Actor Rhys Darby Taking NZ Comedy to the World
New Zealander Rhys Darby is an actor slash writer slash stand-up slash globetrotting monster hunter. And if he’s not the only one, he’s certainly the busiest, according to Seth Simons writing for Paste Magazine.
In the last year alone, Darby delivered memorable performances in the bumpy new season of The X-Files, Lost parody Wrecked, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, the gorgeous indie drama from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, another New Zealander.
He also filmed appearances in Australia’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? reboot and Netflix’s upcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events. Darby’s specialty is the outcast, the oddball, the lovable sad sack, the well-intentioned if ultimately misbegotten chump – wide-eyed, stiff-shouldered, laser-focused on all the wrong details.
He developed his performance style as a stand-up in the late ‘90s, in a New Zealand comedy scene that largely grew up with him.
“In the early days, there wasn’t really much of anything,” Darby, 42, recalls.
His television and film career took off after collaborating with the Flight of the Conchords, and today he identifies as an actor before a comic. “Stand-up was always a means to an end,” he says. “I don’t want to be seen as the voice of a country, I don’t do political jokes. I’d rather be part of a world.” He rigorously applies this ethos to his stand-up, when he has the time to craft material from thoughts jotted in his always-present notebook – whether for an hour of stand-up or his monthly showcase, “Rhys Darby’s Saying Funny Things Society,” at Los Angeles’ Largo theatre.
His wife, producer Rosie Carnahan-Darby, cuts in, “I’m looking forward to the armchair comedy of your future,” and Darby agrees: “I really want to get down and eventually become Ronnie Corbett – I’m sitting in a chair, I spin around, and I tell a story you’ve probably heard before.”
Original article by Seth Simons, Paste Magazine, August 17, 2016.