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Thursday 10 November 2016

"Marry me Chris Warner?"

Posted in: Entertainment
By - 29th April 2016

At twenty years old, James Malcolm is already a Billy T Award nominee and one hell of a funny guy. We chat to him about falling in love with Chris Warner, cracking jokes and coming out in the most appropriate of ways.

James started doing comedy through the New Zealand Comedy Trust's Class Comedians program, a school program that picks one or two students from each school to teach how to do stand-up comedy. “I did it mostly just cos I love attention and it just stuck with me," he says.

He first took to the stage only three years ago and says “I don't remember much about it except that I got paid $20 and I thought I was straight.”

With the stage his home, as you can expect, this young comedian’s coming out is rather legendary and it was during one of his shows that he bit the bullet and told everyone. “Honestly the only reason I came out as soon as I did was because I love comedy a little bit too much and I am constantly putting it above everything else to a fault - once I stood up my best friend in the world at her going away party, right before she moved to Canada for 2 years, cos I got offered a gig - and I had a really funny line I wanted to put in my set about being gay, even though I hadn't entirely accepted it myself yet, so I just chucked in cos I'm a slave to my craft - that sounds really pretentious I know.”

With much of his material centred around his sexuality, James says it’s really just because he writes about his life experiences that this is the case. “I don't find any shame in shouting my gayness to the rooftops, it really should be as normal as being straight - and hopefully me talking about being gay so casually helps with that a little bit.”

His latest show, in the New Zealand Comedy Festival will decide his fate as to whether or not he will take out the prestigious Billy T Award and true to form, James is laying his heart out on the stage.

The name says it all really, Marry Me Chris Warner is an elaborate staged wedding, with James baring all in front of an audience, sharing personal stories of his life and relationship with everyone’s favourite New Zealand Mc Steamy, Dr Chris Warner.

It was love at first sight and high time for James to publicly confess his hearts desires, will he be stood up at the alter?

“I've loved Shortland Street for a very long time,” says James. “One night after a gig I was talking to Ben Hurley and getting him up to speed on everything that had happened recently on Shorty (looking back on this there is absolutely no way he was enjoying that conversation, but anyways) and he told me it was really entertaining to hear me talk about Shortland Street and that I should just do a whole hour show that is 'The Chris Warner Story’.

“I went home that night and told my flatmate Joseph Moore, and he suggested it would be more entertaining if I related all of Chris Warner's storylines to my own life and I came up with the wedding theme myself, because it adds a layer of drama - and I really want the show to be as dramatic as possible.”

“Obviously people can expect a lot of Shortland Street references, but a lot of them are from really old episodes so people shouldn't worry if they aren't that familiar with Shortland Street - cos most of the stuff will be foreign to everyone - also it's just like a whole bunch of stories about my life in my typical comedy style; flamboyant, playful... I like to get quite dirty sometimes, but it's ok cos I'm very adorable.”

“So even non-Shortland Street fans will enjoy it.”

With Auckland being such a small city, you never know, Chris Warner may actually turn up to the show and things could go down a completely different and unexpected path. “He actually might come to the show!

James recently got to sit face to face with his screen sweetheart and interviewed him to promote the show. “He is very aware of the show's existence - plus I had to ask him for an extremely high resolution, full body photo of him to make a life sized cardboard cutout to marry.”

Marry Me Chris Warner runs from 3-7 May in Wellington and 10-14 May in Auckland.

Tickets are on sale on the Comedy Festival website.

- 29th April 2016

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