Interview By Liam Stretch (he/him)
Jo Ghastly is a Christchurch/Ōtautahi based comedian, actor, and improviser. Instead of Liam Stretch writing an intro, Jo wished to do her own.
“Previous career highlights include being a Canterbury 3ZB cheerleader last century and being typecast on stage and screen as everyone’s bitchy mother. Comedy provides welcome relief from peri-menopausal mood swings and the tortures of parenting teenagers.
Jo’s solo comedy show “The Cool Mum” won Best Solo Show and Audience Favourite Show at the Nelson Fringe Festival 2020. Jo was recently nominated for Breakthrough Comedian (S.I.) at The NZ Comedy Guild Awards. Jo regularly travels around New Zealand performing comedy.”
If there are some folks who are unfamiliar – they’re missing out – with you, who are you?
I’m Charlotte and Angus’ mother. I probably know your mum. Ask her.
Angus is starting University of Canterbury next year. Make sure you go up to him and say hello. He’s VERY proud that I’m his mother. He just loves it when strangers come up and say, ‘Yo, are you Jo’s son, Angus?’. He’s got brown hair and is about 5ft 11. He will be easy to spot.
Charlotte is third year at Otago, so you probably won’t see her around campus. If you do see her, tell her to get back to Dunedin. She’s very proud of me as well. You might have been to one of Charlotte’s parties.
You and I might have had a long chat. Or played beer bong.
My kids are super proud when I talk about them in my comedy shows. They think I’m hilarious and encourage me to do more comedy.
They’re particularly proud when I do a floss or a dab.
I’m all over Facebook, Insta and TikTok. Please follow me.
How would you describe your comedy?
My comedy is funny.
I have trophies to prove it.
What made you take the leap into comedy?
People say that women become invisible in middle age. You can’t be invisible when you are on stage with a microphone and wearing a bright red dress.
Essentially, comedy is my mid-life crisis.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m mainly inspired by my own ability to bust out young people’s moves. Show me a TikTok dance, and I’ll do it. I’m also inspired by the everyday miraculous wonders of my own parenting. Ask my kids.
They’ll tell you.
Who is your icon in comedy?
I just had to Google the word “icon”. An icon can be a devotional painting of Christ or another religious figure. I last went to church when I had a crush on Gerard Hogan in Year 9. This question is religion pushing.
So, comedy is not the only string to your bow; what is your day job?
My day job is as a psychiatrist. So don’t heckle me.
How has this shaped your jokes?
Psychiatrists come in all sorts of different shapes. Please don’t judge a psychiatrist or a joke by its shape. This question is fat shaming.
You’ve focused on being a ‘cool mum’ before; what does this mean?
If you don’t know what a ‘cool mum’ is, you are not a cool mum.
You can learn about being a cool mum by coming to my show (which coincidentally is called ‘The Cool Mum’ and costs $20).
This will also help you to release the inner coolness of your own parents. Bring your mum, and you can TikTok dance duet together.
What would you say is the best thing to make for someone on a first date?
When I went to uni we didn’t go on dates, so I don’t know much about them. Our version of a Tinder super-like was going home with someone after only one jug of beer. Anyone looks good with beer goggles on.
You asked the best thing to make on a first date? I’m not an expert on dating, but I’ve heard that people like it when you make “out”.
This issue of CANTA is the sex issue; what’s one tip you’d give to the young people out there?
I think it’s illegal for adults to give young people ’a sex tip’.
I have reported you!
What is one thing a parent should always do at their child’s party?
Where do I start!
When my kids host a party, they love it when I spend a lot of time talking to their friends.
Particularly when I talk to their friends about them and ask a lot of questions, this helps my kids to know that I care and I’m involved in their lives.
I usually like to perform a welcome rap. I usually get one of the partygoers to be the beatboxer. My daughter loves that.
My kids love it when I get involved in drinking games, particularly like the one where you throw the beer cap into a glass. I’m really good at that.
I’d also recommend that parents get onto the dance floor as soon as possible – to get the party moving. You can bust out some mod moves like the dab and the floss.
It’s also a lot of fun to get the whole party doing a TikTok duet with one of my TikTok originals.
What is one thing a parent should never do at their child’s party?
You should never just leave your kids to run their own party. It makes them feel unloved.
How can we see you?
To find out about my upcoming gigs- follow me on the socials –Insta, Facebook, Pornhub.