By LOUISA CLEAVE
Can you please come to TVNZ and pick up Mikey Havoc and Newsboy for their interview, the publicist asks. The boys aren't too good at directions, apparently, and there is a danger they may not make it to the photo studio across town.
Interesting, then, that they managed to spend two months "caning" their Nissan four-wheel-drive around the lower North Island and South Island and made it back to Auckland.
The result of that adventure is Havoc and Newsboy's Sell-Out Tour 2: The Ratings Drive (TV2, Tuesday, 9.30 pm).
We hang around TVNZ for no apparent reason other than that they don't feel like leaving yet.
When the pair finally motivate themselves into the car Havoc sits in the front seat and Jeremy "News" Wells in the back, where no doubt many a Kiwi gal would love to join him.
A foul mood hangs in the air — the result of some mysterious television-type business dealings — and cellphones are pressed to their ears.
Havoc apologises and says they are usually much more fun.
At the studio, he perks up when the muffins are produced and devours one before getting down to the business of a photo shoot.
The pair run the show as they suggest set-ups and reject ideas.
Havoc flips down his shades and pretends to be blind. They would like to do the school photo shot with legs together and hands folded on laps. A cuddle is not out of the question.
It has been about four months since the tour was filmed and Havoc and News must probe the depths of their memories for those anecdotes which will lure the fans back for a second ride.
"We were both really, really proud of the last series, to show those things to people," says Havoc.
"We're incredibly flattered by the number of people who watched it last time ... and basically what happened was we went out and had a really good time, travelled around, had a great summer, got paid for it and people liked it. So why not do it again."
But they discovered a problem.
Havoc: "We were caught out. So many people in New Zealand know who we are, which is flattering ...
News: "But when you are doing something like that, for us it's best to be anonymous. When you're anonymous it gives you a lot of power. When you go in to [a town] someone either goes, 'Oh yes, Havoc and Newsboy ..."'
Havoc: "And they get into their 'I might be on Havoc' persona. Within 10 minutes people start appearing out of the woodwork. It's really nice to know that so many people around the country like what we do, because what we do is incredibly honest. We tell a lot of lies but our drive is honest."
They do that a lot, finish sentences for each other. It's a sign of their enduring friendship and, even when pressed for one, they do not have a bad word to say about each other.
Havoc on News: "He's my best friend and he's really, really good at making telly. I think he's very funny. I think he's very even-tempered. To be quite honest, his fitness suffers and when he's not even-tempered is when he is
beaten at sports, be that a friendly game of cricket or who can hit that can over there."
News on Havoc: "I think he's the funniest person I've ever met, without a doubt, and good to be around all the time. He's very good with the nuts and bolts things, like money. There aren't really any cons. I worry about cancer, that's always a big problem because of mobile phones."
Havoc experiences a rush to his head and reels off some of the things we will see on the second tour.
"We went to visit the Prime Minister at her office.
"We went to Cape Palliser and took a look around there for a while.
"I held a tuatara. It was very cold, not too dissimilar to holding a snake.
"We were going to go to White Island, but we didn't, so we had to make up for that by getting two carloads of school kids who were wagging to pretend to be on White Island.
"We visited National MP Tony Ryall. He's a good old stick."
And despite a warning from the Mayor of Gore, Mary Ogg, Havoc and News said they returned to the town that in the last series they proclaimed the "Gay Capital of New Zealand."
Their arrival in the south prompted mayor Ogg to issue a warning in a local paper: "God help them if I ever see them again. If they come back they will be brandished with barbed wire and run out of town by our ageing population."
Havoc makes no apologies for the Gore episode.
"That's the way things go and we make up stuff about a lot of places and it's interesting to see the way some people react."
News: "We could go around and say, 'This is the biggest, largest city in New Zealand' and who could be bothered with that?"
Havoc: "Our primary objective is to do stuff that is really cool, that we love, that is no work for us. But it's more vital to entertain people who watch our show.
"The type of people who watch our show, 99 per cent of the time, are really cool."
By LOUISA CLEAVE