We’ve been a fan of Jamie Bowen ever since we saw him explain life as a series of boxes at the 2014 Comedy Gala. He’s been nominated for the prestigious Fred Award, the NZICF‘s highest honour, in 2014 and 2015, but aside from that he’s just your average guy… who just happens to talk about his existential dilemmas live on stage for a living.
I’m a comedian but I’m also a… human person just like every other human person on this planet. There’s nothing special about me.
My day usually begins with an ongoing raging battle with insomnia, and ends with… fear of how my ongoing raging battle with insomnia is going to play out that night. Will it be 4 hours sleep? Or 2? Or none? Oh, such fun!
Name your three favourite places in Auckland to eat, drink and play
Burger Burger – I have a spiritual connection with a burgers and theirs are so delicious. Also they serve Lion Red longnecks. Seriously, revisit that beer on a hot day. It really holds up!
Drinks-wise, I love my local watering hole which is Gypsy Tearooms. Peroni on tap, free nuts and a 1.5 minute stumble home.
Play time is always at the Classic on Queen St. I’ve grown up in that place. 17 and counting. If you haven’t been to a show there, go. We’re lucky to have a full time comedy club in Auckland.
Tell us something we’d be surprised to know about you.
I love houseplants. We have about 20 of them, from tiny little cacti all the way up to our Fiddle Leaf Fig. We’re so proud of him. He’s put on 3 feet of height in only 6 months. They grow up so fast!
Pick a book and a park you’d like to read it in, anywhere in the world.
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. As for the park? Giardino Ibleo in Ragusa, Sicily. It’s an amazing town and the park is gorgeous. My partner and I fell in love with the place when we were there.
Tell us a little bit about It Goes On, your show in the NZICF this year.
It’s the conclusion to an unintended trilogy. It’s really about my experience of the human condition. So, you know, nothing major.
How did you get into comedy, and why have you stayed in it?
I got into it with some friends in a sketch trio. We called ourselves Gary, and we had a ball. When they felt like it was time for them to do some other stuff, I started doing stand-up because I was hooked. I love being on stage. I also love free beer. So I came for the lols and stayed for the beer.
Tell us three things and/or people who have influenced your style.
Daniel Kitson is my favourite story teller. He doesn’t play here much but if he does, you should go. It’s always something fascinating.
My Grandfather was one of the funniest men I’ve ever met. His sense of mischief was something to behold. He definitely planted the seed for being a goofball.
Scott Blanks who owns the Classic. Without him, there’d be no comedy ‘industry’ in New Zealand and the stage-time, advice and support he’s given to everyone is amazing. Someone should Knight the guy. Is that how you say it? Knight him? Get him Knighted? Knight the shit out of him? I don’t know.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the NZICF this year?
The locals this year are the ones for me. Guy Montgomery, Matt Stellingwerf, Paul Douglas, Rhys Mathewson, David Correos, The Fan Brigade… The list goes on. Everyone’s on great form. God, I hope I am too.
If everyone in the world had a theme song that played when they walked into a room, what would yours be and why?
I tried to answer this, but I just felt anxious about the fact that I’d always be ‘announced’ as I walked in to a social situation and that goes against every bone in my mysterious lone-wolf body. Despite what I do for a job, I hate making a scene. Just play something chill and I’ll slide in without anyone noticing. Cheers.
JAMIE BOWEN performs his show IT GOES ON in Auckland April 23-30 at the Basement Theatre, and in Wellington May 10-14 at The Dome at BATS, as part of the 2016 NZ International Comedy Festival.
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For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz