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Internet comedian’s Masterton debut

Tom Sainsbury. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GRACE PRIOR
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The famous social media comedian Tom Sainsbury visited Hedleys Bookshop in Masterton on Friday night as part of his book launch for New Zealanders: The Field Guide.

Sainsbury rose to fame in 2017 after impersonating former Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett.

Since then, Sainsbury has been impersonating kiwi characters all around the country using Snapchat.

Sainsbury grew up in Matamata, which he thought was “very similar to Masterton”.

“It’s the same kind of people. Farming is the lifeblood of the area, and everyone else is connected to that.”

Visiting Masterton was always on Sainsbury’s list; he had spent some time in Featherston but wanted to come to Masterton because he “knew a couple of people who grew up here”.

His book was a “field guide to New Zealanders; each little chapter focuses on a different New Zealand stereotype or character that I have met over the years or my lifetime”, Sainsbury said.

“It’s like a comedic bird description, but it’s humans, so someone can read it and get a good gauge of what New Zealand is like.”

His impersonation of Paula Bennett was the first to take off, and he had impersonated countless people and caricatures since.

Sainsbury’s background is in theatre where he spent 10 years performing countless shows, often dark comedy.

“Political satire sort of came out randomly,” Sainsbury said.

Sainsbury didn’t actively pursue comedy and thought he would stay in the area of theatre.

Now he has more than 100,000 likes on his Facebook page and an extensive television and theatre background.

The major credit for Sainsbury’s fame was his Snapchat and Facebook videos.

“I think that with online stuff you can get into people’s homes so fast – none of this was consciously thought out.

“You’re directly impacting everyone every day”.

His favourite character to play is Maz, who “has a huge mouth and really big eyes – he’s always having troubles”.

“Things that I find annoying in everyday life I would put into a character, but it’s mostly just other people.”

Sainsbury’s book can be bought in-store at Hedleys Books on Queen St in Masterton.

Bookshop owner David Hedley’s son Alex published the book in his role with Harper Collins.

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