Comedy not so far from politics

Jono and Ben co-star looking forward to stand-up gig in Gisborne.

Jono and Ben co-star looking forward to stand-up gig in Gisborne.

Guy Williams

ACCOUNTANCY and political science studies at Victoria University inadvertently launched Guy Williams into comedy.

The Jono and Ben co-star, 7 Days guest panellist and former Edge radio host now looks forward to his stand-up gig in Gisborne. What he really looks forward to though is having a crack at surfing and tackling the Rere rockslide.

YouTube footage inspired the rockslide dream. YouTube was also partly responsible for taking Williams out of a future in political science and into comedy. The advent of the video-sharing website coincided with Williams’ time at university — which is when he discovered he had a penchant for comedy.

“The biggest thing was Flight of the Conchords. That was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. I loved their style of comedy. It changed me as a person.”

When Williams was cut from his basketball team, he frequented comedy clubs. But the switch from political science to comedy was not as great a leap as might be expected.

“In politics I was more into the funny retorts and the witty speeches. I worried I was into politics for the wrong reasons.”

David Lange might not have been New Zealand’s greatest prime minister, says Williams, “but I loved his witty retorts.”

A Lange one-liner particularly appeals to Williams.

A reporter met the then-PM at the airport on his return from Australia.

“He said ‘Mr Lange, can I have a quick word about Australia’.

“Lange said ‘Wombat’.”

The characteristically Kiwi downbeat humour underpins the style of comedy seen in Flight of the Conchords, and Rhys Darby, comedians who provide a laugh about Kiwi naivety with awkward moments that aren’t as excruciating as the British sit-com The Office.

“Flight of the Conchords was ground-breaking,” says Williams. “I think there has been a resurgence in New Zealand comedy. The quality is incredible. We now have comedians like Rhys Darby, the Boy With Tape on His Face and Urzila Carlson.”

As seen in the Jono and Ben TV show slot, Guy Time, Williams’ comedy routines have a political tilt. While his stand-up material is “quite political” the act he is touring to Gisborne is based on his dream of becoming a “craplebrity”.

“It’s about my journey to becoming a New Zealand star — the people you encounter and the things you see while selling out. I play an embellished version of myself.

“I bring out little bits of stuff just beneath the surface that we don’t talk about. I’m flopping it all out for the people. It’s a cheap form of therapy.”

His show features his brother Paul.

“Paul is the talented one of the family. He plays music, he dances and he’s a Billy T Award nominee for 2017.”

Guy Williams won the Billy T Award in 2012. The following year, Metro crowned him best comedian, then in 2014 the TV Guide gave him the “funniest person” award.

In 2015 he got nothing.

“Still dark about it,” he says.

ACCOUNTANCY and political science studies at Victoria University inadvertently launched Guy Williams into comedy.

The Jono and Ben co-star, 7 Days guest panellist and former Edge radio host now looks forward to his stand-up gig in Gisborne. What he really looks forward to though is having a crack at surfing and tackling the Rere rockslide.

YouTube footage inspired the rockslide dream. YouTube was also partly responsible for taking Williams out of a future in political science and into comedy. The advent of the video-sharing website coincided with Williams’ time at university — which is when he discovered he had a penchant for comedy.

“The biggest thing was Flight of the Conchords. That was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. I loved their style of comedy. It changed me as a person.”

When Williams was cut from his basketball team, he frequented comedy clubs. But the switch from political science to comedy was not as great a leap as might be expected.

“In politics I was more into the funny retorts and the witty speeches. I worried I was into politics for the wrong reasons.”

David Lange might not have been New Zealand’s greatest prime minister, says Williams, “but I loved his witty retorts.”

A Lange one-liner particularly appeals to Williams.

A reporter met the then-PM at the airport on his return from Australia.

“He said ‘Mr Lange, can I have a quick word about Australia’.

“Lange said ‘Wombat’.”

The characteristically Kiwi downbeat humour underpins the style of comedy seen in Flight of the Conchords, and Rhys Darby, comedians who provide a laugh about Kiwi naivety with awkward moments that aren’t as excruciating as the British sit-com The Office.

“Flight of the Conchords was ground-breaking,” says Williams. “I think there has been a resurgence in New Zealand comedy. The quality is incredible. We now have comedians like Rhys Darby, the Boy With Tape on His Face and Urzila Carlson.”

As seen in the Jono and Ben TV show slot, Guy Time, Williams’ comedy routines have a political tilt. While his stand-up material is “quite political” the act he is touring to Gisborne is based on his dream of becoming a “craplebrity”.

“It’s about my journey to becoming a New Zealand star — the people you encounter and the things you see while selling out. I play an embellished version of myself.

“I bring out little bits of stuff just beneath the surface that we don’t talk about. I’m flopping it all out for the people. It’s a cheap form of therapy.”

His show features his brother Paul.

“Paul is the talented one of the family. He plays music, he dances and he’s a Billy T Award nominee for 2017.”

Guy Williams won the Billy T Award in 2012. The following year, Metro crowned him best comedian, then in 2014 the TV Guide gave him the “funniest person” award.

In 2015 he got nothing.

“Still dark about it,” he says.

Why Am I Like This? will be followed by DJs MC Woody and Tommy Gee.

Guy Williams presents Why Am I Like This? at Soho, Saturday at 7.30pm.Tickets: adult: $25, concession: $15. Limited door sales. 0800 BUY TIX (289 849).

The Guide has two tickets to give away. Just email to guide@gisborneherald.co.nz the correct answer to this simple question — In the 1985 Oxford Union debate, what was the heavy metal Prime Minister, and one-liner master, David Lange, said he could smell on his opposition’s breath?

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