The comedian and co-creator of Three’s new sitcom Double Parked spills on the Jono and Ben hot tub, the pioneering genius of Food in a Minute and more.
First arriving on our screens on Jono and Ben, Chris Parker has basically been a mainstay on New Zealand comedy shows ever since he sank piss with the lads in ‘Chris Out of Water’. You’ve probably seen him on Funny Girls, 7 Days, Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont Spelling Bee, Have You Been Paying Attention and Taskmaster NZ, but it was his underdog triumph on Celebrity Treasure Island in 2021 that cemented Chris Parker in our television hall of fame.
Since then he’s written a book, felted his way into Te Papa, recorded a comedy special at his old high school and made a documentary series demystifying pornography for The Spinoff. The latest credit to his name is co-creator of the new Three sitcom Double Parked, which he wrote with comedian and longtime collaborator Alice Snedden. Given this extensive list of television accolades, we asked Chris to open up about his own favourite TV moments and memories.
My earliest TV memory is… The Colgate Saturday Night Feature was a real event. In hindsight, very tenuous branding for a movie night by a toothpaste company, nothing like hunkering down with your family and watching a wholesome movie together to get you really craving some Colgate Triple Action. Nevertheless, grateful for the memories, thanks Colgate.
The TV show I used to rush home from school to watch was… Having a younger sister meant she had priority when it came to after-school viewing. So I was watching a lot of OG Sticky TV, and wasn’t there a brief period too where Antonia Prebble (star of upcoming series Double Parked) hosted WNTV? Maybe it’s why I thought she was perfect for Double Parked, she’s been floating around my subconscious since 2001.
The TV moment that haunts me the most is… I think a lot about when we tried ending Jono and Ben with the Jokeuzzi, which was a spa pool that all the writers would get in and tell a joke at the end of the show. It was when the show was in its “live” era, and I vividly remember all our writers and Jono and Ben being in the Jokeuzzi and then Jono Pryor having to say down the camera: “That’s the show tonight, stay watching TV, up next is Dwayne Johnson in Hercules”.
My earliest TV crush was… As a kid I was obsessed with Holly from McDonald’s Young Entertainers, but looking back now, knowing what I know about myself (I am married to a man) it was probably a talent crush. Because she was a star. So with that in mind, my crush would then have to be Drew Ne’emia (Young Entertainers era), bearing in mind that I too was young when said repressed crush was formed.
The TV ad I can’t stop thinking about is… Allyson Gofton Food in a Minute. It was essentially a TV show inside of an ad, genius. Also maybe the first example of short-form content? She was keeping Reel, before Reels were a glint in Zuckerberg’s eye.
My TV guilty pleasure is… I don’t harbour shame when it comes to my TV viewing, but I’m sure people would be alarmed by how much joy and comfort I gain from watching the Kardashians.
My favourite TV moment of all time is… “The Wickedly Talented Adele Dazeem”
My favourite TV character of all time is… Jenna Maroney from 30 Rock, the funniest character in what was the funniest sitcom for me. I strive to have a career as volatile as hers.
The most stylish person on TV is… Carmen Sandiego. I don’t know anyone else who can pull off a hat and coat at the same time like that. And in red! Icon.
My most used streaming platform is… The flawless ThreeNow app.
My favourite TV project I’ve ever been involved in is… Double Parked. Easily the most creatively challenging and fulfilling. We had such a brilliant crew and some of the great TV stars in the country working on it. It was a pleasure to turn up to work each day, and the result is something I’m so earnestly proud of.
The TV show that defined my lockdown was… Celebrity Treasure Island. I could write a book on my experience being on a reality show which played during a pandemic and brought audiences back to free to air TV for a few months. And that book would be a self help book.
The TV show I wish I wrote/directed/starred in is… White Lotus. Such a boring answer. But it’s one of my all-time favourite shows. I love how deeply it looks at our despicable behaviour as humans.
My most-watched TV show of all time is… I’m not much of re-watcher. But I would say it’s an arm wrestle between 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation.
My controversial TV take is… They should have equal time for arts coverage as they do sports coverage in the news.
A show I will never watch, no matter how many people say I should, is… Honestly The Sopranos or The Wire. Not because I don’t think they will be amazing, but there is so much good stuff now I’m still trying to keep up.
The last thing I watched on TV was… Fleishman is in Trouble. Kind of a confronting watch for newlyweds. But honestly, me and my husband would wax lyrical after every episode about how good the writing was.
Double Parked airs Thursdays 8.30pm on Three and is available to stream on ThreeNow.