Sam Smith is a writer for 7 Days and Jono and Ben at Ten. He and his comedy group Fool House are bringing their Sketch comedy show My Sketchen Rules to the Wellington Fringe Festival.
Baz: So Sam, do you want to give me a few career highlights?
Sam: At Otago University I did a Dentistry degree while also doing the Capping Show for four years. I acted in the show for a few years and then directed it for two years, and then wrote it the year that I left.
I then went to Vic and did the Masters of Scriptwriting, which I loved. Then I started doing standup a bit more and won the Wellington Raw Comedy festival in 2011. I started writing for 7 Days in 2010 and have been writing for them ever since.
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When Jono and Ben started up I sent in a submission packet and they foolishly decided to pay me to write for them. Then at the end of 2013 they offered me a job writing on staff, so I moved up to Auckland.
What’s it like working as a comedy writer in NZ?
It’s really fun. Everyone who I work with are cool, relaxed people. Most of the time we sit around yarning, trying to make each other laugh, sometimes we sit in silence trying to come up with stuff. Especially at Jono and Ben, it’s a really good place where people take on each other’s suggestions and stitch together ideas to make something really good and funny.
What advice do you have for people who want to work as a writer in NZ?
Do standup, write your own material and go out and perform it. Find what audiences think is funny; it’s not always what you think is funny. Sometimes you can think it’s the funniest joke you have ever written but no one is laughing at it. Once you’ve been doing it for a while it becomes more intuitive and you learn what works. Just write as much as you can, sketch groups are great for that. Improv groups are also very good for comedy writers. To get work as a comedy writer, don’t be afraid to ask people for work. I got into 7 Days because I sent an email asking if I could write for them.
So what is Fool House?
Fool House is sketch comedy group put together by Louise Beuvink and myself. We talked about it at the comedy festival last year in Wellington. We wanted to do a sketch comedy show like Capping Show, just because we had so much fun with it. We pitched My Sketchen Rules to the Fringe Festival and since then we’ve been writing a lot and coming up with some funny stuff.
What can people expect from My Sketchen Rules?
Lots of little scenes, it’s quite fast paced. A mix of different comedy stylings but all in that old school sketch vein which you don’t see much of these days, because people have moved to video sketches. But we’re keeping it old school with a modern twist.
So in Salient tradition I’d like to ask you shoot, shag, marry. Sarah Silverman, Kristen Wiig and Tina Fey.
Shit. Well, marry Tina Fey right away. She’s my favourite and my wife kind of looks like her, which is great. Damn, this is a hard choice… it might have to be… because Kristen Wiig is still producing absolutely golden comedy, and is going to be in GhostBusters, which is a favourite of mine, shag Kristen Wiig and with huge regret shoot Sarah Silverman.
Fool House Presents:
My Sketchen Rules
Dates: 5-7 March, 10pm
Venue: Fringe Bar, Allen St, Wellington
Tickets: GA $10