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
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.
Jesse Mulligan was studying law in Hamilton when his career in comedy kicked off at a stand-up comedy contest. The Project host talks in this Funny As interview about working in radio and television, plus other topics, including: How he "crashed and burned" at the 1995 University Comedy Competition, where Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie and Taika Waititi also performed Getting his break in radio on The Edge in Hamilton — "I learned the lesson that would help me throughout my career, which is that if you're funny, you'll be useful in most organisations" The difference between comedy audiences in Auckland and the capital — "Wellington was a more generous audience" Honing his comedy writing for Jono and Ben and 7 Days
The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX. Members Jeremy and Nigel Corbett get their own Funny As interview elsewhere.
The multi-talented Jim Hopkins started as a serious debater, but inspired by a more comedic style of debating, brought it to New Zealand shores.
Jeremy Elwood is a stand-up comic, who followed up Pulp Comedy with being a regular panelist on 7 Days, and head writer of prime time current affairs show The Project.