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The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Guy Wil­liams talks about the new series of Jono And Ben and why he shuns al­co­hol.

Co­me­dian Guy Wil­liams is back for an­other sea­son of Jono And Ben, the lo­cal com­edy series hosted by Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce on Three on Thurs­day. Guy, 30, grew up in Nel­son and lives with his Green Party MP part­ner Gol­riz Ghahra­man. His brother, Paul, is a co­me­dian and his sis­ter, Maria, is an ac­tor. Guy, who is known for his dead­pan hu­mour, has a po­lit­i­cal-sci­ence de­gree and writes a weekly col­umn in the Sun­day Star Times. He tells Sarah Nealon about be­ing brain­washed by his mother and how shun­ning al­co­hol helped his ca­reer.

What’s the same and what’s dif­fer­ent with Jono And Ben this year?

The main dif­fer­ence is that we’re ex­pand­ing into a huge range of cast mem­bers and con­trib­u­tors so the show will have a lot more new faces (like Kura For­rester, Bryn­ley Stent, Hay­ley Sproull), which I think is re­ally ex­cit­ing be­cause this show has been go­ing for quite a while now. If you were go­ing to com­plain about it you’d prob­a­bly go, ‘Oh well we’ve seen this, we’ve seen that’ but bring­ing in new peo­ple is a good way of re­fresh­ing it.

Who would you rather be stuck in a lift with – Jono or Ben?

This is a com­plex ques­tion and very lay­ered. I’ve known Jono longer and he’s a good, old friend but Ben is a lot less an­noy­ing so it’s a real di­vide. Jono for the ca­ma­raderie but Ben for not driv­ing me in­sane.

How would Jono and Ben de­scribe you in three words?

I think they’d de­scribe me as loud, ob­nox­ious and, hope­fully, funny.

On a re­cent TV show you spoke about not drink­ing al­co­hol. Is that a rar­ity on the lo­cal stand-up com­edy scene?

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll was part of the com­edy per­sona but for my gen­er­a­tion that’s chang­ing a lit­tle bit. I don’t think a co­me­dian nec­es­sar­ily has to be a bro­ken per­son or a mav­er­ick or a tears-of-a-clown story. For me I’m just a nor­mal per­son who lives a nor­mal life – just as a jour­nal­ist or an ac­coun­tant would. I just found in my nor­mal life it helps to not drink. I don’t feel like I need to have a beer on stage or need any­thing to calm my nerves. I’ve got too much ir­ra­tional self con­fi­dence as it is. If any­thing I need the op­po­site of a beer to rein me in.

Has be­ing a non-drinker af­fected your ca­reer?

Early in my ca­reer, I would get on TV shows be­cause peo­ple would call me up and say, ‘Hey, Guy, some­one is too hun­gover to come and do this show’. It would be a panel show that was record­ing at 9am on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing. They’d say, ‘Oh what’s-his-name hasn’t shown up’ so I’d lit­er­ally get op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause of that.

You’ve spo­ken a bit about be­ing a ‘craplebrity’. What is a ‘craplebrity’?

A Kiwi who is prob­a­bly more fa­mous than talented. Ev­ery­one knows who they are, for bet­ter for worse – some­one who con­stantly does crappy ads on In­sta­gram and stuff like that. I spend most of my days wan­der­ing around town hop­ing peo­ple will no­tice me. In New Zealand we’ve got three ac­tual celebri­ties – Lorde, Flight Of The Con­chords and maybe some of the All Blacks. The rest of us are ‘craplebri­ties’.

Your part­ner is a Green Party MP. How do you feel about the idea of be­ing la­belled a ‘power cou­ple’?

Re­ally em­bar­rass­ing. I’m try­ing to call my­self the poor man’s Clarke Gay­ford but I don’t know if that’s catch­ing on or if it’s a pos­i­tive thing or not. I’ve never wanted to use my re­la­tion­ship for pub­lic­ity. I find that a bit cringe (wor­thy). You al­ways try to keep your pri­vate life pri­vate. It makes it a lot eas­ier.

When you were a kid grow­ing up in Nel­son, what did you want to be?

I might have wanted to be an All Black when I was about 12 but I think what I wanted to be was like a train that had a talk­ing face be­cause my favourite show was Thomas The Tank Engine. When you’re a kid you don’t want to be a lawyer. Maybe I wanted to be a post­man like Post­man Pat. For a brief time I wanted to live in a garbage can and be grumpy like Os­car The Grouch. A talk­ing train or an an­i­mal that lives in a garbage can – two good op­tions there. But it’s only when I think about it now that I re­alise I was con­di­tioned to be a co­me­dian. When I was a kid we didn’t lis­ten to the ra­dio much in the car be­cause the ads were so an­noy­ing. My mum had two cas­sette tapes. The main one was Jerry Se­in­feld: I’m Telling You For The Last Time. She just played it over and over and over again. It’s not sur­pris­ing she’s got two kids – pos­si­bly three, my sis­ter is an ac­tor who is dab­bling in com­edy – who ended up be­ing co­me­di­ans when she brain­washed us as chil­dren.

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