Comedian Joe Daymond tells FIRST about a resemblance that can’t be unseen, honing his comedy craft at tangi and more.
“I’ve had two really prominent nicknames in my life. When I was a little kid it was Joe Fish, because obviously my full name’s Joseph. Which I hated as a kid. And then my nickname in high school was 50 Cent. Because yeah, apparently I look like 50 Cent. And I hate saying it, because every single person’s response is ‘oh wow, I didn’t see it at first but now I see it’.”
First celebrity idol
“Remember Jay Laga’aia? He was on Water Rats or something, right? So [when I was a kid] my next door neighbour was John McDonald, who was like the big boss at MediaWorks, and they used to always film at [his] house. I saw Jay filming something there once and he looked like The Rock, and so I thought for ages that Jay was The Rock. And so I’d tell my mates like, ‘Yo, The Rock was at my neighbour’s house.’ So in a weird way, my first idol was Jay Laga’aia, who I thought was The Rock.”
First thing you bought with your own money
“I used to collect these little magazines called K-Zones back in the day. They had everything: little pranks, little jokes, tips on how to talk to girls, which I definitely didn’t need at 10. I remember there was a competition to win A Series of Unfortunate Events on DVD, which was my favourite book growing up. You had to send in an envelope [to enter], so I just sent them like 30 or maybe even 40 envelopes. I realised that by the end I was spending more money on the postage than the DVD actually cost. But I won the competition, so…”
First time you realised you were funny
“So in te ao Māori we obviously have tangi, and a big part of any tangi is the night before the burial [when] everybody gets around at the marae and we all basically talk about the person who’s passed away. When I was young I caught wind really early that people would get up and talk who didn’t even know the person. Because it’s kind of a chance to show everybody what you’ve got going for you. So I’d go up and talk about my day and stuff. And people would just crack up. So yeah, that was kind of the first time I realised I could make people laugh. It’s weird when you think, yeah, a lot of people had to die for me to practise.”
First time you bombed on stage
“I was like four or five gigs into stand-up, and usually when you start out you probably only have 30 seconds of good jokes. There’s a standup comedy group where people post gigs that they need someone for, and they were like, ‘We need a comedian to do 15 minutes at SkyCity’. And I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I want to go do SkyCity.’ I didn’t realise it wasn’t in the theatre, it was on the casino floor. There’s like a little bit where people go and eat if they haven’t eaten or if they’ve lost all of their money, and so they thought it was a good idea to put a comedy show in this area. Still to this day probably the worst gig of my life. The crack-up thing about it was I told my mum I was performing at SkyCity, and so she went and told all her mates that I was performing at SkyCity Theatre. She didn’t know I was performing next to the pokies.”
Interview edited for length and clarity.
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