Rhys Darby

Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Move over Paul Blart, a Kiwi mall guy's in store

Add a comment
You can lose yourself for three days in giant city-within-a-city

The sprawling Mall of America includes 350 stores - and a roller coaster!
The sprawling Mall of America includes 350 stores - and a roller coaster!

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a mall guy. I used to sing about it back in the mid-90s when I was in the comedy duo Rhysently Granted.

"I'm a mall guy!" I would bellow down the mic. "He knows just what to do!" Grant would sing on back. "I'm a mall guy!" ... "He's got the trendy shoe!"

So you can imagine my excitement last week when I arrived at the Mall of America (MoA) in Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Malls don't get much bigger than this - at 452,000sq m, it's big enough to fit seven Yankee stadiums inside. It's the most-visited shopping mall in the world with over 40 million folks passing through its automatic doors each year.

There are more than 350 stores spread over three levels, plus on the east side a bonus level that houses a 14-screen movie theatre and The House of Comedy, the club in which I was booked to perform.

The Mall of America is effectively its own little city. It even comes with its own police force. They're quite famous, you know - they even had their own TV show back in 2010 called Mall Cops: Mall of America.

Oh, and there's that movie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Did you ever get around to seeing that one? As fate would have it, I actually auditioned for a role in that movie but yeah, nah ... as fate would also have it, I didn't get the part.

I will say this, though. Despite all the flak these security guards get for walking around dressed like Richard Gere from An Officer and a Gentleman, they really do make you feel secure.

I was stuck in Bloomington for a while so, with the temperature outside below zero, I decided to conduct a social experiment.

I chose to remain inside the mall for three days. Amazing, huh? I should point out that there is a hotel in the mall, so I was a bit comfortable - no bench sleeping required. Anyway, I survived.

It actually made me think, perhaps these giant shopping mall complexes have been designed by the Government to get us citizens used to living in manufactured habitual zones or "life domes".

It feels like they're readying us for either the zombie apocalypse or a trip to Mars.

Either way I'm now fully trained and ready to go. If there's a green light on the Mars option then I guess I'll be the cruise ship entertainment.

In which case ... boy, do I have stiff competition. You see I forgot to mention what was happening in the centre of this giant MoA ... a little establishment called the Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor theme park in the United States.

Among its many attractions I found three roller-coasters, a log flume and my favourite - Moose Mountain Mini Golf.

So now you can see how I managed to survive. A lot of the money I made performing in the club went straight back into watching creepy animatronic lumberjacks.

Still, that's what it takes to be a mall guy.

"He knows just what to do!" Yes, Grant, I do.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 11 Jul 2014 03:44:20 Processing Time: 491ms