The VICE Interview: Rhys Darby
Talking death, infinite life and the Elephant Man with the New Zealand comic.
(Photo via Fetch) (Also this is a still from the show, not Rhys Darby's natural state)
One good thing, I suppose, is that we are all dying. You, right now: you are slewing life off you like a dad with day-three sunburn losing skin. Life is easing off of you. Out of every pore of your body. As we pelt through space on a rock, so the rock shall spin and spin for eons after you, so your fleeting time on Earth grows ever more fleeting. And no more is that truth evident than when you ask the interns if they remember Flight of the Conchords – the now ten-year-old HBO series that sustained you (me) throughout university – and they greet you all with blank faces. "Flight!" you (I) say, desperately now, attempting to make cool with children who were 11 years old when this cultural reference was last sharp. "Of the Conchords! Hiphopapotamus! Bowie's in space!" The children know not of what you (I) speak.
Anyway, Rhys Darby was in it, and the show was great, and now he's in another great show, this time with about 10x more Rhys Darby in it, and it's called Short Poppies, and it says here you can buy it on DVD this week.
Here's the VICE Interview:
VICE: Dogs or babies?
Rhys Darby: Neither. I'm not a big dog fan, but I prefer dogs to babies. What about baby dogs? Puppies? I don't mind puppies.
How long do you think you would last in space?
What sort of equipment have I got?
You've got all the general space equipment you need to live, but, if you've watched a space film, normally self-sabotage is the reason anyone dies in space. Like, they're the ones who fuck it up. So how long would you give yourself before you accidentally put your piss into the wrong shoot or you ate the wrong ration and your face exploded and you died?
I'm pretty smart. When I say that, I mean, as long as I was following the parameters of the space rules. So, uhh... [ really long pause] I'd survive at least seven minutes.
What time period would you have liked to have lived in?
I'm going to say the Victorian era. I'm a bit of a steampunk fan, so I think even if it was an alternate reality, for sure, but either way – I love the architecture and the fashion, the top hats...
What do you think your role in decent Victorian society would be?
I definitely think I would be an artist of some sort. But possibly a conman, living on the streets, and maybe doing vaudeville on the side.
You know what? I can really see you as the guy who gets the pennies and then pulls the curtain to reveal The Elephant Man. Sort of like his keeper.
Yeah, that could be me – a showman!
What's the nicest thing you own?
Probably my watch that my wife bought me for my 40th. It's the Omega James Bond watch. God knows how much it cost her – she says it's a real one but I've never seen the certificate.
With nice watches, what I always find is I'm just too afraid to ever wear them. Do you actually wear yours or do you save it for special occasions?
I don't wear it much. It's quite easy – I wear it for a fancy night with a suit, but for general wear I stick with the Fitbit.
Would you like to experience death if it could be guaranteed that you could be brought back to life?
Yes, absolutely if it comes with a 100 percent guarantee and a certificate.
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You'd need a contract?
Yeah. See what it's like.
Do you have any ideas on death?
Yeah. I think you probably drop into another realm and start again.
Like a hard reset?
On a related subject, how do you think you will die?
I don't think I will. I won't. Unfortunately, I won't die and that actually gets to me at times. I think the wife really gets annoyed with that, but I think I'll live forever and it's something I'm just going to have to deal with. People will have me for generations to come. I mean, I'll certainly be getting older and the routines will be harder to perform. In the future years, a lot of my characters will be elderly.
At what point do you think you'll realise that you're fundamentally unkillable?
I think around the 120 mark. At 120, I'll look around and think, 'God, I'm the only one left of the people I know, and here I am still running twice a week and attending glamorous parties.'
Would you use that life to your advantage?
Oh yeah. Once I know that I'm unkillable, I'll then suggest that they use me to send to other planets, into interplanetary species meetings. I'm the kind of guy that you could kidnap and torture and I'm still going to be fine.
Is there a fine-skilled hobby that you've been thinking about kind of taking up but never really wanted to, but maybe if blessed with infinite life that you would actually embrace? Like knitting?
Yeah, I think later in life, once I realised I'm not going anywhere and I've certainly got a lot of time on my hands, I would. Not knitting, because... I don't really see the point in that. I've always thought about kitesurfing.
So you'd be the world's best ancient kitesurfer?
Yeah. I love the water and the air. I like kites. Just kind of mixing those together. I was going to do it once but then I heard a story of some guy that, you know, sometimes the wind picks you up and you crash into the side of a cliff or some shit and you're going to end up dead. I think that was in the early days when they were using children's kites and they weren't sure what they were doing.
Which conspiracy theory do you believe?
I'm a big fan of the alien moon bases – that perhaps the moon is a construction rather than an actual moon, that it's alien-made and that's where they are. They're using that as a forward planning base and they're monitoring us from the moon.
So aliens made the moon?
Yes, they've either made it or... yeah, because scientifically it shouldn't exist – it's just come from something heading to our planet and then bouncing off and then creating this thing. I think, yeah. It's probably an alien-made construct – that's why I'm excited about getting back there. No one's been there for a long time I think because there are buildings on the moon – there's been a couple of photographs taken from Chinese satellites where you can see weird shapes which are perhaps buildings. New Zealand just launched a space rocket yesterday – we're entering the space race – and I'm hoping that maybe once we get a few years down the track we'll have a craft that may take us to the moon.
Obviously you'll be able to go because you're living forever.
Yeah. As long as I'm not dropped into actual space and kept within the craft, if they don't drop into an issue, I'll be fine.
When in your life have you been truly overcome with fear?
I think it would probably be being a young 20-something and going on a date with a girl, really. Either that or bungee-jumping. When I did a bungee jump I wasn't that scared; I was like, "I'm going to do it, people have done it, it's fine" – but as I jumped off the bridge, just the amount of adrenaline, I couldn't deal with the thing around my ankles. It felt like I was committing suicide and I tried to scream the F-word, and as I did I couldn't close my mouth so I just went, "BAAAAAAAAGHHH" and then I just bounced back. But, man, I just thought that was the end. But of course, I'll live forever. Bouncing back, I thought, 'Aw god, I'm unkillable.'
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