Lisa Chappell first won fame playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern in 1980s glamour soap Gloss. In the 90s she moved to Australia and landed a starring role McLeod’s Daughters. Between small screen gigs, Chappell appeared in period romp Desperate Remedies. In 2009 she returned to New Zealand to play the gun-toting Sophie in TV drama The Cult.
Hanelle Harris is the creator and one of the stars of web series Baby Mama’s Club, which brings Māori and Pasifika solo mothers into the spotlight. Hanelle discusses several topics during her Funny As interview, including: Enjoying playing the villains in plays from a young age, because they always had a lot of “comedy and sarcasm” How she believed getting pregnant at 18 meant that she couldn't have a successful acting career Deciding to write for the screen, because there were no stories that she wanted to direct Creating Baby Mama’s Club to empower young mothers to “make something of their lives”, and create positive representations of Māori and Pasifika women Teaming up with the cast of Flat3 to create a rap battle — Girl Fight — to tackle the issue of racism Reflecting on the problems of past comedy, and how modern audiences can take offense to anything
Jordan Watson is a viral video star thanks to his How to Dad parenting videos, and his three child co-stars.
Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story author Helene Wong grew up in 1950s Aotearoa, and has worked in the arts as a performer, writer, and film critic. She discusses her varied career in this Funny As interview, including: Growing up with radio comedy, being the class clown at school, and realising that you could make people laugh with voices and accents The university capping review being a revelation and a liberation — presenting an opportunity to deal with issues and being more than just "prancing about on the stage" How the introduction of television meant being able to see politicians — "their physicality, their flaws and their body language" – providing wonderful source material for satirists Working with Roger Hall, John Clarke, Dave Smith and Catherine Downes on university revue One in Five, and mimicking three-screen promotional film This is New Zealand to open the show Working for Prime Minister Robert Muldoon in the 70s as a social policy advisor – despite spending “the previous few years having a lot of fun satirising him”– and feeling that he had a "kind of dark force field around him" Reaching a turning point in comedy about Asians in New Zealand; Asians have started to "take back the power" and "as opposed to encouraging audiences to laugh at us, we’re now getting them to laugh with us"
Danielle Cormack began acting on stage, then won a coveted role on popular 80s soap Gloss in her teens. She went on to a one year stint in the early days of Shortland Street. Cormack co-starred in both the TV show and movie versions of Topless Women Talk About Their Lives; her pregnancy was incorporated into the storyline. Cormack's other work includes The Price of Milk and Australian TV hit Wentworth.
From appearing alongside Lucy Lawless and baby ‘Stanley’ in the 90s ASB Bank ads, to headlining hit Aussie drama Packed to the Rafters, actor Erik Thomson has built a solid career and a loyal fan base on both sides of the Tasman. Along the way he has appeared in TV shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Alice and 800 Words, short films (Snap) and movies (We’re Here to Help, The Black Balloon).
Kate Elliott began her life on screen after attending an audition at school. Since winning that role - as a bulimic, sexually abused, self-mutilating teenager in House of Sticks - Elliott has starred in many of New Zealand’s major television productions including Street Legal, The Insiders Guide to Love, The Cult, Shortland Street, and played Katherine Mansfield in tele-feature Bliss. Her film credits include Toy Love, The Locals, and Fracture.
Taika Waititi [Te-Whānau-a-Apanui] acted in movies Scarfies and Snakeskin, TV show The Strip (sometimes under the credit Taika Cohen), and appeared on stage as a stand-up comedian. Turning his creative energies towards directing, he made Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night, and Tama Tū, based on the experiences of The Māori Battalion in WWII. He has gone on to great success directing (and sometimes appearing in) feature films.
Actor Joel Tobeck has played a range of ‘off-centre’ roles from a drug addict to a "bastard in a wheelchair". He has appeared in TV shows Shortland Street, Lawless, Hercules, This is Not My Life and (after this interview) Sons of Anarchy, as well as movies Topless Women Talk About Their Lives and Little Fish.
Producer Rachel Gardner studied at the London School of Economics, and worked as a journalist at the BBC. After returning downunder in 2002 she moved into producing: her work on hit show The Lion Man resulted in an invitation to spend time as Head of Drama at Great Southern Film and Television. Gardner has also worked with Angela Littlejohn on a run of short films, plus features Apron Strings and Show of Hands.