Mike King (comedian)
Initially making his name as a stand up comedian, playing heavily on his Māori origins, he made the move to a more lucrative mainstream audience, appearing in the New Zealand TV shows Comedy Central, Game of Two Halves, Strassman, TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, Pulp Comedy and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In 1997 he was nominated for the prestigious Billy T Award.
In 2004 he appeared in a second talk show, simply called Mike King. Although similar in concept to Mike King Tonight, the show was instead produced by Touchdown Television. It was shot on a smaller stage and no longer included the live band present in Mike King Tonight. It ran also for only one season.
On Jan 14, 2007, Mike King collapsed in a Melbourne hotel and was left momentarily unconscious and partially paralyzed from a blood clot in his blood vessel while attending a poker championship in Melbourne (a prize he claimed after winning a poker tournament in Auckland, New Zealand) after a blood vessel burst on the back of his neck (in a very rare case). It is yet unknown whether he had a heart attack or stroke His life was saved by his good friend and poker player Richard Lancaster. Lancaster found him in a state of paralysis and got Mike to Alfred Hospital.
Addiction and mental health
In recent interviews, Mike has openly released information surrounding his several year addiction to the drug cocaine. He claims to have purchased a travel agency to assured himself of access to the drug: "If it ever came to it I could always jump on a plane and put myself up in a hotel for a few days".
In 2009, King started a Radio Live programme airing on Sunday evenings entitled The Nutters Club. The programme is produced in association with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand's 'Out of the Blue' campaign, which aims to publicise depression and the steps which can be taken to recover from or manage the illness, and to promote change to improve the well-being of all New Zealanders. The Mental Health Foundation aims to make mental health everybody's business, and the radio show is linked to the Facebook page for The Nutters Club. On the programme, King works with mental health professionals David Codyre and Malcolm Falconer, and invites listeners to phone in with comments and to share stories or issues which might be troubling the callers. In 2013, The Nutters Club moved to Newstalk ZB.
For seven years he was the spokesman for "New Zealand Pork", presenting 30-second TV commercials showcasing quick-fix meals using pork known as Mike's Meals. However, in May 2009 he spoke out against the factory farming of pigs, and apologised for his previous promotional work. Appearing on the Sunday programme, he said "I will not be a party to this brutality, this callous and evil treatment of pigs. It's disgusting and it needs to stop."
In November, 2012, King was ordered to complete 200 hours of community work after pleading guilty to a driving charge.