An Indian, a Chinaman, a Korean, an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, a Malaysian, and an expatriate Filipino all walk into a bar. The barman takes one look at them and says, "Is this some kind of joke?"
Welcome to A Thousand Apologies, a comedy sketch show created by a collective of staff and former students at The University of Auckland's Department of Film, Television and Media Studies (FTVMS).
The brain-child of FTVMS senior lecturers Shuchi Kothari and Sarina Pearson, A Thousand Apologies uses parody, satire and farce to address the diversity of the pan-Asian experience in contemporary New Zealand. From overachieving Chinese children to overqualified Indian taxi drivers, the show lampoons stereotypes and situations that resonate with all New Zealanders.
"We had all worked together at various times within the department, and even after we went our separate ways and worked on our own projects, the members of the collective kept in touch. Despite our successes with various films, we continued to lament our humourless representations on the small screen. We wanted to change that," says Dr Kothari, an Indian-born New Zealander.
In addition to Kothari and Pearson, the collective comprises Roseanne Liang, Angeline Loo, Sunil Narshai, Chris Payne, all graduates of the FTVMS Graduate Programme in Screen Production. Tarun Mohanbhai is currently a Screen Production student, and Zia Mandviwalla is a graduate of the FTVMS programme.
"Once again, the strength of our department is on display. As the first pan-Asian comedy show to air in this country, A Thousand Apologies represents a new chapter in television history," says Head of FTVMS Professor Annamarie Jagose.
The pilot for A Thousand Apologies was supported by a University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Development Fund; the series was funded by a NZ On Air Innovation Grant.
The six-programme series airs on TV-3 from 9:30pm-10pm on Fridays starting 5 September.