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Rhys Darby Opens Up About What LGBTQ+ ‘Our Flag Means Death’ Fans Mean to Him

Wholesome and adorable comedian continues to be wholesome and adorable.

Rhys Darby as Stede Bonnett in HBO's Our Flag Means Death.

With all the upsetting drama coming from the HBO/Discovery camp, and the future of many beloved titles hanging in the balance, it is easy to miss the good things. Rhys Darby, one of the stars of HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death, is a bright and shining point of joy in the world. Most American fans who knew of him before his fabulous turn as gentleman pirate Stede Bonnet, remember him as the band manager Murray Hewitt on Flight of the Conchords.

Even before that, Darby had years of stand-up comedy and a BBC radio version of Conchords under his belt. However, it wasn’t until Our Flag Means Death that people gave Darby the props he deserves. Darby attributes his recent bump in fame to the love and dedication from LGBTQIA+ fans of OFMD.

He only speaks the truth

In a recent interview with the New Zealand newspaper Regional News, Darby discussed celebrating his 25th year as a stand-up comedian. Darby said he only realized this year that he had been doing stand-up for 25 years because of the new attention. All of his new fans were watching and sharing older routines of his across social media, bringing his material to a brand new fanbase. Unlike many other comedians who have made questionable and offensive jokes in the past, Darby’s comedy is just as non-offensive then as it is now.

Darby said, “There’s nothing offensive to anyone. It’s just about laughter for laughter’s sake, me taking the piss out of myself in awkward situations, me as a human, and me being confident enough, without realising it, over time, to just put my weirdness out there and be proud of it.”

Honestly, Darby’s attitude towards comedy, in general, is so refreshing. I grew up loving comedy. My entire week centered on watching 90s-era Saturday Night Live. I listened to comedy records and watched any stand-up I could get my hands on. As time has passed, sadly, so much comedy has not aged well. Newer specials by once beloved comedians (I’m looking at you, Dave Chappelle), are tasteless, lazy, hateful, and not funny. More comedians need to remember that adage about “punching up” with their jokes.

One of the many reasons fans fell in love with OFMD is its lack of hurtfulness. It created a space of love and happiness that everyone could enjoy, especially fans in the LGBTQIA+ community. You can feel the same vibes in Darby’s comedy routines. “I think that resonated with a lot of people, especially the LGBTQ-plus community,” Darby said. “They really started loving my stuff, and I felt like I was becoming a captain in a way.”

Keep fighting the good fight, Darby. We all love you for it.

(featured image: HBO Max)

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D.R. Medlen is secretly a selkie that will one day return to the sea. In the meantime, she spends her days fangirling over anything from comic books to folklore podcasts, and everything in between. She lives that hobbitcore life while teaching her offspring the ways of the nerd.