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Published on May 6th, 2013 | by Dedee W

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James Roque Interview

“New Zealand’s favourite Filipino comedian” reads the press release. I like it. You can’t fault him for such bold claims when that’s probably true. I can’t think of many others right now. He’s certainly my favourite, since I saw him last year and he had me in stitches with some great gags about the Filipino accent. It might be 2013, but it’s still pretty refreshing to me to see new faces in the comedy scene that include different races and perspectives. These days we even have a few more female comedians, gee what next? This one’s for all the Kiwi Asians out there, yay!

James Roque is bringing his brand new solo show ‘James Roque is Chicken!’ to Auckland. After being dubbed a chicken by friends in the past, James strikes back with the force of a thousand frightened twenty-one year old Asian males.

James is one of the new kids in the New Zealand comedy scene. He was a finalist in the 2011 RAW Comedy Quest, a regular at The Classic comedy bar and has been involved in several gigs around the country. James was a stand-out performer on TV3’s AotearoHA: Next Big Things and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2012 New Zealand International Comedy Festival along with Eli Matthewson and Edith Poor for their show Minority Report.

 

You’ve been described as one of NZ’s fastest rising comedians, how long have you been doing comedy and how did you start out?

I’ve been doing comedy for about four years now. I actually started through the Class Comedians programme in 2009. They came to my high school and held the workshop and I almost didn’t turn up to it because I wanted to hang out with my mates at the mall. LJs had this awesome special at the time of a large chips and drink for three bucks! I was all about that! But then I realised I hadn’t got paid from work so I just stayed behind and attended the workshop. Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t have enough money that day because it led to me finding what I want to do with my life.

Your show ‘James Roque is Chicken!’ is about your greatest everyday fears – would you say you’re quite paranoid or usually quite a laid back person?

I think that I’m a really laid back guy, but really in reality I’m definitely more paranoid. I’m quite a square dude, in that I sketch out whenever I break any rule. Like when I’m driving past a cop, even if I’m not breaking any laws, I still freak the hell out. It’s just how I roll, I guess.

Who are your comedy heroes and mentors and are any of them at the festival this year? 

I’m a little bit more into American stand-up comedians than any other style. Chris Rock, Louis CK, Hannibal Burress, are some of the dudes I look up to. In terms of mentors though, Ben Hurley took me under his wing during the Class Comedians programme, so he was definitely a huge influence. He’s got a show at the festival this year with Steve Wrigley, and it will be awesome.

What’s your advice to new aspiring comedians in the Class Comedians programme

I literally know exactly how they feel. It hasn’t been that long since my Class Comedian days. Here’s my piece of advice: just write about you. Write about things you know and are passionate about because I think that’s where the best material comes from. Also, if you’re going to take the mic off the stand, MOVE the mic stand to the side. Don’t hide behind the mic stand, because the stand is way too skinny to hide you at all. Seriously, that is such a huge pet peeve of mine.

 

Dates: 7 May – 11 May, 7pm
Venue: Brooklyn Bar and Lounge, 57 Lorne St, Auckland
Tickets: Adults $15, Conc. $13
Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz

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About the Author

Freelance arts journalist who goes to far too many gigs, comedy shows and everything in between. But still loves every minute of it. Gig junky/arts enthusiast. dedee(AT)presencezine.com



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