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.
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.
Comedian turned producer Paul Horan interviewed more than 100 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
Jon Bridges and Paul Yates met at university in Palmerston North, before performing with comedy group Facial DBX (see this Funny As interview).
Brothers Nigel and Jeremy Corbett performed as a musical comedy duo, before joining comedy group Facial DBX (see this interview) and hosting stand-up comedy talent quest A Bit After Ten. Jeremy has achieved further success as a comedian and broadcaster, while Nigel has pursued a career in advertising.
This sketch comedy series screened over two years in the early 90s. Many of the Gibson Group show's skits were tested and filmed in a theatre, in front of a paying audience. This first episode sees laughs come from Watties spaghetti and a roll call of emerging comic talent of the era. Danny Mulheron and Hori Ahipene act up, Tim Balme plays Trivial Pursuit, Kevin Smith gets his vernacular on negotiating NZ customs, Peta Rutter crushes on Steve Parr, and Facial DBX comedians Jon Bridges and David Downs are teenage skaters who talk digital watches while wearing day-glo.
Hori Ahipene became a 1990s comedy fixture after working on Skitz, The Semisis (the first Pasifika sitcom) and bilingual sitcom 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 successful What We Do in the Shadows spin-off.