This Loose Enz edition follows a theatre group developing a play about Greek Gods. The full gamut of am-dram tropes are featured: know-all director, a lecherous lead (Jeffrey Thomas), zealous extras, drunk techies, an existential playwright (Colin McColl), shambolic dress rehearsal etc. Estranged couple Tom (Grant Tilly) and Helen (Liddy Holloway) find the play’s lofty themes echoed in more earthly realities. With a who’s who of NZ luvvies of the era it’s not quite Carry On, but there are japes aplenty, the show must go on, and it’ll be all right on the night.
This consolidating episode of the archive-based New Zealand history series finds World War II at an end, the return of Kiwi servicemen and the country in an optimistic mood. That's sealed by the 1950 British Empire Games where New Zealand is third on the medal table. But rising prices and low incomes lead to more militant unionism, culminating in the fractious waterfront workers dispute of 1951. At the same time there's a new flowering of the arts. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is established and a new generation of writers and artists take centre stage.
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"
Roger Hall began his take over of the Kiwi stage in 1977 with Glide Time. Later the play inspired Gliding On, the first local sitcom to become a major hit.
Dunedin-born Alan Dale always had his sights set on brighter lights: first Auckland, then Sydney, then Los Angeles, where he now lives. He started out performing in amateur theatre, but came to professional acting late, taking a DJ slot on Radio Hauraki in his late 20s, followed by a role on the Hauraki-inspired series Radio Waves. Moving to Australia, Dale appeared on The Young Doctors, before playing the fondly remembered solo father, Jim Robinson, for almost a decade on Neighbours. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has often played bad guys, authority figures and moguls on series including ER, Lost, NCIS, 24, The X Files and Entourage, plus high profile roles on The OC and Ugly Betty, and parts in feature films including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dale has returned to New Zealand for only two series: Plainclothes and Auckland Daze. He also appeared in Flight of the Conchords on HBO, playing the Australian Ambassador.
Scott Blanks helped launch New Zealand's stand-up comedy scene in the 1980s. The owner and co-founder of Auckland's iconic comedy club The Classic muses about building the live comedy scene and other subjects, including: Getting his start in showbusiness when he was 19, acting in an amateur production of West Side Story Helping form comedy group Funny Business, and being a jack of all trades on their early gigs: "provide a stage, get the lights and sound sorted, and the marketing and the promo..." Starting a rookie comedy night at Auckland pub Kitty O'Brien's, where several comedians (e.g Brendhan Lovegrove, Sugar and Spice) first got their break The excitement of finding and setting up New Zealand's first dedicated live comedy club, The Classic, in 1997 How television stand-up show Pulp Comedy boosted The Classic's audience How his accounting degree helped save The Classic when it ran into money troubles
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
New Zealand born and raised, but better known for his work in Australia and the US, Alan Dale began his screen career with Kiwi soap Radio Waves. After eight years as patriarch Jim Robinson on Australia's Neighbours he was later cast in hit US show The OC and he established himself as the man to call for business magnates and authority figures: his CV includes 24, Ugly Betty, Lost, and Once Upon a Time.
Nancy Brunning was on the staff of Shortland Street for the first episode in 1992. In 1999 she stole the screen as a young gang girl in Once Were Warriors sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? She won a second NZ screen award for drama Ngā Tohu: Signatures, and played the family matriarch in 2016 film Mahana. Brunning died in November 2019, shortly before winning Aotearoa's top playwriting award.
Aged 15, Lauren Jackson swapped high school and amateur theatre to star in movie Alex, inspired by the Tessa Duder bestseller about a teenage swimmer who competes in the Olympic Games. Time in Germany fuelled the writing of both Jackson's first play (the award-winning Exchange), and university studies on the German and Kiwi film industries. Since graduating from acting school Toi Whakaari in 2001, she has appeared on stage and screen, and directed two short films: family tale I'm Going to Mum's — which won four awards, and was invited to the 2013 Berlin Film Festival — and 2017 drama Tree.