by Nicky Harrop from NZoS
In celebration of Rhys Darby's upcoming tour, we've trawled through the archives to unearth early footage from some of our current crop of successful comedians, with a chance for you to have your say on who you think is the funniest. Let's get the ball rolling with the man himself...
As with many of our profiled stars, Rhys Darby cut his comedy teeth doing stand-up. Here he is, pre-Flight of the Conchords, sharing the stage with Mike King, and showcasing the talent that would soon see him go global.
Before he became a box office-smashing director, Taika Waititi (or Cohen as he was then known) also dabbled in stand-up, forming The Humourbeasts alongside FOTC's Jemaine Clement, and winning the coveted Billy T Award in 1999. This 2003 footage sees him delivering a typically off the wall performance as Gunter the German "joke" teller.
Currently based in Australia, the past twenty years have seen Cal Wilson establish herself as one of our leading humourists. This 2001 Pulp Comedy special highlights her comedic range as she portrays a number of hilarious characters, among them her "sister" Adele - an earnest feminist poet, and Katie the Chief Bridesmaid.
Jono and Ben's Ben Boyce is another local comedian who has most definitely paid his dues. Creating Pulp Sport in 2001, the show quickly morphed from a radio feature to become a hugely successful TV show, running for seven series. This 2009 episode is packed with laughs, not to mention the odd celebrity cameo.
Dai Henwood's stand-up skills have been well-recognised in New Zealand. In 1999 he took out Best New Face on TV2's Pulp Comedy, and has gone on to win the Billy T Award in 2002 and the Fred Award in 2007. These days the comedian can be found on the small screen, hosting Family Feud and as a regular on 7 Days. This 2013 short finds him waxing lyrical on a Kiwi legend.
7 Days ringmaster Jeremy Corbett also has a long history in stand-up, and has appeared at numerous New Zealand comedy festivals. He's anchored the hit Three show since its debut in 2009. A flashback to one of the first episodes here:
Rima Te Wiata
Rima Te Wiata is another local comedy veteran. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople actress has been a regular in numerous TV comedy series, among them The Billy T James Show, Porters and Laughinz. This compile of clips from More Issues highlights her gift for impersonation, as she takes on the persona of Rachel Hunter and an uncanny take on Judy Bailey.
Though best known for her funny side, Michèle A'Court's TV experience is wide. After making her screen debut in 1987 as part of the What Now? team, she reported for youth news show The Video Dispatch before honing her award-winning comic gift on A Night at the Classic and Pulp Comedy. This 1993 episode of stand-up talent quest A Bit After Ten finds her tackling the subject of "men's things". You can find her performance at approx. 06:48 in this video.
These days Jon Bridges can be found behind the camera, producing the laughs on weeknight show The Project. Prior to that, he'd spent more than 30 years telling jokes on stage and screen, making his TV debut in the early 90s with stints on sketch show Away Laughing. See him making his first appearance here: