College turned comedian's life around
Comedian Jarred Christmas credits Christchurch's Hagley Community College with turning his life around.
The former Christchurch man told more than 200 Hagley pupils today that before going to Hagley, he was always bunking school.
''If I hadn't come to this place I would probably be working at Pak 'n Save,'' he said.
''Before I came to Hagley I was at an all-boys school where if you weren't into sport, they weren't into you.''
He left and enrolled at Hagley in 1996 for the fifth form, despite his former teachers warning him that he would end up doing drugs within weeks.
"One teacher said 'even the teachers are doing it'.''
Christmas studied English, maths, film, television and dance for two years before spending two years at the Hagley Theatre Company.
''For the first time in my life I met people who were themselves,'' he said.
''It really changed my life.''
He did his first standup comedy gig at the now-demolished Green Room, above the Honey Pot Cafe, when he was 18.
''I think I got one laugh in five minutes.''
Since moving to Britain 10 years ago, Christmas has become a household name, appearing on Comic Relief and television shows Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Dave's One Night Stand.
He is travelling around New Zealand performing his show Lets Go MoFo! for the coming weeks and appears tonight at Christchurch's The Open Stage.