Throughout our conversation about his career, Guy explains his frustration with the media without prompting. But he doesn’t just talk about it; he is making a stand against it in his comedy and doing his best to support New Zealanders against harsh, unwelcome publicity.
“Another thing I really want to talk about is New Zealand media being terrible. I have a segment where I play the videos that I found of media coverage of the TPPA protesters. What [the TV channels] did is they went out and made the protesters look stupid. After the TPPA protests, the main angle in the media was, ‘Hahaha, isn’t it funny that the protesters don’t know why they are protesting?’ which I thought was really annoying.”
“I think there is a real problem now with the age of the internet and the death of traditional journalism.”
“We’re heading towards quite a tricky time where misinformation gets through and people are allowed to say things that aren’t fact like they are fact – like say opinions as facts.
The coverage of the TPPA really irritated me because all the traditional media took the side of the government and were against the protesters. I thought that was really weird because in New Zealand I thought we were always proud of protesting.
And in reality, the reason [the protesters] knew nothing about the TPPA is because it’s intentionally misleading and it was negotiated in secrecy. It’s like 6000 pages long so no one knows much about it. I don’t think the politicians who signed it know much about it.”
“So I like to expose the hypocrisy in those stories they did and also I do my own story. In this show, I show a video – I did the exact same thing [the media] did but instead of making the protesters look stupid I made the politicians look stupid.”
“I went out to Auckland Airport and filmed myself queuing, quizzing the politicians about the TPPA and they knew nothing about it, and that’s quite funny.”
Guy has done a lot of travelling during his years working as a comedian and even when he goes on holiday, he likes to go to places where he can still watch comedy. In saying that, he can’t help but compare the scenes to New Zealand. Furthermore, he may be taking a stand against the media here but he says the fight is not as hard-going as it could be overseas.
“Watching shows in Los Angeles made me realise that the New Zealand comedy scene is actually very good. That’s the thing about travelling overseas – even in Australia – however bad we think our media is, it’s not nearly as bad as [overseas]. Australia’s good media is way better than our good media, but their bad media is way, way worse. They have a real strong tabloid culture there.
And in our comedy scene we’re lucky as well. Our best comedians are good but… we may not have as many really great comedians but we’ve got a lot less really terrible ones. There are a lot of really sexist or racist comedians [in the countries I’ve visited] and we don’t have that in New Zealand, we’re very lucky.
Just going to America, nice, normal comedians also seem very sexist without even trying to be. Just going to The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, some male comedians just always talk about ‘bitches’.
It’s weird to hear that because in New Zealand it seems you’d get a very bad response if you did that but in America it’s like their culture is just generally a little bit more backwards.”
“There are a lot of places in comedy clubs [overseas] where it’s all great but in the mainstream in America and Australia it’s just not that great.”
I felt really lucky to be able to listen to Guy’s opinions on so many important topics over dinner. I think it’s unfortunate that we only get to see a certain side of celebrities through the media. Of course, Guy is the person we see on TV; he’s funny, honest, and can be bitingly sardonic (in the best way possible).
However, during our chat and the drive (after he offered to give me a ride home) I saw a different side to him. Just as honest, just as passionate, but about different things than I was initially expecting. He asked about me; my interests, work life, and my thoughts about being a comedian.
Moreover, discussing his passion for basketball, his drive to be solely a stand up comic, and his warmth towards me and genuine interest in the website proved for a really eye-opening, enjoyable night.
Also, I totally fangirled that Guy Williams drove me home and I snapchatted everyone.
In Talking Comedy – Guy Williams: Part 1 he discusses his career and writing comedy.