Millen Baird found comedy after deciding there was no future for him in being a tax accountant — yes, a tax accountant!
Starting out in Christchurch with the aim of becoming a serious actor, comedian Eli Matthewson has found his place further north, in stand-up and as a writer for television.
Actor Lynn Waldegrave found TV fame appearing on comedy shows A Week of It and McPhail and Gadsby, before relocating to London for 20 years. She discusses her long career in this laugh-filled Funny As interview, including: Memories of her father’s humour, and him having a “face for every day of the week” How an inebriated fart led to her being cast in A Week of It Working on McPhail and Gadsby and being made to do “murderous things” – but having fun Running into actor William Shatner after emerging from a lake in Hagley Park for a McPhail and Gadsby skit Public reaction when she exposed her breasts for a ‘Nude News’ skit Sending up Radio with Pictures host Karyn Hay — and how much Hay hated it
Jon Bridges and Paul Yates met at university in Palmerston North, before performing with comedy group Facial DBX (see this Funny As interview).
Actor/director Danny Mulheron has acted alongside drug-addicted frogs, haunted automobiles, and “force of nature” David Fane. After appearing in early Kiwi soap Close to Home, Mulheron went on to act on television, stage and film - including in the cult Peter Jackson puppet movie Meet the Feebles. In the late 80s he found himself working on both sides of the camera on a run of television sketch shows. Mulheron’s lengthy directorial CV now includes drama, comedy, and documentary.
In 1969 Dave Smith acted in New Zealand's first televised comedy sketch show, In View of the Circumstances.
Joe Musaphia had a hand in writing New Zealand's first sketch show, first sitcom, and first movie musical. The prolific playwright talks in this Funny As interview about his love of comedy and other topics, including: Writing and helping out on New Zealand's first musical Don't Let It Get You — "I had to write some of the songs as well. I didn't enjoy it. I was way out of my depth." Feeling flattered that comedian Billy T James loved his presenting on 1960s kids show Joe's World Recalling a police officer being so nervous on Joe's World that he swore live on-air Having a "ball" writing and acting in 60s sketch show In View of the Circumstances Learning how to act, to enhance his writing
Tom Parkinson is a veteran television producer and director who has worked on iconic Kiwi TV shows such as Hunter’s Gold, Hudson and Halls and Telethon. Parkinson was a key force behind many of our hit comedies in the 70s and 80s, including Billy T James’ shows, A Week of It, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy. Parkinson is also a former Head of Entertainment Programmes at TVNZ, and helped launch TV3.
Jamaine Ross, James Roque and Pax Assadi make up sketch comedy trio Frickin Dangerous Bro. Each are established solo stand-up comedians, but they have performed together for years (and created TV series Only In Aotearoa).
Celebrated actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand began her career as a child and made her screen debut on Paul Maunder-directed Gone Up North for a While aged nine. In her teens she played rebellious Jan in soap opera Close to Home, attended drama school, and on venturing into the professional world, started winning roles, including TV series Seekers, with Temuera Morrision. Her film roles include the colonial glamour drama Desperate Remedies.