Gish gets his act together
Making people laugh is all in a night's work for comedian Justin Hansen – better known as Gish.
The quirky comedian always dreamed of being on the stage, but never to have people laugh at his performances.
Gish started his career in comedy doing a diploma in music performance in Whanganui.
But after completing the qualification and moving north he decided he didn't want to teach.
"I was trying to teach children songs that I knew and liked rather than what they wanted like pop songs which were too hard for them to learn," he says. "So I was put off teaching music."
He took up labouring to pay the bills and in his spare time never failed to practise his faithful guitar.
"In my spare time I started putting humour into the songs I wrote, then writing verses and added them to chords," he says.
Gish was sent to the Classic Comedy Bar's Raw night for emerging talent with his original song Stink Bro.
"That song got me into comedy," he says. "Then Pulp Comedy came along to my second sitting and gave me a gig on their show."
He says at that point things were looking bright for him.
"I thought if this is me just starting out then it can only get better."
Classic Comedy Bar director Scott Blanks says when Gish came along to the Raw night he knew there would be instant appeal.
"He's clever, can play the guitar and can actually sing so I knew he'd be great – many of the parody artists can't sing. I even told him to go along to a New Zealand Idol tryout but he was a year too old."
During the next five years Gish attended AotearoHA with his first full parody.
"People there said I should get into parody and I've been doing that for the past nine years," he says.
He says the name Gish stuck after he grew his hair long and an elderly lady said to him: "Why don't you do something with your hair? It looks like a gishmop".
This year Gish has bigger plans for his career in comedy.
"I want to go to Australia and try out the comedy circuit because it's the stepping stone to Edinburgh – the comedy capital," he says.
Gish's next shows will be held at the Classic Comedy Bar on Queen St during the New Zealand International Comedy Festival on April 30 and May 4 to 7.
Visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz to purchase tickets or for more information on show times.
Auckland City Harbour News