Men's Style (Australia) - - Contents -

The al­most ac­ci­den­tal ca­reers of the Bondi Hip­sters

Chris­ti­aan Van Vu­uren and Nick Boshier are amped. Not only is their show Soul Mates set to re­turn to ABC-TV for its second sea­son, but a co-pro­duc­tion deal with new US com­edy chan­nel Seeso means their comic alter egos will soon be seen on Amer­i­can screens. “I’m not go­ing to count any chick­ens yet,” laughs Van Vu­uren, aka hip­ster Dom, when Men’s Style asks if world dom­i­na­tion is im­mi­nent. “But it’s su­per ex­cit­ing to have this op­por­tu­nity, to be shown on a chan­nel where we’re just sur­rounded by the best com­edy from all around the world.”

Boshier is a lit­tle closer to alter-ego hip­ster Adrian when he de­scribes the e‡ect the news is hav­ing on him: “In its sim­plest form, it gives me a re­ally ag­gres­sive sti‡y. One of those an­gry ones that you could just never sleep on.”

You can’t blame them for any tumes­cence. In a few short years, they’ve taken DIY paths to star­dom, first as in­di­vid­u­als and then as a seem­ingly un­stop­pable team. But the route to find­ing their groove was any­thing but straightforward.

“I gave up on it all even though it was a thing I re­ally loved,” says Van Vu­uren, now 33, of re­lin­quish­ing his child­hood dreams of act­ing and singing post-school. “I just fo­cused on hav­ing a job and didn’t think a ca­reer in any sort of per­form­ing art would be a re­al­ity. It al­ways bummed me out that had hap­pened.”

‘In real life I have no fa­cial hair and my hair’s fall­ing out and I don’t talk any­thing like that, I just sound like a bo­gan…’ – Chris­ti­aan Van Vu­uren ‘Back then it was a fan­tasy to ever pur­sue a [cre­ative] life, like grow­ing wings or some­thing.’ – Nick Boshier

That was un­til fate in­ter­vened in late 2009 in the form of a tu­ber­cu­lo­sis di­ag­no­sis that saw him forced to live in quar­an­tine for six months. It was in his hospi­tal room that Van Vu­uren started mak­ing Youtube videos as The Fully Sick Rap­per, helped by his brother Con­nor. The videos went vi­ral, clock­ing up mil­lions of views and made him a cult star in a hospi­tal gown. When he was fi­nally re­leased from hospi­tal, Van Vu­uren’s out­look had changed. “My life got re­set. I’d lost my apart­ment, my car and all those things. I moved back home with my par­ents and got the op­por­tu­nity to start again. I had this feel­ing life could end at any mo­ment. So I just wanted to fo­cus all my time on some­thing I love do­ing and this is that thing I love do­ing.”

Like Van Vu­uren, Syd­neysider Nick Boshier, now 34, came late to per­form­ing, hav­ing spent his twen­ties as a mu­sic man­ager. “Ever since I was a kid I’d never stopped think­ing about cre­at­ing stuŽ and act­ing,” he says. “But back then it was fan­tasy to ever pur­sue it as a life, like grow­ing wings or some­thing.” That changed dur­ing soul-search­ing in his late twen­ties. “That’s when you re­ally start to an­a­lyse your life, like, ‘What am I do­ing?’”

In­stead of a yoga re­treat, Boshier starred as bo­gan boof­head Trent From Punchy in a se­ries of videos that soon amassed a huge fol­low­ing on Youtube. He then fol­lowed up with Beached Az, in which he voiced a stranded Kiwi whale. “Those were the first things I’d done cre­atively and they val­i­dated that de­ci­sion to pur­sue a cre­ative life.”

The Van Vu­uren broth­ers met Boshier at a Youtube con­fer­ence, cast him in a TV pi­lot they were mak­ing, had a lot of fun and de­cided they all needed to work to­gether again. Chris­ti­aan re­mem­bers: “I said, ‘I’ve got this idea about two lazy Bondi ex-pri­vate school dick­heads who start their own fash­ion la­bel’. Nick was like, ‘I’m in’.”

