The Comedy Convoy kicks off on May 13, and lucky for Massey students the tour is hitting Palmerston North (May 25) and Auckland (May 26). This two-hour comedy showcase brings a selection of the Festival’s best international & local comedy stars direct to your town, and promises to be crammed with laughs. Leader of the pack Ewen “Westie” Gilmour plays host to a stonking line-up of: Guy Williams (Jono & Ben At Ten, 2012 Billy T Winner), Jesse Griffin (7 Days, Golden), Aussie crack-up Fiona O’Loughlin, and the UK’s Chris Martin.
Yvette Morrissey chatted to 2012 Billy T winner Guy Williams about his obsession with Sonny Bill Williams, his dream to manage the NZ X Factor group Moorhouse, and how to be a full-time GC.
So I hear you’re travelling around NZ in a convoy with a few other comedians?
What do you mean by in a convoy? We’re not going to be in a limo or anything, just in a van. I think they call it a convoy for alliteration purposes. But if you want to take a creative licence and say that we’re all going to be travelling in a row of black limos, I won’t tell anyone.
What I was imagining was a bus that was refurbished into a caravan type situation…
You’re thinking of the Spice Girls bus from Spiceworld.
I wish it were like that, that’d be funny. And each person would have their own room…like mine would be plastered with Sonny Bill Williams stickers and basketball hoops. Ewen Gilmore would have a whole lot of V8 posters on the wall and a driving simulator, and Chris Martin would have a Coldplay shrine…
Speaking of Sonny Bill Williams, you seem to have an obsession with him…
People think I really love him- I don’t know anything about him. I started going to his press conferences because they were close to Auckland, and then I kept bumping into him. He’s the least retarded of the All Blacks. He has the best personality of the rugby players.
Why is that?
Rugby players are notoriously wooden, and Sonny Bill is a lovely, charismatic, funny dude. Ritchie McCaw is a great captain but a very boring person to interview. I was interviewing James McOnie from The Crowd Goes Wild and Sonny Bill came and got me in a chokehold and dragged me out the door, and he made the segment. I feel like I have a personal bond with him now because I’ve stalked him out [Guy followed Sonny Bill to Japan].
So do you have a poster of him in your room?
No! [laughs]My friend, a journalist, interviewed him recently, and next to my bed I’ve got a copy of North and South which has a topless cover of Sonny Bill Williams. It’s not really a great look!
Are you looking forward to bringing the Comedy Convoy to Palmerston North?
Last year myself and Rose [Guy’s girlfriend and fellow comedian] did a show in Palmy and it was one of our favourite places to visit! Palmy people are young and often university-educated, and it’s fun to play to crowds like that. We genuinely loved it.
So you guys are going to pretty up close and personal in the convoy?
I’m very loud and talkative, which is a classic comedian stereotype, and it’s going to be awkward for the poor lady who drives the van because we probably won’t shut up. Especially bloody Ewen Gilmore.
Are you worried about personal hygiene?
[laughs] I wasn’t, but now that you’ve mentioned it I probably should be! I’m a germaphobe so it could be a problem.
You started out as Dai Henwood’s protégé on television.
That was my first opportunity and I was really lucky. Not only did I get an Xbox and a scooter, I also met the producers of Jono’s show [The Jono Project] and got a job out of it.
You would’ve learned quite a bit from Dai?
I was really, really nervous about doing my first show. He asked me what I was worried about, and I said I was worried about messing up my lines or not getting the punchline right and looking like an idiot. He said “if you trip over and smash your head and it all falls apart- you would make that work”. In other words, turn a negative into a gag.
You’ve been tweeting a lot about NZ X Factor recently…
I’ve been involved with the show quite a bit. I was very critical of New Zealand’s Got Talent, so I think they got me involved to shut me up [laughs].
You seem to be a little obsessed with one of the groups on the show, Moorhouse.
I loved Moorhouse from the first time I saw them. I think they’re a boyband…but with talent. I think we should get behind them because they’re better than that One Direction crap. I tweeted they should change their name to Tahi Direction.
You should get in there and manage them!
It’s been well known that for a long time I’ve been trying to get a sweet job as somebody’s band manager and promoter…and I asked this guy that sung Boys Don’t Cry to be his manager, and he didn’t take me very seriously. But Moorhouse could be my opportunity. I’d be a pretty terrible band manager actually…
How did you know you wanted to be a comdian?
My Mum owned basically three CD’s…Elton John, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Jerry Seinfeld’s I’m Telling You for the Last Time. She played Seinfeld, over and over, in the car for like three years. So maybe that’s it. But when I moved to Wellington [for uni] I went to a comedy club to support a friends brother- he was pretty terrible- but I kept going and they advertised an amatuer night so I gave it a go. I tried to follow in the footsteps of Steve Wrigley and Flight of the Conchords. Once you get the first laugh it’s like a drug. I was lucky I was good at it because I’m shit at everything else.
I heard you were good at basketball?
I was quite good. I’m tall…and I’ve got a theory that the only reason the coach kept me on was because he knew I would ace the drug test. I think I got more drugs tests than minutes I spent on the court.
Who’s your fave comedian?
Dai would probably be my fave, and Jesse Griffin. He’s doing the Comedy Convoy as well. Big Rhys Darby fan as well, and Flight of the Conchords.
One of our readers would like some advice on how to be a full time good cunt, do you have any tips for him?
[laughs] I appreciate that! My advice is ‘life’s a joke, feel the vibes’ and if you don’t take anything seriously you’re going to have a good time and be a GC.
For ticket information, visit comedyfestival.co.nz