When he first came into my life, he was wondrously socially awkward. He had neck tattoos. He was a vampire called Nick. And he was kind of perfect.
Actually, though, he was comedian Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, and he was just pretending to be a vampire called Nick in that sort of unexpectedly (but not really that surprisingly) smash-hit mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. The film, which is about a bunch of vampires who flat together in Wellington, was the result of a bunch of mates getting together in Wellington. Initially, they were just going to make a short film but, when they got asked to turn it into a feature, they simply kept the same characters and proceeded accordingly . . . and ended up premiering it at Sundance in 2014.
Gonzalez-Macuer admits that, when playing vampire Nick, he was basically just playing himself. So it’s true: he is, in real life, essentially the same awkward guy from the movie. The same awkward guy I may or may not have, at one time, had a slightly awkward crush on. Well, not so much a crush, but definitely a professional admiration for his droll, deadpan approach to comedy, which seems to be kind of just the way he is. He mumbles a bit.
He tells me he was from Chile but left when he was six, and grew up from then on in Wellington. As we’re chatting, he feeds his nine-month-old and very cute daughter, Freddie, some homemade spinach-and-broccoli puree. In his Twitter bio he describes himself as a ‘cool dad’, but he says the things he finds funny about fatherhood and his own kid are probably things that others won’t think are that interesting (so, like most parents, then). He does note, though, that he got a really deep tan over summer and, since Freddie is very pale and very blonde, people kept assuming he’d kidnapped her.
Despite his success with What We Do in the Shadows, he doesn’t actually think of himself as an actor. He’s a comedian first and foremost, and he’ll be bringing his signature social discomfort to our stages come Comedy Festival time. His show in this year’s International Comedy Festival – the sixth or seventh he’s performed in – is called ‘Awesome, Nah Bro’, and he tells me it’s basically about everything he hates. ‘I was going to do it based on one single thing, but then I was like, there’s so many of them. So it’s pretty much everything. Mainly just about how I hate people. And The Bachelor.’
Not just The Bachelor, either, but reality TV in general, New Zealand’s so-called ‘socialites’, John Key, and inspirational quotes. Is there a favourite worst inspo-quote he can think of? ‘The most popular one [that I hate] is that Marilyn Monroe one: “If you can’t stand me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Something like that. Ugh. God.’
I tell him mine is ‘Live, laugh, love’.
‘I was just about to say that!’ he chimes in, probably the most animated I’ve ever seen him. ‘It’s all just such easy material,’ he says of the topics on his hit list. (Did I mention cheesy stuff written on ugly surfaces for sale in gift shops was on there too? It is.) And, while many, many people would be terrified at the thought of doing stand-up, Gonzalez-Macuer thinks comedians are lucky to be given a platform from which to complain.
We find common ground talking about food. He loves cooking, and loves eating out. He’ll make every component of a meal, and loves doing things from scratch – Mexican food included. He asks me if I get free food with my job, which I confess I do. ‘That’s so cool,’ he says, so I tell him he should start a food blog. I’m sure he would absolutely nail it, with signature mumbly awkwardness and humour.
by Delaney Mes
See Cori Gonzalez-Mcuer at The Basement in Awesome? Nah, Bro. Get tickets here >>
This is a sneak peek from our upcoming autumn issue of The Seasonal, out next week. Keep an eye out for it in Mag Nation and online.