Rhys Darby has revealed why he and Taika Waititi are so popular with Americans.
The Kiwi comedian sat down with The Hits hosts Jono and Ben on their podcast this week to talk about his acting gig with Prince Harry, his relationship with Waititi and the real reason Americans love them as actors and comedians.
Darby said he and the Thor director are part of just a handful of New Zealanders using their own accent in Hollywood and surmises that's why Americans love them.
He believes Americans enjoy the successful pair's content and accents so much because "we are escapism to the truckloads of Americans".
"I think it's that thing again where we're from the western world but we are from this mythological place called New Zealand and we're non-offensive and it's weird."
Darby told the hosts: "I think Taika mentioned the other day - he came across this as well, he's basically always playing his own voice. And there's only a few of us Kiwis that are doing that.
"You look at the entertainment business in the globe and there's thousands of Americans and thousands of English speakers, but there's not too many Kiwi accents. So we're like, let's do it. Let's put our voices in there. Let's not change them.
"We believe the unique New Zealand comedy that we're creating is worth something and we've been told, thankfully, through the bits of success that we've all had like Flight of the Conchords, that it is something and so we are keeping it going."
Darby, who is gearing up to perform three retrospective comedy specials next month to celebrate 25 years as a comedian, told Jono and Ben there is a "little bit of disbelief" but at the end of the day he and Waititi have "stuck to our guns" and have a "very strong drive" which has helped them get to where they are in their careers.
Darby's insights come a month after Waititi appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where the director also praised the Kiwi accent and joked that it sounds like "beautiful mumbling".
During Waititi's appearance, Colbert asked why Korg, a character and narrator of his new film Thor: Love and Thunder, has a Kiwi accent.
The director responded, "Because I'm so lazy as an actor, it's the only accent I want to do," he said, before quickly adding, "also the New Zealand accent is so beautiful".
He went on to describe it as "like having your eardrums massaged to death" - a description which saw Colbert's audience erupt with laughter.
The Jojo Rabbit director later revealed he adjusts his accent when he is in the US, adding, "because the way I normally speak, you guys would never understand a thing I was saying".
The curious talk show host asked his guest to "slip into unintelligible Kiwi" and Waititi quickly switched to his more natural way of talking. Colbert described it as "just mumbling".
To which Waititi shot back: "The New Zealand accent is just mumbling, but it's beautiful mumbling."
This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.