Jarred Christmas: interview

Posted: Thu May 20 2010

Ho ho ho! Kiwi comedian Jarred Christmas hosts Time Out Live's 'Laugh Out Loud' next month following his new show at the Udderbelly. Time Out gets all curious about him…

Your new show is called 'Captain Curious'. Are you said Captain? What are you curious about?
'I am the Captain. But I do not require any “Captain, my Captain” nonsense nor do I require a crew or a trusty second in command. However, I am open to the idea of wearing a captain's hat at a jaunty angle. I just used the word “jaunty”. That's my one wank word for the interview… Got it out of the way in the first question. I'm curious about life and silly things, like if I manage to keep my eyes open whilst I sneeze, will my eyes actually pop out of their sockets? This answer and many more will most likely NOT be answered in my show.'

How did you come up with the idea for the show?
'The idea hit me last year. I wanted to do a show that was a collection of my adventures sprinkled with a shit load of jokes. Not sure where the title came from, I don't question these things, I just accept that every now and then, in the “Show Title” game, a wee bit of magic can happen. Also I like the words “captain” and “curious.” Putting them together seemed natural, like DeVito and Schwarzenegger in “Twins”. IT JUST WORKS!'

New Zealand is known as the home of extreme sports. What's the most extreme thing you've done in your life?
'I went bungee jumping when I was 18. Off a bridge and my head went into the water. It was pretty scary but I came up with a wild salmon in my teeth. So… yeah… pretty extreme, eh?'

Rhys Darby, Flight Of The Conchords and yourself have all thrived on the British comedy circuit (and beyond) - what do you think is it about the UK comedy scene that embraces Kiwi acts?
'Maybe it has something to do with the Kiwi charm and how sixy our accent is. Also, as a nation we have nothing to prove. We are not constantly trying to win shit and get in ya face; we are just happy to be involved. The UK scene is the best in the world, it attracts the best acts (and some shit ones) from all over. I think UK audiences are very comedy savvy and the Brits love to have a laugh at themselves. So when Johnny Foreigner jokes about Brit stuff they seem to love it.'

What are the best/worst things about being a Kiwi living in Britain?
'Best: You can get away with wearing flip flops all year round. Sure, people look at you weird when it's snowing, but once they find out you're a Kiwi, they smile and shake their heads and admire our all year-round optimism. Worst: Having cold feet for most of the year.'

You and your English wife have just become parents for the first time. What national traits do you hope your daughter will inherit from both her parents? Are there any you hope she won't?
'I hope my daughter inherits her mother's manners and English elegance. I hope she does not inherit my hairiness. Kiwis are a hairy lot, it's something to do with the water and how manly we are - even the Kiwi chicks are pretty solid and sometimes hairy. But that's sixy, right?'

You won the Best Compere award at the Chortle Awards this year and are the resident MC for our 'Laugh Out Loud' nights at the Bloomsbury. What is the secret to being a great MC?
'Great MCs are comics who are adaptable. They need to be able to roll with the situation and let their material flow whenever it's appropriate and required. They need to be likeable. If you are getting up after every act, you want the audience thinking: “I like this guy,” not: “Oh, not this dicksplash again.” But above all you need to be funny. There are a lot of people who seem to think being funny as an MC is not a priority. They think it's more about keeping the show flowing, getting the audience warmed up and being nice and chatting to the crowd. All of these are good, but if you are not funny, get the fuck off the stage. You're in a comedy club and the word comedy applies to you as well.

A great MC needs to be selfish within the time limits of the show. If you have ten minutes before bringing an act on, be as funny as possible in that ten minutes. Why settle for getting the audience warm when you can get them red hot? Most comics would prefer to go on to a crowd that is really cooking than one that is room temperature.'

It's been a big 12 months for you with appearances on 'The Persuasionists', 'Big Brother's Big Mouth' and 'Argumental'…
'The last year has been amazing. I have a baby daughter, I was in a BBC sitcom and I danced like Beyoncé in an advert. All of these have been great fun and that's my main goal. If my profile raises because I am doing something fun and working with brilliant and funny people then that's a good thing. A lot of my motivation now is to make my daughter proud of me. I'm sure when she's older, she'll think I'm a bit of a dick, but that is to be expected, because I am a bit of a dick. But, hopefully, I will be a bit of a dick she can be proud of. I think I have motto now… “I'm just a bit of a dick havin' a good time.” Actually, it's more of a mission statement.'

You were in the Pot Noodle ads. Which is your favourite flavour?
'Contractually I am not allowed to say anything negative about Pot Noodles. I love them and I love doing the adverts. There are not many jobs where a person who can't sing or dance gets the chance to get stuck into something where he has limited ability. My favourite flavour is the flavour of hope; shiiiiit, that tastes good, it has undertones of optimism, a hint of the unknown and an overwhelming taste of awesome. Its aftertaste can last for years. Just ask Obama.'

Jarred MCs Time Out Live's 'Laugh Out Loud' at the Bloomsbury Theatre, June 9.