LA comedy festival to get taste of NZ humour

HUMMING ALONG: Hong Lee (Raybon Kan), Lucy Mason (Jessica Grace Smith) and Edwin Rouper (Bryce Campbell)  relax  beside Hong’s Hummer in Los Angeles.
HUMMING ALONG: Hong Lee (Raybon Kan), Lucy Mason (Jessica Grace Smith) and Edwin Rouper (Bryce Campbell) relax beside Hong’s Hummer in Los Angeles.

A Kiwi film to debut at America's biggest comedy festival features a who's who of New Zealand comedians - and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

Edwin: My Life as a Koont is the first New Zealand film to be selected to premiere at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival.

The tongue-in-cheek comedy tells the story of Edwin Rouper (Bryce Campbell), a Wellingtonian who suffers from an imaginary syndrome that causes him to irritate pretty much everyone he meets.

Ms Wade-Brown's cameo appearance - in which she plays herself listening to Edwin's pleas for help - will be watched by representatives of major Hollywood studios such as HBO and E! Entertainment at the festival next month.

"I'm just waiting for the phone call," Ms Wade-Brown said yesterday. "But, you know, I was heavily typecast."

The audience will also get to see performances from comedians Jeremy Corbett, Paul Ego, David Fane and Raybon Kan alongside stars Bryce Campbell and Jessica Grace-Smith, of Spartacus fame.

Shot in and around Wellington, Auckland and Los Angeles over eight months, the film follows the main character as he stumbles across Sir Peter Jackson's cellphone and exploits the filmmaker's contacts to stage a comedy extravaganza at the Wellington Opera House.

Director and screenwriter Jason Stutter said Edwin was a "very Wellington" character.

"We catapult ourselves into the world and expect everything to fall in place, just the way it does in Wellington."

The director of Predicament, which starred Jemaine Clement, was hoping the American audience was not too offended by the film's risque play on words. "It's a comedy festival, so I think it'll be well-received. You don't have to be a New Zealander to understand it."

Meanwhile, Ms Wade-Brown was looking forward to telling her brother-in-law, Oscar-winning British actor Jim Broadbent, that she was making her film debut in Los Angeles. "I'm sure he'll be greatly impressed."

The film will be released in New Zealand later this year.

The Dominion Post