In 1996 Tony Sutorius got his hands on a new digital video camera, days before the start of an election campaign in Wellington Central. Made on the proverbial shoestring, this feature-length documentary chronicles five of those battling for the crown as a new political age — MMP — dawns. Richard Prebble joins a new party called Act, the National candidate joins United New Zealand… and one of the five will be sacrificed by their own party. Sutorius sat through 55 hours of footage to forge the result, which won enthused, sellout audiences at the 1999 NZ Film Festival.
Guitar-playing yodellers The Topp Twins have been bringing audiences together for decades. As this Funny As interview demonstrates, Jools and Lynda Topp make for a formidable team. Among other topics, they talk about: Six decades of making each other laugh, starting from when they had to share a bath as children Making yodelling funny How an empty petrol tank and a prison cell launched their career; how busking taught them showmanship Protest, politics, loose elastic bands, and the value of "beautiful mistakes" Winning over an audience of London punks How Lynda got married before gay marriage became legal
The path of comedy folk duo Flight of the Conchords is dotted with failure, dismal corporate gigs, globetrotting fans and Grammy Awards. This extended Funny As interview sees Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie savouring their memories of the early days, and all the TV shows that got rejected along the way. Among the topics mentioned are: Wearing naked suits on the streets of Melbourne while promoting an early show The perpetual challenge of singing and playing guitar at the same time The Wellington stylings of their comedy — and how creative collaborator Taika Waititi throws a mean pizza McKenzie's opinion that Pulp Comedy "wasn't very flattering or helpful" to the comedians who featured on it How they probably wouldn't have lasted if that infamous, rejected show for TVNZ had ever come to pass How the Conchords got their name
At one point Mike King was so famous, he appeared on three TV channels on the same night.
All female stand-up show A Girl's Gotta Eat took Auckland by storm in 1990. The show gave women a chance to laugh at themselves in a supportive environment. Actors Vicki Walker (Away Laughing, Braindead), Fiona Edgar (Brokenwood Mysteries, Vermillion) and Brenda Kendall (Double Booking) share their memories in this Funny As interview, including: Queues around the block for the monthly show — "everyone felt safe laughing their heads off. There was no boorish heckling, none of that stuff" How the involvement of The Topp Twins helped draw crowds to the venue, Ponsonby pub The Gluepot How one male performer per show was allowed — including Kevin Smith Brenda Kendall recalls how she started in stand-up at Sweetwaters music festival How Fanny Business, another female-only group, followed after A Girl's Gotta Eat
One of New Zealand television's more notorious episodes, the 1987 Gofta Awards start promisingly with an extended montage of Auckland scenes (just before the sharemarket crash). It's downhill from there. Presenters Nic Nolan and Leeza Gibbons (Entertainment This Week) look bizarre in silver suits; an underfed and overexcited audience grows more and more vocal; special guest John Inman (Mr Humphries from English sitcom Are You Being Served?) is heckled; and things come badly unstuck as timing issues see winners turned away as they try to collect their awards.
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.
Ex waitress Justine Smith began her comedy career after a dare to enter an open mike night.
Peter Wells broke ground as one of the first New Zealanders to tell gay stories on-screen. Aside from his work as an author, he explored gay and historical themes in several acclaimed drama and documentaries — including pioneering TV drama A Death in the Family, colourful big screen melodrama Desperate Remedies and Georgina Beyer documentary Georgie Girl. Wells died on 18 February 2019.
After time as a sports reporter for both radio and TVNZ, Ric Salizzo spent time as media liaison officer for the All Blacks, and formed his own production company on the back of light-hearted rugby tour documentaries The Good, the Bad and the Rugby, and Blood, Sweat and Touring. In 1996 he created and co-hosted the long-running sports entertainment show SportsCafe.