I’m sure I’m not just speaking to my fellow comedians here when I say how strange it is when your hobby and the thing you enjoy doing the most in this world becomes your job. It’s inevitable that passion for the activity is lost, something you used to look forward to doing after you completed your homework, suddenly becomes the work. I seriously wonder if this is why so many people have such strong addictions to the gym. It’s fun to go somewhere and move your body, or learn how to lift something heavy. I’ve felt a deep yearning to learn something new, something completely un-related to comedy and theatre. I’ve opted for swimming lessons. Honestly guys, it’s a thrill. Clocking more and more laps every time I go, building up to the tumble turns at the end of the lanes, stinking of chlorine for the rest of the day. It’s also a deeply humbling experience arriving at the pool (in a very unflattering speedo and swim cap combo) to meet your instructor for the first time and kindly asking ‘will you please teach me how to swim” But to break down that wall is exhilarating. When I started I could only swim 100m, now I swim 1.2km - three times a week.
Provocation: Is there some skill, instrument, sport, language, cuisine you’ve been dying to learn? Do you have the financial flexibility at the moment to pay for lessons? Is there a way you can self-teach yourself online? Is there a social group you could join and learn from others?
Left: Mt Albert Aquatic Centre - love the vibe here. Incredible spa facilities, lots of people just go for the spas. Maybe spas could be your new hobby?
Right: Not quite Michael Phelps… but one day.
Here are my favourite things on the internet to make you laugh right now…
Marcia Belsky - Please wait for her bit on 100 tampons.
John Early - 73 Questions – Now I was already a big fan of the normal 73 questions, but John Early is my favourite person in the world and this was like Christmas for me.
Kim Crossman - Jelloshot – I love Kim Crossman and can confirm she is one of the most hard working actors around. So kind, so thoughtful. This video I always return to for quick laugh, I adore that she uploaded it to main. It deserves to be in Te Papa.
Las Culturistas Top 200 Moments in Culture History – A funny successful podcast by two very funny gay men in the USA (Bowen Yang is now on SNL). They’ve got 200 episodes recorded, and to celebrate they composed their list of the top 200 moments in (pop) culture. This list had me screaming with laughter. Litterally so much fun to read. You can check out their Instagram for parts two and three…I can’t be bothered uploading them lol.
Jaboukie Young-White – Jaboukie can do no wrong in my eyes. He is so funny and literally so cool I can’t cope. This set really delivered at the right time pulling me through the end of lockdown vibe. I’ll be forever grateful.
Provocation: Bookmark and screenshot or favourite funny videos so that you can find them with ease and quickly return to them when you need a quick pick me up. xx
It was my friend’s 30th birthday a few weekends ago, he is someone I’ve known for over 15 years now. I could sense the occasion called for a speech, which I had absolutely not prepared for. From my experience at 21st parties and weddings, I knew to keep it short - one joke and end on something earnest. What resulted was me immediately crying to all his friends about how much I loved him. I have always been a crier, I’m surprised people still ask me to do speeches - maybe they want me there for the drama? Anyway, it was an extremely cathartic experience. There are so many relationships in my life I take for granted, I know they are always going to be there for me, and when we hang out, we never bother trying to entertain each other because we can be so comfortable in each other silence. But to find a formal moment in time, to pause, reflect and share how I really feel about him, felt critical. This is very existential of me, but life does feel a little meaningless sometimes, but I find great meaning in my relationships with others. To take time to create a ritual to share and celebrate each other is important. My 30th is coming up and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to celebrate it. But being at my friend’s birthday, and being reminded of the importance of relationships, has given me the confidence to go for it. You bet there is going to be waterworks there too.
Provocation: Drop the L-word with your friends.
Lifelong friends - dudes, tell your dude mates you love them. It isn’t gay. Unless you are in love with them, in which case it is. ☺
Chris Parker was born and raised in Christchurch and is a graduate of Te Kura Toi Whakaari O Aotearoa. An early member of Basement Theatre’s resident improv group, Snort. Alongside New Zealand's hottest comedy talents, the group catapulted Chris' career in comedy and theatre.
Chris' 2018 NZ International Comedy Festival show Camp Binch won the Fred Award for Best Show. The show has toured internationally, and gained five-star reviews and sold out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
He starred in the 2015 Silo Theatre show Hudson & Halls Live! and toured the work right around New Zealand, and finished with a season at the 2020 Sydney Mardi Gras.
His television comedy writing credits include Funny Girls (in which he also performed) and Jono and Ben (as Co-Head Writer) both for THREE. The latter featured his segment 'Chris Out Of Water' which has gained thousands of views online. Chris is also a story-liner and writer for THREE’s original sitcom Golden Boy, which is currently shooting a second series (in which he performs the character Derek Cousins).
Chris co-hosts the podcast-turned-web series The Male Gayz. He also co-writes theatre shows and web series with his co-writer Tom Sainsbury, including the Basement Theatre Christmas Shows Hauraki Horror and The Opening Night Before Christmas.
Chris's current creative highlight was felting a hat during 'Lockdown 2020' and documenting the entire process on his instagram, resulting in the hat being acquired by the Auckland Museum and its official portrait acquired by Te Papa.