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.
Peter Rowley was in his early 20s when David McPhail asked him to audition for new comedy show A Week of It. Rowley talks in this Funny As interview about his long career, performing with Billy T James, and other subjects, including: Working as a stage manager at Christchurch's Court Theatre, before getting his break on A Week of It in 1977 — "It was just sensational, and it was groundbreaking" First meeting Billy T James in a corridor, and clicking with him straight away Giving up stand-up comedy in Australia to write and act in The Billy T James Show, and moving into Billy's house to write the series Hanging out of a helicopter for The Billy T James Show, and having "the most fun a guy could ever have" on accidents will happen comedy Letter to Blanchy Being a "bit difficult" while co-starring on comedy Pete and Pio in the 1990s Wearing an $8,000 wig for 2018 movie Mortal Engines (in which he played a slave trader) Note: For more on Billy T, check out this Funny As interview with Rowley and Billy T's former minder Rick Harris.
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”
Thomas Sainsbury is an accomplished playwright, actor and director, who found national fame in 2017 with his Snapchat impressions of MP Paula Bennett.
Rick Harris began working as Billy T James' minder in 1986 — "I drove the car, I rolled the smokes, I made the tea." He reminisces about the fun times they had in this Funny As interview. Billy T James Show co-star Peter Rowley joins Harris, 19 minutes in. They discuss subjects such as: The real life inspiration behind Billy T's iconic laugh How Billy T loved to have fun, including spraying Rowley with a firehose while he was asleep in bed How Billy was able to get away with anything — says Rowley: "He had this lovely, almost little boy quality housed in this super talented adult" Billy being a "law unto himself", who disliked listening to advice Billy's concern for his daughter Cherie when his house was shot at, and their "immense" bond Note: For more on Billy T, check out Peter Rowley's solo interview for Funny As.
Actor Blair Strang shot to fame in New Zealand playing the likeable ambulance driver Rangi in Shortland Street. After six years, he quit the show and returned to law school. Since then, his acting career has been resurrected playing a range of characters in shows such as Go Girls, Spin Doctors, Doves of War, Orange Roughies and Nothing Trivial.
Producer/director Michael Firth first made his mark directing ski movie Off the Edge. A key early film in the NZ 'new wave', the documentary earned an Academy Award nomination in 1977. Firth went on to direct dramatic features Sylvia, Heart of the Stag and Vulcan Lane. But he loved the outdoors best: he went off the edge again in 1987 with zany adventure movie The Leading Edge, and was behind internationally successful TV series Adrenalize and fishing show Take the Bait.
Pietra Brettkelly is an award-winning New Zealand filmmaker who travels the world to make her documentaries. The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, her Sundance-selected film about international adoption, won best director and documentary at the 2009 Qantas Film and TV Awards. Māori Boy Genius was invited to the Berlin, Sydney and NZ Film Festivals.
James Anderson and Nick Ward are the brains behind Auckland based production company Two Heads. They've made a name for themselves producing fresh and quirky documentaries and TV series such as Santarchy, Making Tracks, The Cheerleaders and Funny Roots. Two Heads are also the creative force behind TV ONE’s hit show The Food Truck.
Lisa Chappell won early fame playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern in 1980s soap Gloss. After acting in police drama Shark in the Park, she moved to Australia and landed a major role in hit series McLeod’s Daughters.