How i make it work... JIMMY REES
THE GIGGLE AND HOOT STAR HAS BEEN CALLED THE ONE DIRECTION OF CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINERS. HERE, HE REVEALS HOW HE COPES WITH THE PECULIAR PRESSURES OF BEING AN UNLIKELY SEX SYMBOL
Years ago, a Facebook page popped up called “I Could Teach Jimmy Giggle A Thing Or Two”. It went gangbusters really quickly. My wife, Tori, and I thought it was very funny. I think any person in the entertainment industry gets some sort of attention, but we didn’t expect it to be like that!
I do get stopped in the street and it’s usually the parents who notice me. They’ll say, “Look, it’s Jimmy Giggle,” and their kids will go, “No it’s not. Where’s Hoot? Where are his pyjamas?” I have to try to convince them. Sometimes the kids spot me: once, I was in a lift and a little girl tugged at her mother’s dress. The mum said, “I’m so sorry, she thinks you look like this guy on a TV show.” I was like, “She’s right.”
Then there are the people who come to our shopping-centre appearances without any children. It’s a bit awkward to ask if I’m signing something for them… Once at an event, an enthusiastic mum wrote her phone number on a piece of paper for me – but instead of giving it to me directly she gave it to my wife, who was helping kids off the stage. Being a preschool show, I didn’t expect to achieve this kind of “sex symbol” status. I really don’t know why I’m such a hit with the mums – I didn’t know that sideburns were still in!
I think there are different layers to our fan base. The kids obviously believe in the wonder that is Giggle and Hoot; they go on these adventures and they’re enchanted by it all. The parents, who unfortunately have to listen to all the songs too, appreciate it in a different way.
I’m watching a lot of kids’ TV now because my son, Lenny, is 19 months old. Becoming a dad has given me a bit of perspective about what children enjoy and how intelligent they are. Kids are the hardest audience. If you don’t engage them, they’ll fall asleep. Giggle and Hoot doesn’t speak down to children, we speak fast and they have
to keep up. The kids understand that and they pick up the catchphrases.
I love doing live-action shows as you can see the excitement on the kids’ faces. They see Jimmy Giggle in real life and they really appreciate us being there. We’re rehearsing our Christmas tour now. When we get into a theatre and put on the show, it’s a truly magical time. For kids and mums alike. Giggle and Hoot’s Magical Christmas