The Comedian

Here is a short bio of Taika as a comedian ……

Taika was a part of five-men comedian group, So You’re a Man, while going to Victoria University of Wellington. He also formed a comedy duo called Humourbeasts with Jemaine Clement who was a part So You’re a Man. Humorbeasts earned the guys New Zealand’s highest comedy accolade, the Billy T Award, in 1999.

Group Comedy: So You’re a Man

So You’re a Man were a five-man comedy troupe, who performed in the mid-90s in both New Zealand and Australia. Members were Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, actor Carey Smith and theatre director David Lawrence. They met as members of the Drama Club at Victoria University of Wellington, (where Clement, Waititi and Lawrence were studying theatre and film, and McKenzie classics and music) and first appeared as a quintet in a segment of a show called ‘Bodyplay’, conceived and directed by Duncan Sarkies.

‘So You’re A Man’ premiered at the Basement Theatre in Auckland in May 1996, played a sell-out season at BATS Theatre in Wellington in October/November 1996, and then a month at the Last Laugh in Melbourne, Australia in March/April 1997, with one-off performances and university Orientation gigs in between. The show was a 1950s-style mockumentary guide to coping with manhood, covering such topics as proper urinal ettiquete, interactions with women, facial hair, personal grooming and how to find the clitoris. The five actors performed in flash-coloured ‘nudie-suits’ and all played the guitar.

This group was a precursor to both The Humourbeasts and Flight of the Conchords. The group has been mentioned in a number of media articles about Flight of the Conchords, in both the New York Times[1] and Sydney Morning Herald.[2] After the Melbourne comedy festival, where they played on the same bill as Simon Pegg, Ed Byrne, Tommy Tiernan and Peepolykus, the group broke up to pursue other interests.

Comedy Duo: Humourbeasts

The Humourbeasts, composed of Jemaine Clement and Taika Cohen, were a comedy duo from Wellington. They received New Zealand‘s highest comedy accolade, the Billy T Award, in 1999.

In 2003 and 2004, the Humourbeasts toured New Zealand in a stage show titled “The Untold Tales of Maui”, rewriting the traditional Maori legends of Māui.

The Untold Tales of Maui

Creative Team
Written by: Taika Cohen and Jemaine Clement
Director: Andrew Foster
Script Advisor: Oscar Kightley

Taika Cohen, Jemaine Clement,
Rob Mokaraka, special guest Cliff Curtis

Taki Rua Productions and Humourbeasts invite you to enter into a new kind of theatre experience. Join us as we bring the ancient legends of Maui-tikitiki-a Taranga into the modern age and tell them in a funny way.

Young Tama is a troubled teen. His Nanny a simple but wise woman, is given the task of imparting to her wayward grandson, the sacred knowledge and lessons of her forefathers through the tales of Maui, our most revered ancestor.

The stories take us on a journey into ancient Hawaiki, to a time when the sun raced across the sky like an impatient horse and you could catch fish the size of a small South Pacific nation. Centring around Maui, the tales follow him from birth to death, include all the famous myths and also one or two that have, up until now, never been heard.

At first, young Tama has no interest in these ancient myths, but through his Nanny’s incredible storytelling abilities, coupled with state of the art multi-media devices such as massive back-projections, puppetry and computer animated characters, the young fool is soon drawn in to the mysterious and fantastical world of Maui and his famous exploits.

A review:
Untold Tales flattened by drizzle by John Smythe, page 1, 2, March 12, 2004

A poster from 2004


> Taki Rua Productions official website

The Humourbeasts at The 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

> Figwit Lives! – you may want to check Trip diary (especially meeting Sean Connery on Day 8) and interview with Figwit.

Frodo Is Great… Who Is That!!? (2004)

> Taika and Jemaine as Bret McKenzie’s friends in a documentary
> screencaps and pictures here

The Hosts of Starry Eyed Show

The Humourbeasts are the Hosts of Starry Eyed Show at the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown New Zealand.

Interviewing Andy Pearson aka Ronan Keating.
Directed by Margaret O’Hanlon for Nima Entertainment

Taika’s solo :
Stand-up: Pulp Comedy: Series 7, Episode 3 (2003)

Director, writer and actor Taika Cohen (aka Waititi) features in this episode of the stand-up comedy TV series with an off the wall performance as Gunter the German “joke” teller — a buck-toothed, bewigged persona pitched somewhere between Andy Kaufman and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Collaboration with Flight of the Conchords

Photos from Indigo Bar (known as the San Francisco Bath House now) in Wellington taken on July 24, 2003.

Photos by Matt Mueller

Taika’s Incredible show

In 2004, Taika launched his solo production, Taika’s Incredible Show which he says “wasn’t that incredible but had a cool poster which I drew myself”.

Watch The Living Room: Series Two, Episode Ten directed by Mark Albiston and presented by Taika Cohen (aka Taika Waititi) “from the living room at Gunter’s house”. Taika talks about making short film Tama Tū, meets Diego a 200-year-old vampire, and performs Taika’s Incredible Show at Bats. It includes excerpts from little-seen short John & Pogo.

Photos found on Taika’s MySpace.

Ordinary Alien

See: RadiRadiRah (2010)