Rhys Darby is Mr Adventure

DAVID FARRIER
Last updated 13:00 12/03/2014
Rhys Darby
MR ADVENTURE: Comedian Rhys Darby is heading on a tour through New Zealand.

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Kiwi comedian and actor Rhys Darby may be based in Los Angeles, but he is about to embark on his biggest tour of New Zealand.

He will hit 16 towns, from Whangarei to Christchurch, in April and May.

He said his new standup show had been a long time coming.

"I've been writing this show since time began," he said.

"Without giving too much away, it's about the adventures I've been on in my life. But the show will be an adventure in itself."

Darby is not exaggerating when he talks of adventure. When he is not doing standup on Letterman or dropping his children at school, he has managed to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, meet gorillas in Rwanda and stalk the fabled Chupacabra monster in Texas. Then there's Loch Ness.

"There'll be stories of Loch Ness and staying with these hippies who were really into the idea that reptilians ruled the world," he said.

It seems adventure follows Darby whether he likes it or not.

While staying in Scotland he saw some mysterious lights he can't explain.

"You go searching for Loch Ness and all you see are some bloody UFOs," he said.

"It's that sense of bewilderment that's made me go out and seek the truth ... and being a standup has given me the opportunities to go to amazing places."

Joining him on the road are musicians and comedians Hedluv and Passman, an act he found at theEdinburgh Fringe Festival several years ago.

Originating from Cornwall, the two men specialise in rapping over low-fi music written on a Casiotone keyboard.

"They're even writing the theme song for my show," Darby said.

He said he always involved fantastical storytelling elements in his standup, but the difference now was that some of the fantasies had become real.

"When I started doing standup, my standup was mystical and mythical and about adventure stuff, but of course it was all my imagination," he said.

"Now I've gone and done interesting things since the age of about 22, and so now the boundaries between fact and fiction are even more blurred because some crazy s... has happened to me."

This year he found himself in San Francisco sharing a stage with Michael Winslow, of Police Academy fame.
Winslow is known for acting in the series and doing the major sound effects.

Sharing the stage, Darby let loose with his own sound effects.

"The best part of it, my electronic doors are still better than his," he said.

"And I think my helicopter is too, so I think I am the best in the world at the helicopter and the door."
Before that gig, he attended the world premiere of What We Do In The Shadows at Sundance. It is the latest film from director Taika Waititi and features Darby and Conchords friend Jemaine Clement, as well as a host of other familiar Kiwi faces.

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The cast and crew rented a house in Utah for the week to celebrate.

"It was very much sort of a seventh-form rugby team going to Hamilton or on a school trip," Darby said.

"There were, like, 18 of us in the house. Some of us had beds; some had blow-up mattresses.

"It was quite a luxury house with a sauna and a games room, but the Kiwis were just sleeping on top of the pool table. Some were sleeping in the sauna. I got a bed."

Adventures included various film festival parties and bumping into One Direction's Harry Styles.

"The other fun bit was getting all the free stuff on press day," Darby said.

"The PR person takes you, the cast and whoever, and you just turn up in the shops on the main street and go, 'Hey, I'm with this film', and they go, 'Hey, what do you want?'

"And you go: 'Why do I deserve this? I'm in the film for 30 seconds, and then I am going home.'

"I mean, back in New Zealand, you'd be lucky to get a complimentary Frisbee from a radio station."

It is "back in New Zealand" that Darby is looking forward to this year.

While he can't deny the joy of playing to a sold-out Opera House or Civic Theatre, it is the smaller towns he gets a kick from.

"It's the heart of New Zealand, and that's really important," he said.

"There are teenage boys and girls and it's more important to them to go, 'He can do this, I can do that too and have those kinds of adventures'. That's even more pertinent.

"Life is an adventure and you have to grab it by the horns and ride it, and treat every day like it is an exciting adventure.

"Even if you are just walking down to the shops, you never know what's going to happen.

"It's not about my adventure. It's about having that thought process. You can be on an adventure just by living your life."

After his comedy tour, Darby will return to Los Angeles before embarking on more - you guessed it - adventures.

"Later this year I am heading up Everest for Save the Children. You name the charity, I will do something with it, as long as there's adventure involved," he said.

Visit www.rhysdarby.com for details of the tour

- Stuff

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