Wayne Leonard began his career as a sound operator, but later moved to directing, where he made his name helming sports and live shows that require multiple cameras. Leonard has directed some of the biggest events on television from the Olympic Games and America’s Cup, to Christmas in the Park. He has also produced or directed primetime TV shows This is Your Life, My Kitchen Rules and Game of Two Halves. In 2013 he was part of the team nominated for multiple Emmy awards for coverage of the America’s Cup in San Francisco.
All female stand-up show Girls Gotta Eat took Auckland by storm in 1990. The show gave women a chance to laugh at themselves in a supportive environment. Actors Vicki Walker (Away Laughing), Fiona Edgar (Brokenwood Mysteries, Vermillion) and Brenda Kendall (Double Booking) share their memories in this Funny As interview, including: Queues around the block for the monthly show (which began as A Girls Gotta Eat) — "everyone felt safe laughing their heads off. There was no boorish heckling, none of that stuff" How the involvement of The Topp Twins helped draw crowds to the venue, Ponsonby pub The Gluepot How one male performer per show was allowed — including Kevin Smith Brenda Kendall recalls how she started in stand-up at Sweetwaters music festival How Fanny Business, another female-only group, followed after Girls Gotta Eat Note: Vicki Walker talks more about Girls Gotta Eat, as part of her solo Funny As interview.
Hugh Macdonald’s long filmmaking career encompasses historical epics, Oscar-nominated shorts, and lots of time on the road. Macdonald is probably best-known for three-screen spectacular This is New Zealand, which got crowds queueing at World Expo in Japan, before playing for months back home. A two-decade long stint at the National Film Unit also saw him directing two episodes of historical epic The Governor, and producing the first of many animated shorts.
In his third interview for Funny As, comedian and 7 Days presenter Jeremy Corbett discusses more singular comedic pursuits, including his extensive career in radio and TV. On top of mentioning how his university degree ran a “distant third” to DJing on Radio Massey and the capping revue, he talks about: Being part of the team that established Energy FM in New Plymouth — including Steven Joyce in his pre-MP days — and being the only one to leave early and miss out on becoming a millionaire Spending 18 years as breakfast host on More FM, then losing interest when radio became homogenised: the “oh I put the coloureds in with the whites in the washing machine, have you ever done that? Text us” moment The awkward moment where he played a tasteless parody song to singer John Mayer in a radio interview Memories of a comedy pilot with Paul Holmes and Mike Hosking, which turned into “a pissing contest between the two of them to be either the most knowledgeable or funniest” 7 Days being his "dream show”, the importance of the writers' room, and getting goosebumps watching the first show go to air Changing a te reo comedy routine on The Project, after taking on board feedback that the routine was “not particularly woke” — and the challenge of delivering the routine in Māori Jeremy Corbett can also be seen in these Funny As interviews with his brother Nigel, and as part of comedy group Facial DBX.
The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX.
Rachel Jean has produced and/or directed over 40 documentaries, made award-winning drama and film, and set up and run production company Isola Productions. Jean moved from producing and directing to the role of Head of Drama and Comedy at TV3, and now works at South Pacific Pictures.
Ray Henwood, ONZM — father of comedian Dai — arrived in New Zealand from Wales, just in time for the birth of professional theatre downunder. Best known to TV viewers for five seasons playing Hugh on hit comedy Gliding On, Henwood’s screen roles included villains (The Legend of William Tell) and surgeons (Shortland Street). On stage he played Stalin, Einstein and Richard Burton, and starred in early plays at Wellington theatres Downstage and Circa.
Martin Devlin’s first screen appearance involved playing a policeman in a film shot in Taranaki - he can’t remember the name of it, but is fairly sure it wasn’t a box office hit. Following success as a radio broadcaster, Devlin made his first foray into television on a rugby panel for Sky TV, before hosting sports show House of Football. Since then Devlin has been a familiar face on NZ television, as part of mad-cap game show A Game of Two Halves, triumphantly beating Peter Urlich to finish second to last on Dancing with the Stars, and hosting Football World Cup and Rugby World Cup coverage for TV ONE.
Jon Bridges and Paul Yates met at university in Palmerston North, before performing with comedy group Facial DBX (see this Funny As interview).