After a hugely successful first season, Taskmaster NZ is back with a handful of new comics ready to put their dignity on the line. Stewart Sowman-Lund chats with last year’s winner Angella Dravid.
If you’ve somehow managed to live under a Taskmaster-shaped rock for the better part of a decade, let’s get you up to speed. Taskmaster is the wildly successful UK panel show that forces five comedians to compete against each other in a series of bizarre, often mindless, sometimes technical, “tasks”. There’s no real point to it, there’s no monetary prize. But it’s always hilarious and incredibly popular.
Last year New Zealand was finally given its own version – and it’s great! In my review, I said that Taskmaster NZ was a rare case in which we managed to rip off a massive overseas franchise without ruining it. Tonight the second season premieres, with new competitors Urzila Carlson, Matt Heath, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel and David Correos facing off under the watchful eye of Taskmaster Jeremy Wells and his assistant Paul Williams. Who will come out on top? And who will fail miserably?
In celebration of the show returning for a second round, I asked last year’s champ Angella Dravid to predict who she thinks will take out season two – and give her best piece of advice for doing well on the show.
The following conversation has been edited for brevity.
Stewart: Tell me about your experience of doing Taskmaster NZ season one?
Angella: I had no idea what Taskmaster was. I found it pretty disorientating, almost like Rosemary’s Baby: everyone was in on a secret and I was the last one to find out. It was fun though. It was kind of like that game when you’re camping where someone has to guide you through a rope obstacle course, it was like that.
I thought knowing about the show would be important for doing well on it but clearly that’s not true?
Yeah it’s strange! I think Brynley [Stent] watched the show so she was more clued up that things can have a twist.
Are you going to watch season two?
Yes, I love everybody on season two so I’m gonna be watching it.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for the new contestants?
Go wild in the studio cause they can always edit out the bad stuff.
OK then, who do you think is going to win?
I think it’s between David [Correos] and Guy [Montgomery].
Interesting! Why’s that?
I just don’t know what kind of things they’re gonna come up with, I feel like they’re the wildcards. And wildcards either do really well or really bad. I think they’ll be the most chaotic.
So what’s your first reaction when I say the name… Matt Heath.
Friend. Laura and I have worked together for a while and she’s a really great person.
Funny! She made it in Australia.
That’s very true. What about Guy Montgomery?
And David Correos?
…Oh yeah, I’ve seen that. If you know you know…
He had a knife strapped to his forehead!
I’m in a Facebook group for fans of Taskmaster UK and have discovered that people love the New Zealand version – and particularly you! Do you have any idea you have an overseas fanbase?
I did this podcast called No Such Thing as a Fish and it was because the head writer from QI said they loved Taskmaster and would love to have me on it. It’s kind of strange, I didn’t realise that people from overseas were watching.
A lot of people from this Facebook group want to be your friend, or want to know if you’re single. You’re popular!
Wow, I had no idea! I can’t believe there’s a fanbase.
People also love your mum after she showed up in a task last season.
Yeah mum’s pretty cute. I think I get my eccentric-ness from my mum, she’s way funnier than I am.
Your outfit from the first season is also kind of iconic now, people loved it.
I looked like a minion. I thought I’d go with overalls cause it was an easy outfit, there’s no tucking of the t-shirt into the pants for continuity. They found blue overalls and Vincent van Gogh said yellow was a complimentary colour to blue… But I saw a photo of me and Leigh [Hart] together and we actually looked like Despicable Me.
Is there a task from season one you would want to “do over”?
Yes! It was task where I had to make a sausage. I was just like ‘why do they want me to make a sausage’, that’s weird. I was just trying to make a normal sausage but I didn’t realise they wanted me to make the most unusual sausage…
How do you think this season is going to be different from the last?
I think that on my season, everyone was testing the waters so it was a little bit reserved. But this year will be a bit different because all of the contestants have been able to see it. This cast will be a bit more chaotic.
And Jeremy [Wells, the Taskmaster] will realise that he has so much power that he can actually just choose who he wants to win.
Would you do the show again if there was a “champion of champions” spin-off?
Oh my god, yes! Now that I know what it is…
Taskmaster NZ season two premieres at 8.40pm tonight on TVNZ 2.
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