When Woman’s Day talks to Chris Parker over Zoom, he’s just got back from his regular morning walk with his Celebrity Treasure Island co-star Brynley Stent and is sitting in the exact same spot we last interviewed him in – in the sun-filled office of his Auckland flat. “Except the art’s on the floor and I’m on the floor!” he laughs.
The comedian, 32, and his designer husband Micheal McCabe, 29, are packing up their furniture and moving out to go on a globetrotting honeymoon. Once he finishes the final dates of his Lots Of Love tour in Palmerston North and New Plymouth this week, Parker will meet his hubby for a “very romantic” reunion in Paris, before they then jet off to Spain and Japan.
“We don’t have kids and don’t have a dog, so we can be flexible,” says Parker, adding that they don’t have any plans for where they’ll live on their return. “This is probably the last time in our lives where we can be like, ‘Can we come crash on your couch?’”
And, no, before you ask, children aren’t on the horizon for the couple, who married at Auckland’s Hollywood Cinema last October. Chris laughs, “Kids don’t seem to be in our future. We foster really strong relationships with our friends’ kids and hopefully, when we’re old, they’ll drop us groceries when we’re on the 19th floor of some apartment building and can’t get down the stairs. Ideally, a dog is in our future.”
It’s interesting, given the subject of Parker’s new comedy show Double Parked, which he co-created and wrote. Starring Antonia Prebble and Madeleine Sami, it’s about a lesbian couple who accidentally both get pregnant at the same time.
Parker acknowledges it’s ironic that he’s come up with a sitcom about starting a family given “my stance has always been that I don’t want kids”. He adds, “I used to joke that I’d rather have a designer couch, but as I’ve got older, I’ve softened. I’m very paternal.”
Parker brought in writers and advisers who had children, explaining, “I really felt the responsibility of representing parenthood accurately and respectfully. Everyone’s journey to creating a family is so different.”
Although Double Parked is his first time being in charge behind the scenes, Parker couldn’t escape the call to be on screen – he also plays a gay hairdresser called Ricky.
“It’s a very small role,” he insists, “but when I saw what it was, I was like, ‘Is that me? I’ll do that one!’”
Keeping with the family theme, Parker’s sister Liv, 27, was the show’s wardrobe assistant and also plays the role of an underpaid, overworked shop assistant at a baby clothing sale.
“It was so nice to have me old mate there,” he reminisces. “We’d drive into work together and wait for each other. It’s a family show, so to have family working together behind the scenes reinforced that whole idea of family.”
Sadly, Parker couldn’t afford to have his cousin Gabby Anderson, a Billy T nominee, flown up from Wellington for filming, but the cast features some strong female comedic talent, including Shortland Street stars Kura Forrester and Annie Whittle, plus Aussie funnywoman Julia Morris.
In Double Parked, Antonia and Madeleine’s characters still flat with their friends. Parker says, “People might ask, ‘Why would they bring kids into a flat?’ But that’s the world my friends live in. I got married while living in this flat. I didn’t think life was going to play out this way, but that’s the way it works – you don’t need to be blood relatives to be family.”
When asked about the importance of telling queer stories, Parker says, “I just wrote what I’m close to. It reflects the world I live in. These are characters who I know, who talk the way my friends talk, who go through what my friends go through, although it’s obviously dialled up a bit.
“Micheal and I don’t wake up and go, ‘Another gorgeous day representing gay men in this world!’ We just live our lives. It’s exciting to get to that point with storytelling in this country. There are obviously things in there that are specific to people in same-sex relationships, but the characters are never like, ‘We’re gay! Wow!’”
Double Parked was conceived a while back. “It took a little more than nine months to cook up this baby!” jokes Parker. He’s nervous but excited for Kiwis to meet his characters and “fall in love with their world”.
Parker acknowledges that it’s been a stressful time, but luckily that honeymoon is right around the corner.
He smiles, “I’m just riding this raft, paddling my way through, and I’m looking forward to being on the other end of it. I’m so proud of myself. Once I close this chapter, I can’t wait to have a bit of me-and-Micheal time.”
Double Parked premieres 8.30pm Thursday on Three.