The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX.
This edition of the early 90s magazine arts show begins with a visit to Auckland's Herald Theatre to preview a production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Michael Hurst and starring 16-year-old actor Sophia Hawthorne. Raybon Kan explores fatal books; author Ian Cross is interviewed and Bill Ralston reviews Cross’s latest novel (with Ralston wanting to know why all New Zealand art is "so bleak, so barren"). Film Festival director Bill Gosden previews the event's programme, and comedy group Facial DBX is interviewed ahead of the Watershed Comedy Festival.
Brothers Nigel and Jeremy Corbett were a musical comedy duo, before they joined comedy group Facial DBX (see this interview) and hosted stand-up comedy show A Bit After Ten. Jeremy has achieved further success as a comedian and broadcaster, and Nigel pursued a career in advertising.
Jon Bridges and Paul Yates met at university in Palmerston North, before performing with comedy group Facial DBX (see this Funny As interview).
Comedian turned producer Paul Horan interviewed more than 120 people for the Funny As series. In the 100th interview for the show, he finds himself in the hot seat. Horan ranges across Kiwi comedy history as well as his own, including: How making John Clarke laugh was like qualifying for the Olympics — and how the distinctive voice of Clarke's character Fred Dagg was influenced by horse racing commentator Peter Kelly His theory that David Lange's beloved "smell the uranium" joke from 1985 may have influenced New Zealand's emerging comedians How comedy festivals provided a valuable education for Kiwi stand-up talents — from talking with visiting comedians after a show, to witnessing Bill Bailey spin "an extraordinary routine out of the most absurd idea" How Facial DBX (Horan was a member) transformed "from a group of stupid students, through to performers, through to people who ran a venue" (Auckland's Classic Comedy Club) Feeling "extraordinarily proud" to be part of the Kiwi comedy tradition — an art form that forged its own path and thrived despite criticism and a lack of government support Note: Horan is also part of this Funny As discussion about comedy group Facial DBX.
The first episode of this sketch comedy show debuted in May 1991. Most of the skits were tested and filmed in front of a live audience. The large cast includes early appearances by a roll call of emerging talents: Kevin Smith displays his talent for accents, while frustrating a McDonalds lawyer and talking his way through customs; Vicki Walker's character Felicity crushes on Steve Parr; Danny Mulheron's self-satisfied priest Phineas O'Diddle embarrasses Hori Ahipene; and Facial DBX comedians Jon Bridges and David Downs play day-glo clad skateboarders talking digital watches.
Hori Ahipene became a 1990s comedy fixture after working on Skitz, The Semisis (the first Pasifika sitcom) and bilingual comedy show Radio Wha Waho.
In his third interview for Funny As, comedian and 7 Days presenter Jeremy Corbett discusses more singular comedic pursuits, including his extensive career in radio and TV. On top of mentioning how his university degree ran a “distant third” to DJing on Radio Massey and the capping revue, he talks about: Being part of the team that established Energy FM in New Plymouth — including Steven Joyce in his pre-MP days — and being the only one to leave early and miss out on becoming a millionaire Spending 18 years as breakfast host on More FM, then losing interest when radio became homogenised: the “oh I put the coloureds in with the whites in the washing machine, have you ever done that? Text us” moment The awkward moment where he played a tasteless parody song to singer John Mayer in a radio interview Memories of a comedy pilot with Paul Holmes and Mike Hosking, which turned into “a pissing contest between the two of them to be either the most knowledgeable or funniest” 7 Days being his "dream show”, the importance of the writers' room, and getting goosebumps watching the first show go to air Changing a te reo comedy routine on The Project, after taking on board feedback that the routine was “not particularly woke” — and the challenge of delivering the routine in Māori Jeremy Corbett can also be seen in these Funny As interviews with his brother Nigel, and as part of comedy group Facial DBX.
Paul Horan co-founded the NZ Comedy Festival and The Classic Comedy Bar, kickstarting a vital Auckland comedy scene — and his own successful trans-Tasman TV career. His credits include The Topp Twins, Super City, and Australia's Rove Live. After helping develop prime time formats like The Project, his company Slightly Uncomfortable Productions has specialised in hybrid news comedy shows.
Writer, producer and actor Paul Yates is a comedic "everyman". His CV includes sketch shows Facelift and Telly Laughs, pre-teen series Freaky and The Killian Curse, and teen sitcom Girl vs Boy. He’s written for popular sitcoms Willy Nilly and Sunny Skies, and is producer and co-writer for Wellington Paranormal, the hit spin-off from 2014 movie What We Do in the Shadows.