The latest forecast for our most beloved weather presenter? Cloudy with a chance of cheese rolls.
It’s been four years since Jim Hickey left our screens, leaving a cavernous cumburger-shaped hole in hearts. Sure, Dan the Weatherman is 100% a living icon and has well and truly run with the catchphrase gauntlet. But it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes I gasp awake at night, wondering what happened to the rap god they called Jim. Yesterday, absent-mindedly drooling my way through my usual beauty Youtube wormhole of hell, I found the answer.
Sally Jo Hickey is an incredibly successful New Zealand beauty guru and influencer from New Plymouth. She is good mates with Shaaanxo, loves holding bottles of perfume and does a hell of a White Walker face. She’s also, perhaps most crucially, the spawn of Jim himself. Two weeks ago she uploaded MUKBANG with my DAD (Famous TV Presenter)! and my heart was warmed to see the big man upstairs (weather = God, right?) back on our screens.
Now, if you don’t know what a Mukbang is, I suggest you carve out a solid two hour chunk of time and get acquainted. Originating in Korea, it’s a style of video where the host eats a large amount of food while chatting about whatever they feel like. Rose Matafeo made one for The Spinoff TV, so start with that and then head to top-rated Mukbanger Stephanie Soo before sploshing in the jewel-encrusted Starbucks cup of whatever on Earth Trisha Paytas is.
Jumping on the bandwagon, Sally Jo sat down with her very famous Dad and a plethora of cabinet food from Airspresso, his aviation-themed café franchise (rivalled only by Matthew Ridge’s Carfé in the race to be the most famous person with the most novel idea for a business).
Before we get to the food on offer, it’s extremely important to note that they are sitting in a luxurious air hangar for some reason. In the background, a small plane. In the foreground, a potato bake, a cheese roll, a filled croissant, a “ubiquitous” carrot cake and a filled chicken, brie and pesto bap. It’s the 90s baby!
“Just as well we’re hungry!” booms Jim, in that brown-note baritone of yonder year. I feel like I am six years old again. The pair tuck into their café fare while Sally Jo grills him with questions like a delicious brie and cranberry panini. Here are my key learnings from her interrogation.
Jim Hickey has many favourite newsreaders
After reliving his emotional walk through the TVNZ halls after his last episode, Sally Jo asks Jim who his favourite newsreader was. “Wendy Petrie, because she’s a friend. Peter Williams is a very, very good news anchor. The late Greg Boyed… I thought he was exemplary.” Not one to shy away from controversy, Jim also adds Mike McRoberts to his hall of fame. “Dad’s spilling the tea,” interrupts Sally Jo, the camera crash zooming onto her face in unmistakable vlog style.
Jim Hickey is a ripped freak
Jim Hickey adores to laugh
The only thing Hickey loves more than planes and paninis these days is laughing. “I love to laugh at crazy stuff,” he explains. “If I find something funny and the person next to me doesn’t laugh, I laugh all the more.” He goes on to detail an experience watching Forrest Gump in the theatre (the first of three times) and laughing hysterically at the famous boat crash scene. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” he tells Sally, “I laughed for five minutes straight and I was almost physically removed from the theatre.”
Jim Hickey also loves big boys toys
“This is the toy shop,” he says, gesturing around his hangar kingdom. Within minutes, Hickey is re-enacting the intro to MTV Cribs with his many many rides. “That’s my truck, that’s my Chevy Camaro, that’s my baby tractor.” In possibly the least relatable thing to ever be uttered from Hickey’s lips, he laments not owning his own plane anymore. “I used to fly around everywhere, now I’ve got my friend’s plane.”
Now that he’s not in the weather game, there’s plenty of time for hobbies alongside tending to his fleet of vehicles. “Mountain biking, a bit of swimming, I annoy people and I drink a lot of coffee.” If that’s not enough, he continues to help out with church groups and his numerous café managers in Airspresso franchises across the country.
Jim Hickey gives great advice
“The biggest regrets in life are the risks you never took,” says Jim, taking a hearty bite out of a cheese roll. “Have passion. Have vision. Start formulating a plan of attack.” Put the man on a TedX stage and have at it, I was bloody welling up at him reflecting on his early days as a teacher, completely unaware that in a few short years he would be in the nation’s living rooms every night.
But perhaps the most inspiring of all was this tidbit that he offered over a piece of carrot cake. “I can tell you this: if it’s lousy, it will come right.” Sure, he was talking about the weather on Christmas Day but it applies to basically everything.
Jim Hickey does not know the lyrics to ‘Winter Wonderland’
“Snowbells ring, are you listening?
In the snow, pearls are glistening
We’re happy tonight
Do do do do do
Singing in a winter wonderland”
Jim Hickey also doesn’t know his lollies from his elbow
If Jim Hickey could choose a favourite New Zealand lolly, it would have to be a Jet Plane – and not just because they sell them at Airspresso café. If you thought his Christmas lyric recall was bad, check out this botched sweetie rolodex. “The don’t sell Minties anymore, do they? [They do]. “What’s the one we lost? We lost Snickers [Snifters?] and we lost another one… Jaffas [What?]”
Luckily, Sally Jo knows her way around a dairy counter. “We’ve still got those.” Hickey, never one to pass up a moment on positivity, grins at her and then looks at the camera.
“This is a good day.”
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.