Series

You and Me

Television, 1993–1998

The irrepressible Suzy Cato (who previously presented TV3's Early Bird Show and 3pm) presents a programme for pre-schoolers. From a set designed to look like a house with bathroom, bedroom and live garden, Suzy talks directly to her audience and makes extensive use of te reo. A multi-cultural focus also comes through in the show's stories, songs, animations and puppetry. Suzy's on-set companions are a doll, teddy bear, clown and scarecrow — and a sock puppet family makes regular appearances. More than 2000 episodes were made in eight years.   

You Gotta Know

Supergroove, Music Video, 1994

Black, white and red exuberance abound in this award-winning music video from Supergroove. The band's funk-heavy live performance is intercut with scenes of the band clowning around at the Otara Market, on a Three Kings volcano, and crowded into the back of an open-top VW. The hairstyle of vocalist and future Cambridge classics scholar Karl Steven — shaved, aside from an extended fringe arrangement at the front — is a relic from another era. An alternative video made for the same song revolves around the band doing everything backwards.

Artist

Headless Chickens

Auckland band the Headless Chickens went against the grain of the so-called Dunedin Sound that dominated the roster of legendary record label Flying Nun, by making extensive use of beats and electronica. The band won the Rheineck Rock Award in 1987, and the prize money funded their innovative (for its use of sampling) debut album Stunt Clown. Singer Fiona McDonald joined the band in the early 90s, and it was during this time that they attracted their widest audience. Headless Chickens split up in 1998, but in 2008 performed reunion gigs in Australia and New Zealand.

Hunchin' Down the Track

Television, 1980 (Full Length)

Rodeo thrills and spills — Kiwi style — are on display in this documentary following two cowboys travelling the circuit in a 1950s Chrysler. They compete in events in Fairlie, Rerewhakaaitu and Warkworth, and encounter American and Australian stars along the way. Broncos, calves and bulls are ridden, wrestled or roped; but pride of place goes to spectacular shots of them using rodeo skills to capture deer by helicopter. A parade, the 'Cowboy's Prayer' and fearless rodeo clowns also feature. Legendary commercials maker Geoff Dixon (founder of company Silverscreen) directs.

Come Back

Garageland, Music Video, 1998

Band in the forest rock conventions rule, in this music promo from British video director Gina Birch (of post-punk outfit The Raincoats). Band parks their tour van in the forest; band gets out instruments, and plays song in and around (and on top of) van, and on nearby tree stumps; band clowns around and runs through the trees. It's all good natural fun, in the Flying Nun tradition of simple but effective music videos. 

Mamma

Hollie Smith, Music Video, 2010

Soul songstress Hollie Smith looks gorgeous in a fierce kind of way, in this clip directed by Preston McNeil. Auckland bars Hotel DeBrett and Sale St gleam, and there are clowns, stylish assassins and a mysterious crime. Not to mention celebrity cameos galore — including Danielle Cormack, future Westside actor Pana Hema-Taylor, and music TV hosts Shavaughn Ruakere, Nick Dwyer and Helena McAlpine. Topping it all off: surely the longest credits sequence in the history of Kiwi music videos.

Here's Andy

Television, 1975–1976 (Excerpts)

Teen presenter Andrew Shaw arrived on Kiwi television screens in the mid 70s, in a children's slot which began as TV2 Presents Andy, but was soon retitled Here's Andy. Shaw acted as a host, linking the afternoon's programming live to air, so little was recorded for posterity. This selection of opening sequences includes animated scenes of dancing animals, and images of Andy clowning around, or dressed up as muscleman and spaceman. There are also shots of him taking a Kenworth for a spin, and visiting MOTAT. The high speed final reel was used on follow-up show Hey Hey It's Andy. 

Cactus Cat

Look Blue Go Purple, Music Video, 1986

In this charming clip Look Blue Go Purple show they know how to do video clip clowning around as well as the Flying Nun menfolk. It features the Nun trademark grainy imagery, and a touch of Len Lye-style film scratching. Not surprisingly for a song called 'Cactus Cat', there are lots of shots of cactuses and cats, both real and animated. Assorted early Flying Nun luminaries make guest appearances, including a young Robert Scott. Watch out for the so-not-LA Dunedin take on the handbag dog.

Interview

Jackie van Beek - Funny As Interview

Jackie van Beek's CV is as impressive as it is long — she's a respected actor, writer, and director across comedy and drama, for stage, television and film.

Interview

Helene Wong - Funny As Interview

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"