Chris Parker Can't Handle The Algorithm Anymore

Chris Parker owes practically everything he has to social media. . . But he also wants to throw his phone off a bridge.

Chris Parker - Image © Andi Crown Photography

The multi award-winning New Zealand comedian, and self-proclaimed 'people's princess' of Aotearoa, Chris Parker, is hitting Australian stages in a new solo stand-up show.

The social media algorithm is an interesting concept – sometimes, it can be scarily spot on with what it shows us. Other times, it completely misses the mark. Chris and his phone have been trialling separation thanks to the shenanigans of this new data tracking system.

He's done with social media, and ready to talk about it. . . In a show aptly titled 'Give Me One Good Reason Why I Shouldn't Throw My Phone Off This Bridge'.

Here, we dig deeper with Chris, and attempt to get to know him a little better than the algorithm has, ahead of his Oz tour.

You’re coming back to, in your words, make Australia your entire personality, for a new show. What can audiences expect?!
A lot of jokes and a lot of sweat. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I seem to walk out on stage and begin to profusely sweat, I’m starting to grow a bit of a reputation for it. I even seem to sweat out of the crooks of my arms, which I didn’t actually think was humanly possible, but there you go. I want this show to convince me to delete my social media for good, despite it being critical for my own professional success. I reckon I could convince the audience to do it too, so maybe I’m just a big, sweaty John Robbins self-help hour.

What do you love most about the Aussie vibes?
What a shameless attempt to dig for a compliment, in my opportunity to promote my show. This is what I love about you Aussies, totally shameless! I actually get so intimidated by Australians, you guys are like New Zealand’s cool older cousin, like sure we might be younger and more progressive than you, but you guys have sex! You’re all just a bunch of Summer Bay hotties, hooking up and schoolies and giving each other crazy nicknames like Jacko, in my eyes.

Why are you threatening to throw your phone off a bridge?!
I recently got a sponsored post for a pair of shorts that have a built-in jockstrap in them and I just thought, I’ve had it, officially! If this is what the algorithm thinks I want, then clearly, we are not compatible. I just don’t understand when everyone decided they need to start their own podcast because they’ve gone through one break up, and then become their own bargain bin version of Jamie Oliver and teach me how to make a viral Caesar Salad. I simply cannot handle it anymore.

When crafting a new show, where do you start? Do you have a method when writing?
The Notes app is my ride or die. I have a long note page with stand-up ideas as well as all my deepest darkest thoughts, it lives in among other note pages that just say 'TO WATCH: Amèlie' and 'carrots, dill, expensive butter'. When I die I want my phone to be crushed in one of the crushing machines you see on Tik Tok, so no other eyes will ever lay on it.

What’s the key (aside from the obvious, funny material) to a good, entertaining stand-up show?
I think a considered use of going cross-eyed is a very effective and powerful tool.

Do you have one figure in your life (famous or not, living or not) who you have looked to when it comes to an inspiration for what you do? Who would that be, and why?
Elaine Stritch, always and forever. I think to swear yourself off the drink for 20 years and then get back on the sauce because you want to enjoy your final years is iconic. Her breakdown attempt to record 'Ladies Who Lunch' in the 1970s cast recording of 'Company', made me into the campy excuse of a man I am today.

What’s one piece of advice you might give a fresh comedian looking to play festivals and make a name for themselves?
A considered use of going cross-eyed is a very effective and powerful tool. And people love a call back!

You made a list of things you loved in 2023. Yes, it’s only been a month. . . But if there’s one thing you could start your 2024 list off with so far, what would it be?
I’ve been mocked mercilessly in my group chats for this but I’m still majorly loving frozen yoghurt. It’s so funny to me the impact they had on NZ eight years ago. I felt like on every corner on every street there was a frozen yoghurt Bar, where you could fill your own cup of frozen yoghurt and pay ten times the price. Well there’s all but two left in NZ now and I love to go there, and relive the magic of 2014. I imagine with the way I’m going I’ll decide to pick up vaping in 2034.

Sell your show with a song lyric.
'Imagine all the people'. . . Who’ve come to watch my show.

Chris Parker 2024 Australia Tour Dates

27 February-2 March – Drama Llama at Rhino Room (Adelaide Fringe)
28 March-21 April –The Westin (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
9-12 May – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival)
16-17 May – Comedy Store (Sydney Comedy Festival)