Comedian corner: James Mustapic

Interview By: Liam Stretch

You’ll have seen his face gracing your phone screen many a time, and for those of you who went along to the O-Week Comedy Night, you would have taken him in, in person. James Mustapic is quickly becoming one of New Zealand’s go-to comedians, and rightfully so. Finding fame of The Spinoff’s
repressed Memories, he is now a fully-fledged comedian doing tours and stuff. Liam Stretch got to know what makes him tick.

Firstly, who on Earth are you? Fill us in; who is James Mustapic?  

Hello! I’m James Mustapic – I’m a stand-up comedian and Drew Neemia stan.   

Describe your comedy style?  

It’s hard to analyse your own style without sounding wanky! But I guess my comedic style is awkward and dry! I also find great enjoyment in using multi-media elements in my shows and making fun of NZ pop culture.  

You seem to love a PowerPoint; what draws you to them as a comedy tool? 

I really like using PowerPoint/videos in my show because it’s just so much more engaging! An hour is a long time to watch someone stand and talk on a stage – I’m the type of person that loves texting whilst watching a TV show… So I like bringing PowerPoint in because it’s something to look at when an audience gets bored of staring at me. 

When did you realise you were funny?  

I still don’t know if I am funny.    

As a baby gay, how did comedy help you?  

Comedy was really helpful for me to come out of my comfort zone and be myself! I used to be quite shy when I was younger, and I think part of that was growing up gay in a smaller city and going to an all-boys school. I didn’t really feel like I could fully be myself, so it was really great being able to get out there in front of a whole bunch of strangers and talk about being gay!   

How does being queer continue to develop/impact/encourage your humour?  

Being queer in comedy can be really fun because it’s a unique experience and perspective, which a lot of people haven’t experienced themselves! So I really enjoy being able to tell straight crowds about my life and queer culture!    

Do you have anything exciting in the works?  

My next stand up comedy show! It’s called Inside James Mustapic, and it’s all about going inside my brain, heart, and all of my other body parts to analyse why I’m so messed up! It’s at the Little Andromeda Theatre on April 9th and 10th, and it’s going to be very good!   

What’s something that has happened to you that is hilarious but also really concerning?  

I once had a colleague at work come up to me, and he was like, “Hey bro, just wanted to say thank you. I used to feel so embarrassed when I’d wear T-shirts because I felt so bad that my arms were not muscular enough. But then I saw you wearing t-shirts and not being embarrassed, and it helped me love myself”.  

Tell us about Spinoff’s Repressed Memories. How did this come to be? Was this your big break?   

Yeah, it sort of was my big break! I always used to love reminiscing about old NZ TV shows and pop culture because it was such a big part of my childhood! I was so obsessed with the first season of NZ Idol and Sticky TV. Repressed Memories was all about revisiting those shows and making fun of all of the cringe content we watched as kids! I feel like, nowadays, kids all just go on Tiktok and Youtube, but when we were kids, What Now was the only thing we had to watch, so we absolutely frothed it.  

Do you like Whittaker’s Hundreds and Thousands chocolate? If so, why? If not, why?  

Yea, mate, it’s pretty good. I actually think the Jelly Tip one is the best of the collaborations they’ve done! That gender reveal one they did was absolute shit, though.  

Who is your comic icon?a 

I think I’ve always looked up to Rose MatafeoShe’s so incredible at what she does, and she’s done so well internationally, which is just so impressive!   

Rugged Sharks or Skechers? 

Gotta be rugged sharks!