My first job was ...
a paper run. It sucked. I was paid $6 to get up at 4.30am in the dead coldsleet of winter to ride my bike around, ramming paper into my neighbour's boxes.
It taught me … my dad was big on live lessons. He said, "It's a lesson in what it means to work." But it has backfired in the most wonderful way. I am now a satirist silly-bugger with a career in posturing and stupidity.
My big break came … at the age of 23 in the sparkling moment I decided to write some comedy with my friend Jason Hoyte, to call ourselves "Sugar & Spice" and perform to crowds of drunk students. Whether it was successful or not is beside the point. "Fake it 'til you make it" is what my dad should have taught me, but how could he, he was a wool exporter (RIP).
The last job I quit was … I was the dishwasher at a restaurant called Death By Chocolate. When the owner came in to meet me he asked if I was hungry (I was always hungry). He proudly presented a piece of Death By Chocolate cake. You know those fake plastic meals one sees in the windows of sushi restaurants? Imagine if they were somehow edible - it was like that! But this is not what made me quit. It was the constant discovery of sharp knives in the bottom of the hot dishwater.
The most famous person I've ever met is … The Queen. When I was 10 I was picked at random to stand in a crowd of other 10-year-olds and wave at the Queen. It was fun to be out of school. She had a nice car and a regal dress befitting her age. I had invested in a bunch of flowers somehow. Her car chugged past a long way from us kids so I was forced to throw the flowers to her. It would have looked more like AT her. They fell well short, landing on the grass in bittersweet slow motion as the car chugged past, another 30m away.
She was … I'm growing impatient with this "Kiwism" of judging if a person is a nice person or not automatically. We are all generally a bit of both a small amount of the time. I imagine the Queen was jetlagged and had an over-use strain in her wrist from waving, both of which would lend themselves towards feeling "awful". I imagine she was doing her best to be nice. Did she have a nice dress? Not to a 10-year-old. Did she have a nice car? Yes. I certainly hope she wasn't judging me. What if she was? OMG! She would be right to judge my throwing skills, I grew into a nuggety little cricketer, then older, into a sore, slow one.
The best time I've had on stage/set was … My fondest memory of live performance would have to be during a live show I toured internationally with Jackie van Beek in 2006 called My Brother And I are Pornstars. We sometimes performed to small houses of 10-20 people. Some would walk out after 10 minutes, leaving us a bit crestfallen and scrambling for "don't leave" jokes. A talent scout saw our show and told his boss - who came the next night. We found ourselves drinking champagne with the owners of Granada TV late into the afternoon. That evening's show was filled with confidence, if a little floppy. The part of the show I most liked was having a penis puppet who sang I Did It My Way. It was Lord Baden Powell - founder of the International Scouts Association.
But the worst was … As a young comedian one has to be writing and trying out new material all the time to keep ahead of the game. In hindsight I've written some true bullshit that Kiwi crowds would watch with growing impatience. But I still think it's better to not worry about it on the night. Fear is pointless in the world of comedy. Back your choices.
My dream role would be … to play myself in a mockumentary about being an over-serious comic-actor trying to keep hold of his integrity in a small country where people shout "Hey! you're that guy on Shortland Street!" I'm not.
Jonny Brugh brings his What We Do in the Shadows character back in Deacon, at Garnet Station, February 19-24 as part of Auckland Fringe Festival.