The re­sult was Bondi Hip­sters, re­volv­ing around Dom and Adrian’s quest, as Van Vu­uren puts it, to be “world fa­mous for be­ing un­der­ground”. The videos were wildly pop­u­lar on Youtube, lead­ing to ABC-TV giv­ing Soul Mates a green light. The show, which aired in 2014, ex­panded on the Hip­sters premise, al­low­ing Chris­ti­aan and Nick to play Dom and Adrian and their in­car­na­tions through time: pre­his­toric cave­men Rocky and Sticks; 1980s Kiwi as­sas­sins Roger and Thinge; and 2093 time travel agents Dave and Rob. It was very am­bi­tious and very, very funny.

Sea­son two sees Soul Mates kick it up fur­ther. “We can rein­vent it from sea­son to sea­son,” says Van Vu­uren. “The Ticky Time Tour story re­solved it­self in sea­son one so this time we’re in­tro­duc­ing a new story set in An­cient Egypt…” Bub­bling over with en­thu­si­asm, he ex­plains a plot­line in­volv­ing the bas­tard son of a pharaoh who’s teamed with his favourite slave-tradie to build a trap-filled tomb for his demigod brother. “It be­comes this work­place com­edy about the gen­eral OHS type is­sues that they have to deal with mak­ing water traps, se­cret tiles firing poi­son ar­rows, skele­tons drop­ping from the roof. Like, when you test out a boul­der trap and it goes smash­ing through a wall, how do you get it back up the ramp?”

But that’s only half of it, with the other half play­ing out as a par­ody of Game Of Thrones- style royal fam­ily dys­func­tion. Boshier chimes in: “The new char­ac­ter’s a fuckin weirdo,” he laughs of his eu­nuch role. “He just straight up has no dick. It’s this fam­ily drama of demigods, do­mes­tic­ity and in­cest.” Laugh­ing, Van Vu­uren adds: “The bas­tard prince has an uncy-dad-pa be­cause his dad is both his un­cle, grand­dad and his dad.” Boshier chuck­les: “Bes­tial­ity, too, we cover that.”

Mean­while, the ex­ist­ing Soul Mates kick things up to new lev­els. Dom and Adrian take coŽee-wankerism to new heights by open­ing the Closed Café, the Kiwi as­sas­sins Roger and Thinge have to work as fa­ther and step­son to stop evil Aussies smug­gling child rugby play­ers out of New Zealand, and Sticks and Rocky find them­selves grap­pling with tribe dy­nam­ics at the dawn of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion.

Their suc­cess, they say, is shared with Con­nor, who co-writes and di­rects and who in­sists on find­ing the hu­man­ity be­neath the bizarre ex­te­ri­ors of the comic char­ac­ters. “He’s al­ways urg­ing us to find the heart of comedic scenes and be­cause of that they seem to get fun­nier,” says Van Vu­uren. “We play around with mas­cu­line re­la­tion­ships and the way your best friends can be good and bad for you.”

With sea­son two set to in­crease their pro­files here and in­tro­duce them to the US mar­ket, is their pri­vacy be­com­ing a thing of the past? Not so, says Van Vu­uren, whose Dom is never seen with­out a beanie, long tresses and Ned Kelly beard as he pon­tif­i­cates pre­ten­tiously in “totes, bro” tones. “In real life I have no fa­cial hair and my hair’s fall­ing out and I don’t talk any­thing like that, I just sound like a bo­gan,” he says. “I can so eas­ily spy from within a Bondi café.”

Boshier’s more recog­nis­able, not that he minds. “Peo­ple come up and say they love Hip­sters or Soul Mates and that gives me the jol­lies,” he says cheer­fully. “If it wasn’t for them lik­ing what we do, I’d be giv­ing hand jobs for loose change.”

Chris­ti­aan and Nick have been named in our 9th an­nual Men Of In­flu­ence list – see page 107.

The Hip­sters in their Soul Mates guises as the Egyp­tians (top) and the Kiwi as­sas­sins Roger and Thinge.

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