Comedy Fest preview: Cori Gonzales-Macuer interviews Natasha Hoyland
Cori Gonzales-Macuer has been in comedy professionally since 2003. Natasha Hoyland, 18, is just starting out. Both have dads with Westlife obsessions and both have shows in this year’s comedy festival. We sat them down with the comedian’s diet (beer and salted potato chips) and let the experienced, jaded one ask the questions first.
CORI GONZALES-MACUER: You were in high school last year and doing a show at the Comedy Festival. Did people think you were cool at school?
NATASHA HOYLAND: Most of the people at my school didn’t really care. My school focused heavily on Polyfest. They did really well in it, which was cool and amazing but not my thing.
CG-M: What comedians do you look up to?
NH: One of my favourites is James Acaster. I think he’s amazing. Really crazy ideas. Michael McIntyre. Aziz Ansari. Lots of locals: Rose Matafeo, Tim Batt, Guy Montgomery. Guy Williams has been like an older brother to me. He was a scout who came to my school for “Class Comedians”. Ever since then he’s encouraged me. At the time, I didn’t know what stand-up was at all. My first set was really awful. After the two-week course we did a showcase at Rangatira at Q Theatre, which was huge.
CG-M: Yeah, it’s like 500 people.
NH: I walked out, said my first joke and then completely blanked, like a deer in the headlights. I couldn’t see anything. I stood there for what felt like ages. I think it was a minute and a half. Then a lady in the front row started slow-clapping. It snapped me out of it and it was fine after that.
CG-M: How long was the set meant to be?
NH: Three or four minutes.
CG-M: So half of it was just silence?
NH: Yeah. I can’t remember my first joke. I remember some of the set. I talked about running a Paula Abdul fan club.
CG-M: Do you actually run one?
NH: I did when I was younger.
CG-M: Are you serious? Paula Abdul from X Factor or the actual singer?
NH: When she was a singer. She was one of my heroes when I was a child.
CG-M: Apart from Paula Abdul, what other pop stars do you like?
NH: Um. I was going to say Tiffany but she has one song. My dad used to play all that music. He was obsessed with Boyzone.
CG-M: Mine too. Actually obsessed.
NH: He bought the CD single of “No Matter What” and played it constantly.
CG-M: Mine too. And Westlife. Every Christmas I’d get a Westlife CD. Where’s your dad from?
NH: English New Zealand.
CG-M: Where’s your mum from?
CG-M: I was born in Chile. Have you been to Thailand?
NH: We used to go every year, then we stopped going. Since the Boxing Day tsunami. We’d go to the same resort every year and one year my mum was like, no we’re not going there this year. She was adamant. Because we weren’t going [to that resort] we delayed our trip by two days and were on the plane
when the tsunami hit. Our family members thought we were still going there so we were missing people in the New Zealand Herald.
CG-M: What’s your festival show about?
NH: Very vaguely about food. I talk about conspiracy theories I have about food. I’m going to have back-up dancers — for no reason. Just because I can. When did you get into stand up?
CG-M: I was 21. 2003. I entered the Raw Comedy Quest in Wellington. Won that. Came to Auckland and won the national one. If I hadn’t won those, I probably wouldn’t be doing comedy. Even if I came second I would have quit. I’ve just been stuck in it since then.
NH: I felt like I wanted to quit after my first set since I said nothing for half of it, but Nick Rado said you can’t quit until you’ve done 100 gigs, because then you won’t know if you’re good at it or not. Fifteen-year-old me was like, woah, that’s deep. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve done now.
CG-M: More than 100?
NH: Possibly. Pretty close. What’s your show in the festival?
“I met a girl that’s in [The Bachelor] and asked her why she went on it and she said, ‘I want to be famous.’ I left the bar. I didn’t even finish my drink. I was so angry.”
CG-M: It’s called Awesome? Nah, Bro. I did a show a few years ago called Promo Girls Aren’t Models, talking about how no one is famous in New Zealand. It’s the second part of that. Pretty much talking about how I hate people who are in The Bachelor. I met a girl that’s in the new season and asked her why she went on it and she said, “I want to be famous.” I left the bar. I didn’t even finish my drink. I was so angry.
NH: Is the show about your fame too?
CG-M: Just in the way that there’s no fame. I was in a movie, but I still can’t get into bars. No one gives a fuck.
NH: Do you have any advice for someone like me, an up-and-comer, and also people who want to start out in comedy?
CG-M: I’m probably not the best because even to this day I don’t know if I want to be a comedian. Just don’t let your first gig, or stuff like that, get you down. Keep going. You never know when you can kill it. So much depends on the audience.
NH: What keeps you in it?
CG-M: I don’t know what else I’d do. Actually, I’m enjoying it at the moment.
Photography: Frances Morton.