Getting to Know Tom Sainsbury

26th January 2021

Comedian and Social Media Star, Tom Sainsbury, is appearing at next month's Verb Wellington Garden Party here in the capital. Well known for his Snapchat impressions of Kiwi celebs and politicians, especially Paula Bennett and Gingerbread the Cat, Tom has recently put all those personalities into a book - New Zealanders: The Field Guide. He'll be at the Soundshell on February 20th impersonating some of the weird and wonderful inhabitants of Aotearoa, including the 'Wellington Intelligensia'!

What is your day job?


What is your connection to Vic Books?

A big fan of them. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I've got a lot of stand up and theatre booked in, and a lot of staring at the laptop despairing about the quality of my writing.

What is your latest project?

I filmed a low-budge feature film called Loop Track last year, so I'm currently in the editing room trying to make it work. And I'm working on the next series of Wellington Paranormal. Both as a writer and acting my lil' heart out in it.

Where did you find the inspiration for the Kiwi personalities featured in New Zealanders: The Field Guide?

Mostly from my life and experiences. I love people watching so much, and interacting with people as if my life were a play.

You're famous for your Snapchat political satires, so what was it like putting a new collection of Kiwi personalities into print form on the page?

It was a very different beast. My Snapchat videos have me playing the characters, embodying them, whereas I was writing about them in third person for the book. So it was just a different approach. And the comedy had to be different as well. I loved it though.

What's your favourite Kiwi personality from your new book? And your Snapchat videos?

I genuinely love them all. I love the 'Fly Hater' which is based on my experience that Kiwis over 80 are all obsessed with killing flies. The one I want to be friends with most is 'The No-Nonsense Farmer's Wife'. And with Snapchat, I find Simon Bridges and Kim Hill the easiest to do, so they're probably my favourites.

What are you most looking forward to about appearing at The Garden Party?

I'm looking forward to chatting about my book! But mostly meeting interesting people and chatting about interesting topics. It'll all be brain food for me, I guess.

Who are you most excited to see at The Garden Party? And which personalities do you expect to see roaming the Botanic Gardens!?

Definitely Elizabeth Knox. I'm a huge fan. And Karl Maughan - again, big fan. But all of them are pretty damned darling. Personalities? Let's call them the 'Wellington Intelligentsia'.

Some quick fire book recommendations please!

This Is Not How It Ends by Jehan Casinader.

Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Stand by Stephen King.

What do you like about it?

It's so brutal and bleak but damned gripping. And such an epic tale. And always ignites my imagination making me think - how would I cope if 99.7% of the world population died.

Which literary character do you most identify with? Why?

Tyrion Lannister. 

Enjoys wines, women and decadence.

Hardback or paperback?


Favourite coffee?

Oat Latte.