Billy T Nominee // David Correos

David Correos is a fascinating ball of energy. The mind-boggling pace of his thoughts means he speaks incredibly quickly, and his sentences all end with exclamation marks, or great shouts of laughter. David is originally from Christchurch, he moved to Auckland early in 2015 to give comedy a proper go, and his Billy T Award nomination followed pretty quickly after. That’s a fair amount of success for a man who says he fails at everything…

So I watched your Miley Cyrus video about ten minutes ago.

Was it good?

It was hilarious, I couldn’t really hear the sound because I was in a noisy place. I was right up close trying to hear it, and then the bit where you get right up into the screen happened and I was like, woah!

Sorry about that! Oh shit, that would have been awkward if someone was right behind you, they’d be like, “What! Why are you so interested in this man? What is he doing? What are you doing? Weird fetish. Glad-wrapped ethnics. Very weird fetish.”

Tell me three surprise facts about you.

I am Filipino.

I do Olympic weight lifting. I coach Olympic weightlifting.

My parents own a goat. His name’s Pedro, he’s fuckin’, the friendliest goat. He’s so cool. All I do is go up to the gate and call, “mick, mick!” [in high-pitched voice] and he just runs toward me and he’s so happy. He gets over excited and tries to jump on me.

How big is he?

He’s a big ass goat, so I’m standing, he would be looking at me on my height.

That must be quite frightening.

It is, when you’re a small person, it can be intimidating. But he knows who I am.

Those were a great three facts. Not everyone has three facts that are interesting.

I’m a very weird, strange person with crazy stories.

So what’s your style of comedy?

It’s very multimedia, and there are props, and it’s just… crazy. I can’t get everything out using words, I get really excited, so what I’ll do is use a song or something instead, because that builds the vibe that I want, and I’ll show [the audience] something. So my scariest Halloween costume would be a knife strapped to my head, like wrapped around my face so I look all screwed up like a nightmare unicorn. It’s explanation through other means.

So is it quite pre-prepared then?

I pre-prepare quite a bit, but when you’re in the audience you’re like, “we don’t know what’s going to happen next, is he being for real?”

Have you thought much about your comedy fest show?

It’s pretty much all I’m focusing on at the moment, trying to get a really good show together. Second Place Winner, it’s constantly changing, because I’m always trying to battle this thing in my head that’s like, “don’t just be weird for the sake of being weird, talk about things you really want to talk about.” But I don’t just want to talk, I want to show as well, so my brain’s always going in two ways about it.

What never fails to make you laugh?

Hannibal Buress and John Mulaney, they are my favourite comedians. They just say the funniest things without having to add the extra energy. Anything that isn’t like what I do, I find funny. So dudes just standing on a stage, explaining real things, and making you laugh, because you’re like, “that’s so crazy, but you’re so right about what you’re saying.” That’s what really makes me laugh.

That’s so interesting because people often seem to like comedians with a similar style to their own. Do you have any other favourite comedians?

I really like Pete Holmes, and a big inspiration of mine is Sam Simmons. He was the first comedian I properly saw live and I was like, “you can do that!? You don’t have to just stand there and talk?” He does this bit where he makes bread shoes, and yells, “LOAFERS!” and throws them at the audience, and I was like, “OH! Where did that come from!?” And all my friends around me were like, “this is stupid,” and I was like, “no, this is genius! You don’t know what genius is.”

So how did your style then develop?

I had a lot of help when I was in Christchurch, I had a lot of help from Mike Hines, Derek Flores, and Reg Blackwood. Mike has a magic background, so he taught me magic when I was like, fifteen years old. Then later on he came back in my life and said, “Yo, you should be a comedian!” And I was like, “maybe.” And he was like, “yeah you do it!” So he pushed me a lot. Derek is El Jaguar, an improvised Mexican luchador. He’s really full of energy, and he taught me a lot about stagecraft and how I can present myself well. Reg was an English comic in the UK back in the 90s, so he was telling me a lot of the dos and don’ts really early on. They really helped shape me early on in the comedy process.

So did you get into it because of them or was it like a formal program?

I kind of fail at everything I do, so I wanted to be a TV presenter, I wanted to be on Broadway, I wanted to sing, do all that shit, but I failed at it, and it ends up that comedy is the last thing I can do. It’s like an onion, I just kind of peel away, and now I’m at the core. The core is weird stand up.

Do you remember your first ever gig?

I tried to teach people how to make a costume for a unicorn. The costume was me in a silver unitard, and I put a carrot on my head that was held there by one of those cave exploring lights. So I flashed that on and off, and I pranced around, and I made a tail out of old ties and a belt. I pranced around to Carly Rae Jeppson’s Call Me Maybe, for like, three minutes. I didn’t understand why it was funny, but I knew that if I just tried to sell the point, something might happen, and it worked.

So it made you want to do it more?

Yeah. The laughter I got from that show made me think, yep, I can do this for the rest of my life.

Have you moved up here or are you still Christchurch-based?

I moved up here last year, start of 2015. I emailed Scott [Blanks] at the Classic, and said, “what do I have to do if I really want to take this seriously?” He said, “you have to move to Auckland.” So I made the decision.

And then you became a Billy T Nominee…

Yeah! I didn’t expect it to happen this soon, it was like, a five year plan, but then they picked me so early and I was like, aaaah, is this a good choice? Is this a thing? But I’m really loving the whole process of it.

Back to the whole weightlifting thing. How did that happen, what is that about?

So my Dad, when I was fifteen years old, told me I was getting fat. He said, “you need to pick a sport now!” So the next day there was a weightlifting demonstration, and I thought that would be pretty funny – the kid that does card tricks and is weird and eats bugs doing weight lifting, doing a serious sport. Of the twenty of us who started, I was the one who the coach was like, “hey, you have something, keep doing this.” So I trained close to full time for about five to six years, and then I aimed for the Commonwealth Games, and just before the proper qualifying period I broke my ankle at Nationals, so that was the end of my whole career, right there and then.

Oh the heartbreak!

It’s like Cool Runnings without the happy ending. And then I became a comedian!

That’s an even better story, there’ll be a movie about you, surely.

It’s the weirdest… just a strange movie. Start with an inspiring weightlifting documentary, end with this surreal, fat, Filipino dude that straps knives to his head.

Last thing, why should we come to your show?

It’s the most different thing you’ll see at the Comedy Festival. It’s an experience. If you want to experience something, come to my show because it won’t be what you’re expecting.

David’s show, Second Place Winner, is playing at the Q Vault from the 10-14 April. GET TICKETS >>