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Q&A: James Rees on puppets, naughty mums and being Jimmy Giggle

James Rees as Jimmy GiggleAnyone with a small child knows that Jimmy Giggle is a fun-loving guy. And as it turns out, his alter ego James Rees is pretty cool too.

He’s also got some awesome news – he’s about to be a dad!

Here we chat to him about becoming a father, working with puppets and how his eyebrows landed him the best gig on children’s television. Plus he answers questions about naughty mums, parenting advice and having a doll made in his likeness.

Q. First of all congratulations! How exciting that you’re going to be a dad! I’m sure you’re getting heaps of parenting advice already (here’s mine – ‘accept help’). What is the most common advice you’ve been given?

A. Most people say to forget about all the sleep derivation and smelly nappy changes and enjoy every moment. They are only that small once and they grow so quickly. By the way your advice is duly noted.

 

Q. Do you think it will be weird that you’ll soon be watching yourself on TV like the rest of us?

A: Ha! I had this conversation with Tori and she said, ‘we will have to put it on, it’s the best show’ (I’ve taught her well). Although, it may result in even more lunacy on the screen as I attempt to impress the little one. HaHa!

 

Q. So how exactly did you land the job as Jimmy Giggle?

A: It’s all in the eyebrows. I was auditioning for a job on ABC 3 when I got a call from Giggle and Hoot (also auditioning) who had gotten a hold of my audition tape. I didn’t hear back from ABC 3 but got a few auditions with Giggle and Hoot and quite literally I was told my eyebrows got me over the line.

 

Q. You’ve gained quite a following among mums – most are non-stalky although I’ve heard a few naughty double entendres (mostly to do with magic buttons and steps to bedtime). Did you imagine that would be part of the job?

A. Not at all. I remember being told about a Facebook page entitled ‘I Could Teach Jimmy Giggle a Thing or Two,’ I checked it out immediately and laughed hysterically. It’s all fun and games and man is it funny!

 

Q. Do you get recognised much in public or do people not make the connection without your orange shirt or Hoot pjs?

A. That’s a funny one. Usually the parents spot me out of my costume and sometimes there is this awkward game of ‘try and convince the child that it’s really Jimmy Giggle’. Responses vary from, “Why does he have a beard, Mum?” to “Where’s Hoot then, Dad?”.

 

Q. They say to never work with kids or animals. What about puppets? Does that hold special challenges?

A. Early on I would get caught looking at the puppeteer instead of Hoot, but let me tell you it doesn’t take long to become transfixed but the puppet. They have this magic about them that brings out a naivety in people of all ages. They are so characterised that we somehow believe in them, they have the power to make you laugh hysterically and cry hysterically.

 

Q. What’s the funniest thing a child has said to you?

A. I was hosting on stage and I was telling a few knock-knock jokes and I asked if anyone else has any more, a few hands went up this is what the kid I chose said, ‘Knock, Knock … who’s there … Toilet … Toilet who … Jimmy Giggle is a toilet.’ Everyone lost it and 200 more hands went up.

 

Q. I see there’s a Jimmy Giggle doll now. Is that weird for you?

A. You’re right I’ve got a doll – I may as well retire now! The first time I was asked to sign a Jimmy Giggle doll the kid requested that I sign its bottom. That was a little strange.

 

Q. Oh, my 4YO wants to ask Jimmy Giggle a question. Do you mind asking him this – “Jimmy Giggle? Why are you scared of bats?”

A. They have fangs and hang upside down in the dark … errrrrrrhhhhh … I’m scared just talking about them … AHHHHHH A B-B-B-BAAAATTTT!!!!

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The new Giggle and Hoot DVD – Giggle and Hoot Best Ever! – is available in stores on November 5. Giggle and Hoot are also gearing up for a tour. Giggle and Hoot & Friends kicks off in Melbourne on December 17. For details visit: www.abccommercial.com/events

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3 comments so far -

  1. When my two kids (then 6 and 3) met Jimmy at a shopping centre meet n greet appearance two years ago, we took a photo with him, which by child request is in a frame and takes pride of place amongst our other family photos on the bookshelf. They have the poster he signed laminated and hanging on their bedroom door, and won’t let me take it down. I don’t complain, I find Jimmy the character adorable, and James the man quite easy on the eye…

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