Over here in the states, we know actor, comedian, and New Zealand native Rhys Darby best for his role of Murray on Flight of the Conchords. But when you see this man grab a mic and hit the stage, his stand-up chops definitely make him a lead character. When Rhys comes to the Brea Improv February 28th through March 2nd, you'll witness firsthand that humor does indeed surpass whatever city (or country) you are from.
Before one of our favorite "Kiwis" headlines in our town, we chatted it up with him about the various projects he's working on, the differences between his former homestead and his home now on the west coast, and his upcoming mission to climb into the dangerous altitudes of Mount Everest all in the name of laughs. Insane right?
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Now that you're a resident of California, what are the major differences that annoy you to no end?
Rhys Darby: Well luckily, we've been back and forth over the years so it hasn't been a sudden shock for me. The major difference is that if you're not careful, you can spend the entire day in your car, which is crazy. [Laughs.] Just how long it takes to get anywhere in this big fast city is different because something seems like it's just up the road but at the wrong time of the day, you can be in the car the whole time.
Oh yeah, traffic is a nightmare. I saw you were at Sundance this year with the movie "What We Do In The Shadows." Will that movie show sometime soon locally? It sounds amazing.
I'm not sure but I think the plan is to get distribution but I haven't heard whether that's happened or not. That's one of the good reasons to go to one of these festivals because you really do see some great indie stuff and you just never know how long it'll be until it gets to the big screen. It's also unique stuff and not the run of the mill Hollywood stuff. Even from the beginning when we did Flight of the Conchords, that show was very under the radar and one of the cool things about it was, you had to find it. It was on HBO but when it was distributed to other countries, it was always on some obscure channel. Of course now that social media is so huge, everything is hashtag this and hashtag that.
So true. I read that in this movie you play a werewolf who has trouble keeping his pants on. True or false?
[Laughs.] Well the werewolves are just kind of regular guys and what I mean by that is, they're kind of nerdy I.T. guys. They're modern men and I'm the leader. They know that every full moon they'll change so we chain each other to trees knowing that once we turn, we'll go and kill people. There's a scene in the movie where I'm arguing with the boys because they don't have the proper attire on because they're wearing tight jeans. I'm telling them that as soon as they change, those jeans are going to rip and they're going to ruin them! [Laughs.] So it's really kind of a nerdy role of me trying to enforce my dominance over people like I'm their mother. It's kind of funny.
Thank you for the clarification! Speaking of tight pants, I saw the "Reasons to be Scared of the Future" videos you did for Nerdist and it seems like you enjoy a skinny jean in real life…
[Laughs.] Yeah well I have tremendous legs! They can only be likened to Sean Connery when he was in his James Bond days. Someone contacted me with the video idea and I liked it because I'm really into that stuff. It was a really fun thing to do and it's been quite a hit.
Oh for sure! OK before I let you go, what is this I hear about you doing comedy on Mount Everest?
Yes I will be climbing Everest, not the whole thing, but I'm going to Base Camp for "Stand Up On Everest" with some other comics in October. Fifty fans are going to come with us too and also, if any climbers are on their way down or up, they can pop into the show. It fits in nicely with my show Mr. Adventure which is about me adventuring. [Laughs.]
Pardon me for saying this but, with the altitude, won't you be winded? Everyone will laugh once and drop dead.
[Laughs.] Don't laugh, it's bad for your health please! Just smile! [Laughs.] It's insane right? We might have to have oxygen tanks but what an experience! It's a nine day trek for the charity "Save The Children" so it's going to be amazing!
Hey, it sounds like a good way to go out. Laughing at jokes on Mount Everest? I'm in.
[Laughs.] Yeah, it's one hell of a way to go out!
Rhys Darby preforms at the Brea Improv February 28th-March 2nd, 120 South Brea Blvd. 92821, (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info, check out his website www.RhysDarby.com and follow him on Twitter @RhysieDarby.