My first job was:
Cinema attendant at Hoyts Lower Hutt.
It taught me: How to rock a sparkly bow tie and matching waistcoat.
My big break came: When the NZ Herald SnapChat came calling.
The last job I quit was: Stage building in London. I really loved that job. I think quite a few performers and writers enjoy jobs where they can work with their hands, 'cause you spend so much time in your own head. But I needed to come back to NZ . . . I'm really happy to go back to building stages when this whole comedy thing goes south.
The most famous person I've ever met is: I guess it depends. Building stages in London, you meet a few. The most world famous? Maybe Will.I.am. But the coolest was Leonard Cohen. I have to say that in retrospect . . . because I didn't know who he was.
He was: Proper class because he shook all the crews' hands after the Royal Albert Hall gig and thanked us for working for him. As genuine as any Leonard Cohen fan reading this would hope.
The best time I've had on set/stage was: In Guam, at their university hall, with a 90 per cent Pacific audience and the kind of rare freedom that allowed.
But the worst was: This one's a bit infamous, but dying on my ass dreadfully in front of 5000 people late on a Friday night before Herbs came on. Thankfully it was a Herbs gig, so there were a few ways for me to quickly forget the gig and feel better.
My dream role would be: Some sort of interview show where I get to chill out in relaxing clothes and eat fried chicken with cool people.
James Nokise just won the FRED Award for Best NZ Show at the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival, and is the host of RNZ's Eating Fried Chicken In The Shower.