Se­ri­ous stuff for Funny Girls:

Three’s pop­u­lar sketch show Funny Girls is mark­ing 125 years since women won the right to vote in New Zealand. Los An­ge­les-based Kim­ber­ley Cross­man tells Sarah Nealon what’s in store.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Com­edy show marks 125 years since women won the vote in New Zealand.

In an era when New Zealand has a fe­male prime min­is­ter, it is hard to fathom a time when women could not vote in this coun­try.

But that was how it was un­til 1893 when, thanks to the ef­forts of peo­ple like suf­fragette Kate Shep­pard, the law changed.

New Zealand was the first coun­try in the world to give women the vote. Even then, the coun­try didn’t have its first fe­male MP un­til 1933 when El­iz­a­beth Mc­Combs won the Lyt­tel­ton seat in a by-elec­tion.

To cel­e­brate 125 years since women won the right to vote, Three is screen­ing a Funny Girls one-hour spe­cial.

Funny Girls Suf­fragette Spe­cial is a col­lec­tion of sketches and stand-up pieces. It will fea­ture well-known Kiwi women and some of the usual Funny Girls cast, such as Laura Daniel (Jono And Ben) and ex-Short­land Street star Kim­ber­ley Cross­man. Look out for ac­tress Teuila Blakely and sea­soned fun­ny­woman Justine Smith.

One notable ab­sen­tee is UK-based Rose Matafeo, who won the cov­eted best com­edy show at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val last month.

Cross­man, 28, who lives in Los An­ge­les, flew home to New Zealand for the show and other projects.

She grew up in Auck­land and re­mem­bers learn­ing about peo­ple like Kate Shep­pard at school.

The ac­tress is proud to be as­so­ci­ated with the Funny Girls spe­cial and hopes view­ers are not only en­ter­tained but that they also learn some­thing.

“Ev­ery sketch has a rea­son be­hind it. It’s mak­ing an ob­ser­va­tion and whether you agree with it or not, it’s tak­ing a cer­tain stance and mak­ing a point.”

– Kim­ber­ley Cross­man

“I think what Funny Girls does is what a lot of sketch shows don’t do (be­cause) our show isn’t just wack­adoo,” says Cross­man.

“Ev­ery sketch has a rea­son be­hind it. It’s mak­ing an ob­ser­va­tion and whether you agree with it or not, it’s tak­ing a cer­tain stance and mak­ing a point. Of­ten those points can be pretty poignant and po­lar­is­ing to some, and that’s kind of our job as co­me­di­ans to bring light to cer­tain is­sues or take cer­tain stances.” Cross­man, who also in­ter­views celebri­ties for The Project, first vis­ited the US in 2013 and has been fly­ing back and forth to New Zealand ever since.

When TV Guide spoke to her, she was on her sixth trip back here this year.

Last year she got a green card which she says was a game changer.

“It was about four years of go­ing back and forth and that was ex­haust­ing too,” she says.

“It was like work­ing here enough to fi­nan­cially sup­port my­self and try over there and then com­ing back here. But I’ve been lucky in that in those four and a bit years I’ve worked a lot.”

Cross­man, whose boyfriend is a US line pro­ducer, says she al­ways wanted to be a per­former.

“My mother is a bal­le­rina and a dance teacher so I’ve al­ways grown up on stage danc­ing and I’ve al­ways been a bit of a show off,” she says. “I love at­ten­tion so this seemed like a great path to go down.”

In the past few years, Cross­man has ap­peared in US se­ries Hash­tag­gers, White Fa­mous and Golden Globe nom­i­nee Smilf, in which she has a re­cur­ring role as Kit-Cat. That last show is a com­edy drama cre­ated by and star­ring Frankie Shaw as a sin­gle mother. “Frankie Shaw ac­tu­ally wrote the role for me be­cause she’d seen me in some­thing else so when I’m hav­ing those days that are full of doubt and ter­ror, it’s nice to have those things to hold on to which make you go, ‘OK I’m not crazy’ – be­cause I very well could be and there are enough crazy peo­ple in that town and it’s like, ‘Oh my god, am I se­cretly one of them?’ ” Although she works in an in­dus­try where looks count, Cross­man says in the US she hasn’t felt pres­sure to look or act a cer­tain way. She says that’s prob­a­bly be­cause the roles she goes for are comedic rather than se­ri­ous. “I’ve ac­tu­ally not ex­pe­ri­enced some­one go­ing ,‘Oh it would be bet­ter if you were thin­ner’. Again I’m not say­ing that doesn’t ex­ist. I’m not go­ing for the lead­ing lady in Game Of Thrones where I’m nude half the time. I’m the funny ex-girl­friend who might mur­der you.” It’s clearly been hard graft for Cross­man to get this far. So what advice would she give to young Kiwi ac­tors hop­ing to break into the US mar­ket? She says: “I think it’s im­por­tant to earn some stripes in your home town be­fore you go to the States.”

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