In 1969 Dave Smith acted in New Zealand's first televised comedy sketch show, In View of the Circumstances.
Funnyman actor Peter Rowley is best known for his appearances in a number of TV comedy shows including A Week of It, McPhail and Gadsby, The Billy T James Show, the self-titled Pete and Pio, with Pio Terei, and Letter to Blanchy. Rowley does, however, have a dramatic side which he has ably demonstrated in the feature films Savage Islands, Russian Snark and Netherwood.
Tom Scott made his name for his portraits - both written and drawn - of politics and politicians, and for getting thrown out of the occasional press conference by Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. But Scott has also had a diverse career in the screen industry. Apart from writing feature film Separation City, he has worked with racist school teachers, animated border collies, and written drama and documentaries on iconic Kiwis David Lange and Sir Edmund Hillary.
Late comedian and writer Jon Gadsby was an integral part of the local comedy landscape. With his long-time friend and colleague David McPhail, Gadsby headlined some of New Zealand's most iconic comedy shows this country has produced. They first teamed up in the 1970s for A Week of It, which took pot-shots at politicians, news, and everyday life. The pair then moved on to the long-running McPhail and Gadsby. Gadsby also penned rural comedy Rabbiter's Rest and co-created Letter to Blanchy.
Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story author Helene Wong grew up in 1950s Aotearoa, and has worked in the arts as a performer, writer, and film critic. She discusses her varied career in this Funny As interview, including: Growing up with radio comedy, being the class clown at school, and realising that you could make people laugh with voices and accents The university capping review being a revelation and a liberation — presenting an opportunity to deal with issues and being more than just "prancing about on the stage" How the introduction of television meant being able to see politicians — "their physicality, their flaws and their body language" – providing wonderful source material for satirists Working with Roger Hall, John Clarke, Dave Smith and Catherine Downes on university revue One in Five, and mimicking three-screen promotional film This is New Zealand to open the show Working for Prime Minister Robert Muldoon in the 70s as a social policy advisor – despite spending “the previous few years having a lot of fun satirising him”– and feeling that he had a "kind of dark force field around him" Reaching a turning point in comedy about Asians in New Zealand; Asians have started to "take back the power" and "as opposed to encouraging audiences to laugh at us, we’re now getting them to laugh with us"
After starting out in stand-up comedy as a university student in Wellington, Guy Williams won a contest to become Dai Henwood’s protege in 2009. He has been working in TV and radio ever since.
Michèle A’Court is well-known for her stand-up comedy talents, but she began her screen career as a presenter on kids show What Now?. The multi award-winning comedian and columnist has also been a reporter on youth news show The Video Dispatch;
John Terris is a former broadcaster turned politician, who started out as a continuity announcer in the early 1960s. Shifting behind the camera, Terris worked on many early current affairs and information shows such as Compass, Country Calendar and Town and Around. In 1978 Terris became Labour MP for Western Hutt, and for a time was the party's broadcasting spokesman. These days he heads television advocacy group Media Matters.
The late Marcia Russell was an award-winning journalist and TV writer/producer with a long career in New Zealand media. Her first television role was as host of the 1970s talk show Speakeasy. Russell moved on to news and current affairs roles with TVNZ, and helped set up the fledgling TV3 news department in the late 1980s. She was involved with some of the most notable documentary series produced in New Zealand such as Landmarks and The New Zealand Wars. Russell also produced the four-part documentary series Revolution, which chronicled the rise of the Lange Government and its impact on the New Zealand economy and society. Russell was awarded an OBE for services to journalism in 1996 and was a recipient of the Academy of Film and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Des Monaghan has made an enormous contribution to the television industry as a TV producer and network executive in both New Zealand and Australia. Starting as a trainee producer with the NZBC, Monaghan produced a range of pioneering current affairs shows such as Town and Around, Gallery and Compass. In more recent years, Monaghan set up Australasian production company Screentime, whose slate includes popular shows Popstars, Underbelly, Police Ten 7 and Beyond the Darklands.