Comedian Corner: Tom Sainsbury

Interview By: Liam Stretch

You’ll have seen his many faces on Facebook under the handle ‘Tom Sainsbury – Comedian and Snapchat Dude’. With almost 200k followers across social media platforms, Tom has made quite a name for himself by taking on many different typical Kiwi characters through the use of various filters. As well as being a comedian, Tom is also an actor and can be seen on the small screen, silver screen, and even gracing the limelight on stage. Liam Stretch had a chat to him; they talk career highlights, popularity, and KFC. 

For those off the grid who have no connection to the outside world, who are you? 

I’m a comedian! Best job in the world. I do a lot of videos portraying various characters and post them online for the world to enjoy.  

Describe your comedy style?  

I’m really into truth, I guess. I like to observe how someone behaves or how they talk and then try and replicate it as perfectly as possible. When I play a character or play out a scenario, and a viewer says, ‘that’s spot on’, or ‘that’s just like my Dad’ or something of the sort, I feel like I’ve succeeded.  

I’m also into the darker comedy. Death and pain and devastation are regular go-tos for me.  

You had a massive surge in popularity using filters; why do you think you’ve become so popular this way? 

Making videos means I can be beamed into people’s lives wherever they are. So, it is simply accessibility, I reckon.  

 What is your favourite filter/character? 

I’ve got this one character called Maz, who has big eyes and a huge mouth and works at Animates, and nothing seems to go right for him. I love playing him. I also love doing Simon Bridges. I find it quite easy to slip into his character.   

Are you friends with Paula Bennett on Snapchat? 

We’re not friends on Snapchat, but we are on Facebook, Instagram and have each other’s phone numbers. Lol.   

If you could be any of your characters in real life, who would you be?  

I’ve had one character, a no-nonsense farmers’ wife, who I would love to be like. She just gets on with the job with no fuss and doesn’t really have any crippling emotions. I’d love to be like that.   

What do you think a University of Canterbury Student’s character would be like?  

Look, I’m gonna say they drink quite a bit, they love doing pub crawls, they’ll be studying engineering, and their bedroom is a pigsty. Sorry for stereotyping!   

Would you say your character ‘Singstar Dude’ in ‘Guns Akimbo’, alongside Daniel Radcliffe, is one of your career highlights? 

Oh my god, you know that part? That 30 seconds on-screen role? Hahaha. Well, look, I loved meeting Daniel Radcliffe, and he said I was funny. So I’m having that put onto my gravestone.  

You perform on stage and screen; how do these two mediums differ?  

Screenwork allows you to get things perfect, if time allows. Stage is a lot more haphazard and sometimes doesn’t go well, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But stage does have that instant response and a wonderful connection with your audience.  

When Fiona reviews wine, do you actually drink the whole bottle? 

Haha. I drink about half a glass per review. And usually film the videos in the early morning. I’m also a real lightweight when it comes to alcohol. So I’m drunk before 9am. I never thought I’d be that person.   

Sextortion: Did the inspiration for this show stem from any real current events?  

Colin Craig was a big inspiration for me, just the conservative side of the party. But political sex scandals, as I found out, are so common. I went down many rabbit holes during my research.   

Grindr, Scruff, or Bumble – which one do you think would offer the best content for a play script?  

Good call! Probably Grindr. Scruff – no one is on. Bumble – too tame. There’s a lot more drama and potential murderers on Grindr.  

Wicked wings or original recipe? 

Oh shit, I’m not sure of this reference. Is that because I’m vegetarian? I’m gonna go with wicked wings. I’m a fan of alliteration.