Rima Te Wiata created a name for herself impersonating famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Te Wiata has acted in everything from Australian soap Sons and Daughters to movie Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Englishman David Bellamy is a world famous botanist, author, broadcaster and conservationist. He came to prominence in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s with numerous natural history programmes. His trademark beard, larger than life personality and ability to make science understandable made him a popular addition to family viewing time. In 1990 he came to New Zealand to host Moa’s Ark, a landmark documentary series telling the history of our country’s unique evolutionary past. In recent years, Bellamy has become a more controversial figure with his claims that global warming is just part of the earth’s natural climate cycle.
Roger Gascoigne was at one stage the most famous man on New Zealand television. He began his TV career as a continuity announcer and introduced his infamous wink to the nation. He went on to present a huge range of TV shows in the 70s and 80s including Ready to Roll, Top Town and several Telethons. During the 80s he made the transition to news presenting on regional show Today Tonight.
Got a major live event you want to put on television? Ron Pledger has long been one of the first people to get on the phone. The MBE-awarded director has commanded live coverage of Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral, Kiri Te Kanawa in concert, This is Your Life and roughly 20 Anzac Day ceremonies. His screen career also encompasses church choirs, Canadian soap operas, the infamous GOFTA awards, and the madness of Top Town.
Rima Te Wiata won fame with her impersonations of famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Her most famous parody was of newsreader Judy Bailey. Te Wiata is also a successful dramatic actor, having appeared in Shark in the Park and Shortland Street. Her film credits include Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
The path of comedy folk duo Flight of the Conchords is dotted with failure, dismal corporate gigs, globetrotting fans and Grammy Awards. This extended Funny As interview sees Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie savouring their memories of the early days, and all the TV shows that got rejected along the way. Among the topics mentioned are: Wearing naked suits on the streets of Melbourne while promoting an early show The perpetual challenge of singing and playing guitar at the same time The Wellington stylings of their comedy — and how creative collaborator Taika Waititi throws a mean pizza McKenzie's opinion that Pulp Comedy "wasn't very flattering or helpful" to the comedians who featured on it How they probably wouldn't have lasted if that infamous, rejected show for TVNZ had ever come to pass How the Conchords got their name
Goretti Chadwick and Anapela Polataivao have been performing as comedy duo Pani & Pani since the mid 2000s. They created and hosted TV's Game of Bros, and have appeared on Fresh. This interview includes the duo discussing: Taking the mickey out of their mums’ enthusiasm for potatoes while growing up Their early love of Billy T James, and finding the best laughs were to be had in church How a failed attempt to avoid a famous teacher at Auckland Girls' Grammar School led Chadwick to acting studies at Unitec, and later taking up comedy Polataivao finding the itch for drama through cheeky improvisation during Sunday School plays, being a founder of theatre group Kila Kokonut Krew, and why she still considers herself a dramatic actor How Pani & Pani was inspired by Charlotte Dawson advice show How’s Life?, and trying to make each other laugh How Pani & Pani are highly exaggerated versions of themselves
Jon Bridges and Paul Yates met at university in Palmerston North, before performing with comedy group Facial DBX (see this Funny As interview).
Actor Theresa Healey first appeared on screen entertaining a generation of kids on Play School, having already supplied the voice for the show's famous opening. She won fame thanks to a five year stint as popular character Carmen Roberts on Shortland Street. Since then Healey has acted in a range of New Zealand TV dramas including Mercy Peak, Go Girls and Filthy Rich. She has also acted in films Jubilee, Savage Honeymoon and Vermilion.
Director and producer Mark Beesley has worked on some of New Zealand's most high profile series, including Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, The Blue Rose and The Almighty Johnsons. Beesley also worked on the big American shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: Legendary Journeys. He also wrote and directed the 'Westie' feature film Savage Honeymoon, which some credit as an inspiration for Outrageous Fortune.