Rhys Darby talks comedy, the American dream and more ahead of Arlington tour stop

Best known from HBO, Darby will bring his stand-up routine to NoVA in December.

rhys darby
Rhys Darby (Photo courtesy of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse)

Rhys Darby is on a mission to make New Zealanders the “main funny guys on the planet.” Best known as ‘Murray’ from the HBO series Flight of the Conchords, Darby is bringing his unique stand-up comedy act to Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse this month—Kiwi accent, sound effects and energetic skits included. We caught up with Darby, who also stars in the Jumanji movie reboot, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and TBS’ Wrecked.

This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. Want more fun things to do? Subscribe to our newsletters.

What makes your stand-up unique? 
In a nutshell, I do stand-up with a physical nature. Basically, I tell stories and then I create and become the characters, and sometimes the objects, in those stories. It’s always a little difficult to explain, but I do sound effects and it’s quite a unique style of stand-up. My stand-up is about me being myself in awkward situations and my continuing quest to try and make it here in America.

How did you develop your comedic style?
It’s always from a simple act of play as a kid. I had friends, but there was certainly a lot of time on my own playing with toys, and I would always do the funny noises, do the funny character voices. I would bring my play to life a lot. I carried that on through into my adulthood. I’ve always been a bit of a big kid. I also spent time in the New Zealand army and there I learned physical skills and I bring those into my performance as well.

What’s your favorite thing about Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse?
I’ve done the venue before, and I really like it. I like that it’s a big room and a big stage because I like to do a lot of physical stuff. Smaller stages, for me, I find more restricting. I like to jump around a lot. My stand-up it quite theatrical. I give a lot. Shake ’em if you got ’em! // Dec. 5, 6 and 7; Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse: 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington; $25

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