This first series of The Watercooler features stories about sauna etiquette, nurse-patient relations, Trans-Tasman cricket rivalry and urination. The web series is based mostly on yarns provided by the show’s Facebook audience, supplemented by creator and star Mike Minogue’s own sauna story. The allegedly true stories are reenacted by a cast that includes Jonathan Brugh, Cohen Holloway and Abby Damen (The Māori Sidesteps). Each story is introduced as a chat over the office watercooler, with the storyteller and their audience also playing the main characters.
With web series The Watercooler, the audience provides the stories (by submitting them online). Each episode sees true tales reenacted, as far-fetched yarns get shared over the office watercooler. The stories range widely, from a nurse engaging in an ill-fated arm-wrestle with a patient, to trouble with “urinal politics”. The Watercooler was created by actor Mike Minogue, who also appears in a number of episodes. The cast features Cohen Holloway, Jonathan Brugh and Abby Damen. For the second season, Minogue's Wellington Paranormal co-star Karen O’Leary was added to the mix.
Mike Minogue has played a lot of policemen. Although his screen debut in 2009 movie Separation City saw him cast as a fireman, he's played cops in TV movies How To Murder Your Wife, Doubt: The Scott Watson Case, and Rage — which saw him getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2012 NZ TV Awards. After a small role as a gormless police officer in hit vampire comedy What We Do In The Shadows, Minogue got to reprise the role when he co-starred in spin-off series Wellington Paranormal. He is also the creator of The Watercooler, an anthology web series reenacting real life stories sent in by viewers.
Cohen Holloway began singing and doing impersonations at high school. He went on to showcase his John Campbell impression on bro'Town and sketch show Facelift. After studying acting at Toi Whakaari, he won a Qantas Award in 2009 for TV drama Until Proven Innocent; Holloway starred as the falsely-imprisoned David Dougherty. Since then Holloway has played a gang member in Boy and a real estate agent in Māori TV hit Find Me A Māori Bride, and starred as a dodgy cowboy in Western Good for Nothing. In black comedy Fresh Eggs, he is a well-meaning husband caught up in a run of unfortunate deaths.
Desray Armstrong has built up a diverse slate of production credits since she entered the screen industry in 2004. Aside from producing acclaimed short films (Meathead, Ellen is Leaving) and TV programmes (police drama Harry, Māori musical instrument series Haumanu), she has also been a production manager or production coordinator on a run of feature films — from international projects shooting downunder (Slow West, Mortal Engines), to Kiwi stories (What We Do in the Shadows, Predicament). In 2018 Armstrong produced her debut feature film, acclaimed romance Stray.
Paul Murphy began his wide-ranging career in childhood, as part of roving performance clan Blerta. Later he worked as a grip — grips set up and operate the equipment used to move the camera — on his father Geoff's film Never Say Die, plus many more productions. Paul moved into directing with 2001 short Sox. In 2007 he made self-financed feature Second-Hand Wedding. The tale of family and garage sales was a big local hit. Next came Rhys Darby romantic comedy Love Birds (2011). In 2019 Murphy began filming crime caper Lowdown Dirty Criminals with actors James Rolleston, Robbie Magasiva and Rebecca Gibney.
Jamie Selkirk is the Academy Award-winning editor of Return of the King, the final episode of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His working relationship with director Peter Jackson stretches from Jackson's first feature Bad Taste through to the present day. Selkirk helped found special effects company Weta Workshop, and Wellington's Camperdown Studios.
Onstage, Jonny Brugh's comic armoury has included melon-throwing, mutant clowns and hanging in the air in a superhero costume – some of the above occured while he was in high energy, Billy T award-winning duo Sugar and Spice (with Jason Hoyte). Brugh played a current affairs host in TV's The Jaquie Brown Diaries, before winning further laughs as vampire Deacon in hit movie What We Do in the Shadows, where his erotic dance scene went down a treat. He has also played idiotic school principals (web series Educators), dating gurus (How to Meet Girls from a Distance) and firefighters (800 Words).
Maaka Pohatu was an established theatre actor (Strange Resting Places, The Māori Troilus and Cressida) before making his movie debut as hapless flatmate to Bret McKenzie's character, in 2012's Two Little Boys. Pohatu went on to play a sergeant battling the supernatural, in hit comedy series Wellington Paranormal. Alongside three fellow Toi Whakaari graduates, he was a founding member of The Modern Māori Quartet. They were the house band on Temuera Morrison variety show Happy Hour, then hosted their own show on Māori Television, My Party Song. Pohatu played Dalvanius Prime in acclaimed documentary Poi E.