The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX. Members Jeremy and Nigel Corbett get their own Funny As interview elsewhere.
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.
Growing up around stage shows and TV studios, Dai Henwood knew from early on that he wanted to be involved in comedy.
John Clarke was one of New Zealand’s best-loved comic performers. His 1970s farming character Fred Dagg became an icon of Kiwi comedy. Clarke worked as a comedian, actor, writer and director. His satirical television series The Games was an Australian Film Institute award-winner. Although based in Australia since 1977, he lent his unmistakeable comic voice to Kiwi TV comedies bro’Town and Radiradirah. In a departure from our usual ScreenTalk format, this extended audio interview was produced and recorded by Andrew Johnstone and Richard Swainson with the assistance of Hamilton Community Radio and The Film School.
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
Nanna Maria (Ruby Dee), the matriarch of a Fijian family living in Auckland, feels that the heart has gone out of her clan. She demands that her grown grandchildren put on a traditional feast, at which she will name her successor. The grandchildren — Soul, Charlene, Hibiscus, Erasmus, and Tyson — reluctantly turn up. But tiffs send the day into chaos. Nanna calls the whole thing off. This lovo-warmed love letter to his Mt Roskill hometown was the debut film for director Toa Fraser (Dean Spanley). It screened at many festivals; it won the World Cinema audience award at Sundance in 2006.
What Now? is a long-running entertainment show for primary school-aged children. Live to air on weekend mornings since 1981, it is a Kiwi kids' TV institution. This Christmas Special sees presenters Simon Barnett, Jason 'The Ace' Gunn, and Cath McPherson larking it up with guests (Cath's Scottish Uncle Bob, Constable Keith and Sniff the Dog, The Wizard of Christchurch, the NZ 'Young Guns' cricket team) and in oddball summer and Christmas tales. Eddie and Fifi do decorative DIY. Check out the stone-wash denim and Barnett's frosted tips and lycra shorts.
Craig Hall's screen career kicked into gear when he played a proud Westie in 2000 big screen comedy Savage Honeymoon. Since then his CV has included telemovie Bloodlines and ongoing roles in The Strip, Outrageous Fortune and various Australian TV dramas. Amongst his movie roles are the cynical salesman in Anthony McCarten's Show of Hands, and starring as a commando in 2011 horror film The Devil's Rock.
Jacob Rajan’s play Krishnan’s Diary was a breakout success, named 1997 Chapman Tripp production of the year. Through company Indian Ink, the Malaysian-born, Kiwi-raised Rajan has since co-created and starred in a series of plays, winning sellout performances, awards in Edinburgh and a renowned American agent. He has also acted on screen in Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, and starred in award-winning Fish Skin Suit.
Oliver Driver's career has seen him fronting arts programmes and breakfast show Sunrise, and portraying everyone from villainous alien Mr Wilberforce to a sensitive sperm donor and a wacky nurse. The ex-Auckland Theatre Company artistic director has also done time with music station Alt TV, co-starred in chalk and cheese comedy Sunny Skies and directed many episodes of Shortland Street.