NZICF 18 | 5 mins with James Roque

Like so many other Asian children before him, James Roque is a disappointment to his parents. He followed his dreams instead of following the path to become a respected M.D (Doctor of Medicine). Despite that, he has a career to boast about; since making his NZ International Comedy Festival debut in 2013, he’s gone on to perform at every festival since (including his acclaimed and sold out 2017 show), he’s appeared on television, including Three’s 7 Days and Jono and Ben, and he’s a co-founder of Proudly Asian Theatre – a theatre company dedicated to showcasing more Asian-NZ stores on stage. And if that wasn’t enough, he played the lead role in Indian Ink Theatre’s Kiss the Fish, which has toured New Zealand ad USA.  So what if he’s not a doctor; they say that laughter is the best medicine.

We caught up with James ahead of his 2018 NZICF season.

Describe your show in three words or less..
Dope Filipino dude.

What’s the inspiration behind it?
Last year I started pronouncing my Filipino last name correctly for the first time in 17 years and it’s got me thinking about what the immigrant experience is like in the western world.

Where will we find you during the festival?
Out here following my dreams

NZ Comedy Scene – would you swipe right or swipe left?
Are you asking me if I want to have sex with the entire NZ Comedy industry? How do we even go about that? Seems like a logistical nightmare.

Do you have any top picks for this year’s festival?
I’m really excited to see Rose Matafeo’s new show. Her last show was my favourite thing in the festival last year, so I’m keen to see what she’s got next. Also, hype for Rhys Nicholson and Phil Wang.

What song or movie best describes the story of your life?
The scene from 8 Mile when he vomits his mum’s spaghetti before the battle

What are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
Queer Eye!

And your top 3 songs on Spotify?
Rich Brian – Cold
Kendrick Lamar – King’s Dead
The Carpenters – Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Honestly, probably try to find a way to sleep anyway. Sleep is the best.

World Association:
Comedy – Anxiety
New Zealand – Anxiety
Woke – Anxiety
Adulting – Anxiety
Basic – Anxiety
Trend – Anxiety
Joke – Anxiety

….I’m a very anxious person.

James Roque performs 1 – 5 May at Wellington’s The Fringe Bar and 8 – 12 May at Auckland’s Q Theatre with his solo show. He also performs with Frickin Dangerous Bro 2 – 5 May at Wellington’s BATS Theatre, and 9 – 12 May at Auckland’s Q Theatre. All as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo.  Buy your tickets – Legal Alien | Humble