a comedian Getting the role of David Halls in the Hudson and Halls stage play without an audition, and learning about Halls and Peter Hudson's lives as gay men in the public eye, "who couldn't openly be out" The apparent contradiction of being a head writer of mainstream show Jono and Ben, despite his 2015 Comedy Festival show being “a weep fest about coming out to your parents ... like 45 minutes of dancing and no jokes” Winning the prestigious Fred Award for the best show written and performed by a New Zealand comedian, for his 2018 show Camp Binch, which he notes also contained no jokes Watching and learning from fellow actors Jo Randerson and Rima Te Wiata He’s joined by fellow comedian Thomas Sainsbury to discuss Auckland improv group Snort
Kerry Warkia started her career as an actress, but is increasingly making a name for herself as a successful producer in the web world. She is the producer of Auckland Daze, Flat3, and Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life. Warkia and her husband Kiel McNaughton run production company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt, and are two of the key creative forces behind hit Māori Television show Find Me a Māori Bride.