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.
She always thought she'd become an actor — but comedy poet Penny Ashton says poetry "chose" her. Ashton has toured her solo shows around the world, and in this Funny As interview she covers a range of topics, including: Being a cabaret act — doing a mix of poetry, songs and comedy — and lamenting that there’s less cabaret around in New Zealand than there used to be Producing Rhys Darby’s first solo show and Paolo Rotondo's play Little Che, and meeting poet Pam Ayres Representing New Zealand on a poetry tour of England, and different styles of slam poetry around the world The time a man yelled out "lose weight" during a performance — and the great response from a woman in the front row that inspired a new poem — plus the “new breed of woke bros coming through” Doing 130 shows in 55 towns across five countries between April 2017 and May 2018, at which point she "couldn’t remember what my husband looked like" How tough performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is, how phenomenally beautiful the city is, and how "f***ing terrible" the weather is
Jackie van Beek's CV is as impressive as it is long — she's a respected actor, writer, and director across comedy and drama, for stage, television and film.
South African-born Urzila Carlson got her break in Kiwi comedy in 2008, after a workmate entered her in a stand-up competition.
Michael Heath's imagination has spawned movies bursting with murder and mayhem, as well as lyrical tales of childhood and unheralded artists. Heath's work ranges widely – some of his films are lyrical, comical and murderous all at the same time. His scripts include two contenders for New Zealand's first horror film (Death Warmed Up and Next of Kin), plus an affectionate adaptation of Ronald Hugh Morrieson classic The Scarecrow, which was the first Kiwi movie invited to the Cannes Film Festival. In recent years Heath has blossomed from writer into director.
Comedian Rose Matefeo’s star is in the ascendant.
For more than two decades, Shirley Horrocks has been creating documentaries focussing on key figures from the New Zealand arts scene. Among her works are docos about photographer Marti Friedlander, artist Len Lye and playwright Roger Hall. She has also directed two science related films – Venus: A Quest and Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms.
Starting out in Christchurch with the aim of becoming a serious actor, comedian Eli Matthewson has found his place further north — in stand-up, and as a writer for television.
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
Paul Williams is a stand-up comedian and musician who does podcasts about basketball.