Māori-Fijian comedian Joe Daymond on his future ambitions, how practice on the paepae helped his performing career

Made with support from Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

From his online skits that went viral during lockdowns to his stand-up acts, 25-year-old Joe Daymond has well and truly made a career from making Kiwis crack up.

Daymond and his brothers spent most of their childhood living in Malaysia and India, returning home to Aotearoa in 2005. Daymond struggled trying to figure out where he belonged

"It was a massive identity crisis like moving back because I was too black to be considered Māori. But then all the Islanders would hear my accent because I have a British accent."

Daymond moved to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2014 to chase his dream and become a stand-up comedian - but trying to survive in the big smoke was hard.

"I was living out of my car, sleeping on my mates' couches all because I didn't have the money to pay for rent."

With whānau support, Daymond was able to remain in Auckland. He says one of his greatest achievements was selling out two shows at the 700-seat SkyCity Theatre.

International audiences are now getting a taste of Daymond's jokes. His eight-part TV show Bouncers was picked up by American cable channel Comedy Central last year. It's his first time writing for his own show.

"Comedy Central is the biggest, literally the biggest, comedy network out there. The fact that I get to create something on that network is such a surreal thought to me. It's definitely been massive progress of mine."

Daymond says this is only the beginning. He has plans to grow his production company West Park into the largest youth and indigenous-driven media company in the world.

Watch the video above.