Wil­son Dixon riffs on life

The Press - - News - Jack Fletcher

Chan­nelling his in­ner Dolly Par­ton, Kiwi co­me­dian Jesse Griffin dons a wig and cow­boy hat.

Be­fore he takes the stage, a per­son­al­ity shift. Out steps Wil­son Dixon, a re­laxed coun­try singer from Crip­ple Creek, Colorado.

‘‘You know, it costs a lot of money to look this cheap.’’

OK, so he doesn’t quite rip jokes di­rectly from the queen of coun­try glam but com­mends her on-stage quips.

He’s in the mid­dle of his first solo tour around New Zealand with his show What A Coun­try!

Griffin de­vel­oped his Dixon char­ac­ter in 2004 as part of a sketch show tour­ing Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

‘‘I had a cow­boy hat and a wig, lit­er­ally just in the props box, and I chucked them on. He started out as an al­co­holic, Tom Waits kind of guy but he changed in re­hearsals into a laid-back coun­try dude,’’ Griffin said.

Whether it be about his Un­cle Clee­tus’ busi­ness ven­tures, his horse An­drew or his ex-wife, who moved in next door, Dixon lives a roller­coaster of emo­tions. He turns life ex­pe­ri­ences into coun­try bal­lads and dit­ties but the ban­ter be­tween makes up much of the show.

‘‘There’s al­ways been a kind of tradition in coun­try mu­sic of com­edy be­tween songs,’’ Griffin said. ‘‘In this show, Dixon goes on a blind date, which ends pretty badly. Es­sen­tially it is a look at Wil­son’s view of the world and how things can go wrong.’’

His ideations on Trump’s pres­i­dency also come to light dur­ing Dixon’s gigs on this tour, pre­dom­i­nantly con­cern­ing Trump want­ing to make Amer­ica great again.

‘‘This comes as a bit of a shock to Dixon, that it’s not al­ready great,’’ Griffin said.

For Griffin, be­com­ing Dixon was ‘‘quite fun’’, forc­ing him to keep calm in front of crowds.

‘‘I re­ally en­joy be­ing him. I mean, noth­ing fazes him, he’s got his own rhythm. It’s def­i­nitely a com­plete im­mer­sion.’’

Christchurch au­di­ences can see Dixon at Boo Radley’s, on Victoria St, on May 24 and 25.

Tick­ets are avail­able from eventfinda.co.nz.

Wil­son Dixon, the char­ac­ter of Jesse Griffin, will play two gigs in Christchurch next week.

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