Published on May 11th, 2013 | by Dedee W0
Joseph Harper Interview
I first saw Joseph Harper doing a live radio interview along with Guy Williams in a Thai restaurant on K Rd. It was Matthew Crawley’s bFM drive show, live from Joy Bong, and me and my friend were the only two people who had showed up to watch it. Guy and Joseph were both dressed up in loud cartoonish outfits. I think Joseph had a pair of oversized glasses on and a bow tie. There was this great moment where they both tried to recite the phone number for tickets really slowly in unison. It was so funny it was painful. There was also a live performance from the Drab Doo Riffs. Things were really kickin’ off in 2010.
Joseph accurately describes his show Think: Tree (Omoutautahi) as “more of a Writers and Readers event or a TED Talk” than a comedy show. This could be true of many of his shows, but he’s still included in the NZ Comedy Festival program nevertheless, and was even nominated for the Billy T Award in 2011, so his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.
Some may see him as more of an actor than a comedian, after his standout performance in Tigerplay (a play by Gary Henderson) in 2011 where he got to smear himself with orange paint and give the loudest roaring primal scream you’ve ever heard at close range in a small upstairs theatre. But on the comedy side of things, he makes a great contribution to the FanFiction Comedy crew, offering succinct and observant feedback on the judging panel alongside fellow judge Steven Boyce.
Below is an example of the kind of shameless self promotion behind his latest offering Think: Tree (Omoutautahi). It’s a show about bonsai trees. It’s also a show about his hometown. This is his show for Christchurch.
(the following is taken from the facebook event page for Think: Tree (Omoutautahi)
B-) – “i had this dream where the best reviewed show in the 2013 new zealand international comedy festival is also the most affordable.”
– “that dream is a true dream. it’s also the least attended show. it’s really great.”
B-) – “if it’s so great, why isn’t it even remotely well publicised?”
– “because the guy who made the show is a dum-dum who thinks he is really cool like beat happening or something.”
B-) – “oh.”
– “it’s on at the wine cellar tonight and tomorrow. come along.”
B-) – “i probably won’t.”
– “all g.”
You said this about your new show ‘Think: Tree (Omoutautahi)
‘hopefully it’ll drip with the kind of syrupy mysticism I’ve found myself gravitating towards..’
I think I know what you mean from past shows I’ve enjoyed seeing, but can you elaborate on that?
I think it’s like implying that the show is a bit spiritual at points.
Looking back on a great youtube interview you did last year, you said you wanted to be the ‘butt of Auckland’ (as in – bottom end of the comedy food chain, and proud) do you think you’ve achieved that?
Definitely. I am the least successful comedian in the world.
Who are your comedy heroes and mentors and are any of them at the fest this year?
Daniel Kitson. Spalding Gray. Josie Long. I saw Daniel Kitson in Melbourne 4 times. It was great. Splading Gray killed himself by jumping off of a ferry. Josie Long was in the festival and she was as good as always. She is the best.
What were your highlights from your recent trip to the Melbourne Comedy festival with the FanFiction crew?
IRL platypus sighting.
Any your advice to any of the Class Comedians or up and coming young comedians who may aspire to be a Billy T Nominee in the future?
No. I think they’re probably all smarter and more talented than me.
Are you doing any extra shows at the Comedy fest this year?
Dates: Thu 9 – Sat 11 May, 8.30pm
Venue: The Wine Cellar, St Kevins Arcade, 183 Karangahape Rd