Sam Wills started out performing as a child magician, and in 2016 found himself on the America’s Got Talent stage as Tape Face.
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
Irene Wood has played Katherine Mansfield, a nymphomaniac pensioner, and a gin-toting grandma to a Go Girl. Her screen career first got busy in the early days of NZ TV, as an actor, TV presenter, and musical performer. Years later she would snare what is probably her best-known role: as a hard-drinking grandma over five seasons of hit show Go Girls. Wood has also appeared on Shortland Street and in movies Rest for the Wicked and The Shirt.
Samoan-Welsh-Kiwi James Nokise got into stand-up young, won his first break on Pulp Comedy within a year, and later commuted between NZ and the UK to perform both stand-up and theatre. Among the topics he discusses here are: Growing up between the affluent Wellington suburb of Whitby, and his father’s Samoan church community Getting his first break on Pulp Comedy alongside a plethora of talented performers, and getting cocky onstage How a night drinking with overseas comics Ed Byrne, Glen Wool and Lewis Black convinced him that he needed to pursue comedy as a career — and how fellow comic Eteuati Ete convinced Nokise's dad to let him "Accidentally" writing his first play — by writing a comedy show that wasn’t funny — and being nominated for a Chapman Tripp Theatre award The 2011 breakthrough success of political satire Public Service Announcements, and the new generation of satirists that have emerged since the play was first performed Struggling with stand-up in the United Kingdom, the UK success of fellow Kiwi comedians, and how sports stars Tana Umaga and Stephen Fleming helped get him free drinks
Polly Gillespie is a veteran radio personality who helmed ZM's breakfast show for over 20 years, with her then husband Grant Kereama.
Veteran entertainer Ray Woolf has appeared on television and film as a pop singer, song and dance man, TV host and actor. Starting out as a singer, Woolf made a splash on television in the swinging 60s music shows C’mon and Happen Inn. His career took an unusual direction when he turned up as co-host on the long-running children’s show Play School. Showing his versatility as a performer, Woolf also hosted his self-titled chat show The Ray Woolf Show, and has appeared in a number of TV dramas such as Xena, Marlin Bay, Street Legal, The Strip, and Nothing Trivial.
In the early 90s Vicki Walker acted in TV sketch show Away Laughing, and helped set up women's stand-up group A Girl's Gotta Eat. She talks about being a woman in comedy during the 80s/90s, and other subjects, including: Creating and playing her Away Laughing character Felicity, at a time when women rarely got to play their own characters on screen Growing up in Sydney with a "very serious father", before moving to New Zealand to study creative writing at Auckland University Giving stand-up a go in London during the mid 80s, performing in character as a waitress Helping create all women stand-up stage show A Girl's Gotta Eat, and recalling hundreds of people lining Ponsonby Road in Auckland eager to watch the group perform Feeling that she had to work harder and be funnier than her male TV colleagues —"I couldn't afford to be weak once because there might not be a second time" Walker talks in more depth about A Girl's Gotta Eat in this Funny As interview, along with Brenda Kendall and Fiona Edgar.
A dry spell on the acting front saw Albert Belz turn his hand to writing for theatre and television.
A lawyer by trade, Alice Snedden discovered that her passion was performing comedy while living in the United States.
Actor and stand-up comedian Rhys Darby is arguably best known as hapless Flight of the Conchords band manager Murray.