Funny As: The Story of New Zealand Comedy

Paul Horan and Philip Matthews. With a foreword by Michele A’Court

A big, authoritative, hilarious illustrated account of our funniest men and women.


From the Kiwi Concert Party to The Topp Twins, Billy T. James to Rose Matafeo, Fred Dagg to Flight of the Conchords, New Zealanders have made each other laugh in ways distinctive to these islands.

Funny As tells the story of comedy in this country through more than 300 pictures and an engaging text based on over 100 interviews with our best comedians. Published alongside a major TVNZ 1 documentary series at a time when comedy has never been bigger, the book takes us inside the comedy clubs, cabarets and television studios where comedians work; it charts the rise of cartoons and skits, parody and stand-up; it introduces us to how New Zealand’s funniest men and women have made sense (and nonsense) out of this country’s changing culture and society.

Funny As is the authoritative, hilarious story of New Zealand comedy.


About the authors

Raised in Palmerston North, Paul Horan was a member of the late-80s comedy troupe Facial DBX which featured Jon Bridges and Jeremy Corbett. Paul went on to set up the Classic Comedy Club – New Zealand’s only venue dedicated solely to comedy – in 1998. Paul was also the co-founder of the New Zealand Comedy Festival (in 1992) and wrote for the television series Topp Twins III. Shifting to Australia in 2000, he was hired to set up the writer’s room for Rove. He has since become a senior producer and script consultant for shows such as Hamish and Andy’s Real Stories and The Mansion. He helped create The 7PM Project and most recently the ground-breaking comedy Problems for the ABC. Paul lives in Melbourne with his partner Greg; he returns to New Zealand often.

Philip Matthews is a senior journalist, reviewer and editorial writer whose work has appeared in the NZ Listener, Metro, Sunday Star-Times, Landfall, The Press, The Wire, The Spinoff and a host of other publications during his 25 years in the business. For more than 10 years he was an award-winning film reviewer for the NZ Listener, with two stints as the magazine’s arts and books editor. He sporadically maintains a film blog and is more active than he would like to be on Twitter. He has never performed comedy and can barely remember jokes, but people tell him he’s funny. He lives in Christchurch with his wife and three daughters. 


*Features exclusive variant covers

Funny As features four variant covers featuring some of the very best in the business; Billy T James, Fred Dagg, The Topp Twins and Flight of the Conchords.


July 2019, 248 x 200 mm, 336 pages, 200+ colour and black and white images
Jacketed paperback with four variant dust jackets, ISBN 9781869409005, $49.99