Rhys Darby Stands up on Stage in Washington

“New Zealand comic Rhys Darby is perhaps best known to American audiences from the two recent Jumanji films and his show-stealing role on Flight of the Conchords as the eponymous band’s well-meaning but hapless manager Murray Hewitt,” Jibran Khan reports for the Washington Examiner. “Darby returned to the Washington area the weekend of 6 March to perform a series of stand-up shows at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.”

“It feels like a lifetime ago now, after just a few weeks of social isolation that quite rightly put the kibosh on such gatherings,” Khan writes. “But as live shows on the eve of quarantine go, it would have been hard to do better. Darby was joined by Steve Wrigley, a fellow US-based New Zealand-born comedian, and Jared Stern, a D.C. area local.”

On the screen Khan writes that he has “always been struck by Darby’s perfect comedic timing”.

“It shines across both his starring roles, such as on Flight of the Conchords, and his bit parts, from Hewlett-Packard commercials to voice acting on popular animated shows such as Bob’s Burgers.”

Darby, 46, also voices companion character, Russell in the game Half-Life: Alyx a 2020 virtual reality first-person shooter developed and published by American video game developer, Valve.

“Rhys Darby was an early pick,” Half-Life writer Sean Vanaman recently told GamesRadar+.

“We liked the energy he brought, especially… he felt like an antidote to just how dark the game can get – or how dark a Half-Life can get,” Vanaman said.

“This game is not unusual in that. It got located towards that, and then we tried it out. People really liked it. It tested well. We liked writing for him. We liked working with him. He’s fun in the studio. He’s kind of got good vibes.”

Level designer Corey Peters told GamesRadar+ Darby “adds a ray of New Zealand sunshine to some of the gloomier parts of the game”.

“He brings a certain comedy value, obviously, to some of the lines that he says, but it helps remove some of the tension,” Peters added. “One thing we found early on is that it’s really easy to make a scary game in VR. You put on that headset, and you’re there. You turn off the lights, and, yeah, it’s scary. There’s a Headcrab in the room, and you can’t see it.”

Original article by Jibran Khan, Washington Examiner, April 2, 2020.

Tags: GamesRadar+  Half-Life: Alyx  Rhys Darby  stand-up comedy  Steve Wrigley  Washington Examiner  

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