|The Naked Samoans|
|Medium||Stage, television, film|
The Naked Samoans is a New Zealand comedy group made up of Polynesian entertainers, most of whom are Samoan. The group performs social humour and satire that attracts a broad audience, especially among white New Zealanders, without sacrificing the group's Pacific Island identity. The group has gained success in both television and film projects as well as in theatre, which remains their primary base in entertainment. The members of this group are David Fane, Mario Gaoa, Shimpal Lelisi, Oscar Kightley, Robbie Magasiva and Jerome Leota.
The group started in 1998 with their first stage production entitled Naked Samoans Talk about Their Knives (the title is a parody of a New Zealand film Topless Women Talk About Their Lives). Appearing in several cities in New Zealand, their show was a sellout success. This led to a series of successful productions in theatre that brought media attention to the entertainers. Their material on such subjects like racism and violence were surprising to some, but nonetheless their base grew. Originally the Naked Samoans consisted of four members, but in January 2001 Robbie Magasiva and Iaheto Ah Hi joined the group and has remained a member since.
Between 2004 and 2006, the Naked Samoans were involved in two major projects. In television, the original members created the animated show bro'Town, New Zealand's first adult animated show. It received critical praise and numerous awards from the country's domestic entertainment industry. In film, most of the group members starred in the comedy film Sione's Wedding, known as Samoan Wedding in other regions such as North America, co-written by Oscar Kightley and David Fane. The movie became one of the highest-grossing Kiwi films of 2006, making over $NZ3 million. However, it also got media attention as being a victim of unauthorized distribution, resulting in some loss of potential revenue. Sione's Wedding was later released in Australia and distributed in the United States under a new title Samoan Wedding.
After a successful 2006, the Naked Samoans returned to their roots and performed with their new production, Naked Samoans Go Home (Again), in December.