Funny business for ex-soldier
BACK when he was knee-deep in mud, burdened down by his army pack and being shouted at by his commanding officer, Rhys Darby might not have imagined he would end up in stand-up comedy.
But fittingly for a funnyman his life has thrown up a number of surreal chapters he can dip into for material, he says.
"I think I just watched too many 1980s war movies — Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill. Oh man, I just wanted a piece of that.
"The basic training side of it was very Full Metal Jacket. There was certainly a lot of abuse and holding very heavy artillery shells above my head and running through swamps.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"I liked the adventure side of it. I wasn't sure what I was doing with my life and I thought maybe I should be a commander in charge of a battalion, but those dreams were dashed when I realised I didn't even have a good sense of direction.
"I was good at marching, but apart from that I just seemed to make people laugh.
"It was a weird chapter of my life. I probably should have joined the Scouts but I went straight into the real army."
Luckily he missed out on deployment and later he went into an altogether more peaceful pursuit, selling prints in an art shop.
It wasn't until he started spending time with the British comics who jetted over for the New Zealand Comedy Festival that he began to take his comedy side more seriously, so to speak.
And then came another surreal happening — working with his hero, the gurning comedy actor Jim Carrey on the film Yes Man.
Carrey sang Darby's praises enthusiastically, likening the Kiwi to Peter Sellers.
But says Rhys, he couldn't help but feel like a bit of a chancer.
"I was obsessed with Jim's films when I was younger, and I hoped one day to meet him.
"And lo and behold the first film I do was with him. I think I just refused to believe that it was real and I didn't take a minute to realise the full situation until the film was done.
"At the premiere I noticed myself up there on the screen with him but even then it felt like I had been superimposed into a film. But the audience seemed to love it."
If Rhys looks familiar to you though, it is probably for his part as Murray Hewitt, the hapless band manager in Flight of The Conchords, or in the Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked.
Rhys's latest show This Way To The Spaceship, lands at Swansea's Grand Theatre on Monday at 8pm.