This conversation is me chatting with “the Godfather of New Zealand Comedy” Scott Blanks. Twenty years ago he turned an old porno theatre into a comedy club – The Classic. It’s still rolling on, with nightly comedy bills. Not only that, it’s been the breeding ground for a generation of TV comics – writers and performers across current events and skit-based TV comedy.
Scott is a promoter, manager, venue owner – and his interest in comedy goes back to his own childhood, to being an obsessive comedy-record listener, a fan of TV and movies. He worked for a time in movie promotion and marketing, made contacts – kept them, used them – and then hooked up with a group of Auckland improv-actors, radio DJs and comedians – “Funny Business”, he was part of the gang, a manager, the guy who came up with the name, took care of the bookings. But Blanks has never been a comedian. Just a guy with a keen ear and eye for it.
He’s a talent-spotter to this day, and he’s been ahead of the game in terms of bringing international acts to New Zealand, in seeing the Comedy Festival grow and grow…
I’d wanted to talk to Scott for a while, but timed this with a round of promo he was doing in support of The Classic’s 20th Birthday. That said we talk more about him and his views and his background, though the club is there of course in our conversation, informing it all. As is discussion of so many Kiwi and overseas comics, my reviews, my views, the trouble I’ve got into by dismissing certain acts…and many more things.
(One note I want to make – the reference to Louis CK by me in this podcast might sound flippant, this was recorded before the allegations were made fully pubic and then confirmed by the comedian).
It was my great pleasure to talk to Scott Blanks – and to get a snapshot of the history of Kiwi comedy.
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