During the NZ International Comedy Festival this year, we ran Fresh As Flick – a competition to find New Zealand’s freshest comic talent. The winner, Mayen was given a killer comedy experience, with tickets to the filming of Jono & Ben and 7 Days, as well as tickets and a backstage tour at the Comedy Gala, accommodation, spending money and one-on-one time with comedy trio, Frickin Dangerous Bro. Check out Mayen’s video to see what he had to say when we caught up with him recently about his awesome Comedy Fest experience.
- What inspired your Fresh As Flick entry?
I have always had an interest in observing human behaviour and mimicking people, particularly if they have a very unique trait (which is almost everyone on this planet!). I’ve been doing cartoon voices and imitating celebrities from a young age. Just before my entry I was invited to my cousin’s wedding in South Africa. I was told others who couldn’t make it were sending videos congratulating the hopefully happy couple. I didn’t want to send another generic video and I was thinking of splicing together scenes from different movies that have my cousin’s favourite actors saying classic lines about life. Almost like they were giving him advice. That proved too hard to do, mostly because I proved to be undeniably lazy. So a friend of mine suggested that I just create the video using my own voice. At the time he had come across a link for the Fresh As Flick competition and told me to submit whatever I create to the competition just for laughs. Turns out it was totally worth it!
- How long have you been doing comedy for?
Professionally, since my Fresh As Flick entry. Non-Professionally, since my childhood years. I was always the class clown in school because whenever the teacher would leave the room I’d stand up and imitate them physically and vocally. I realised in my teens that I felt very comfortable manipulating and heightening ordinary stories just to get my friends in hysterics. I am also in the film/theatre industry as an actor and a lot of material I have helped develop and performed in has been comedy.
- Who’s your favourite comedian / comedy group? You don’t have to say Frickin Dangerous Bro (-;
I’ve had so many influences growing up…Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Chris Lilley, Rhys Darby, Chris Tucker….the list goes on. Comedians I have recently started following have been Trevor Noah (South Africa represent!), Aziz Ansari, Felicity Ward and Paul Chowdhury. I love what Key & Peele are doing and of course local talent like Brian Tamaki and Frickin Dangerous Bro.
- What was your favourite part of your Comedy Festival experience?
The gala itself. It was an amazing, upbeat and hilarious night. So inspiring to see those outrageously talented comedians get a crowd in stitches. Also watching two very drunk individuals trying to pick up Rhys Darby at the after party by buying him a never ending supply of shots.
- How was your time with Frickin Dangerous Bro? Did they give some pearls of wisdom about working in comedy?
It was a super delicious and informative time. Frickin Dangerous Bro were deliciously informative. It was so great to have a relaxed conversation about comedy with seasoned professionals. For some reason I had thought that in the Comedy industry everybody is competitive and vicious. Almost like an “I’m funnier than you” predatory cycle. It turns out, it is quite the opposite. Everyone I met and spoke to were very encouraging and supportive. Including Frickin Dangerous Bro. They gave me a good sense of how hard I need to work to bring my A game and to not hold back. All of them believed I had what it takes to do stand-up and that meant a lot coming from individuals I look up to and aspire to be like. They said if I don’t tell my stories, nobody else will.
- What’s next for you in your comedy career?
After the Comedy Festival experience I have been writing down material I can use in stand-up and will most definitely pop my stand-up cherry very soon! My friend and I are also creating a ‘Harold & Kumar’-like comedy duo for New Zealand called “Po & Tenjal”. Our intention is to examine everyday life in bold and outrageous ways through a series of filmed sketches. Whether it’s having an ethnicity crisis, spoofing social situations, satirizing cinema, or ordering dim sum and naan, Po & Tenjal will showcase their bromantic chemistry, camaraderie and bizarre points of view. Follow us on:
Mayen even got to meet James Acaster!