Chapter 4 Hamilton Christmas Vignettes: The Television Presenter
“I used to take Christmas for granted until my first London Christmas, which was hideous, and reminded me how lucky I had it at home. It wasn’t London’s fault – I’d just been through a traumatising break up with the girl I’d moved over there to be with. So I actually had nobody to spend the day with – that would be unthinkable in New Zealand. I had managed to secure an invite for Christmas dinner and I was to be picked up at 4pm (London public transport doesn’t work on Christmas day). The hours between waking up and 4pm were the longest of my life. I had nothing to do, no one to talk to and only thing to occupy my time – preparing a entrée I’d promised to make for the dinner. I went with a classic – prawn cocktail – and because I had the time I made it all from scratch, no shortcuts.
I transported all the elements of the cocktail in ziplock bags – Clapham to Hackney holding a kilo of rapidly thawing prawns. When I arrived for dinner I learnt that my hosts were not very adventurous eaters – they asked if they could have theirs without the sauce, or the avocado, or the prawns.
So that’s how I truly learnt to love Christmas in Hamilton – while serving martini glasses full of shredded iceberg lettuce in North London”.
We know you as a foodie, a comedian, the best-looking of the Seven Sharp presenters and the brother of Biddy Mulligan. How would you best describe what you do?
Probably “humourist” is the best word at the minute. “Comedian” fit well for a while but it’s been years now since I did pure stand up so the other comics will start getting shirty if I keep writing that down on my immigration card.
What is your Hamilton citizenship status?
I’m born and bred – kindergarten to university all within a kilometre or two.
Where do you currently call home?
Grey Lynn, Auckland. More specifically Arch Hill, the part of Grey Lynn you can still (barely, and with a bit of luck) afford to buy a first home.
Will you be in Hamilton for Christmas?
I’ll be there a week out from Christmas. My family have all moved away now but I’m marrying a Hamilton girl, so there are happily lots of reasons to visit often.
In 10 years’ time, you will look on 2013 as the year that you…
Stopped being able to stumble down Hood Street without people noticing.
Have you been naughty or nice this year?
Nice! Painfully, patiently nice. I’ve had a lot of things said about me and the TV show I’m on. In an ideal world I could respond to them all and wind them back up in return, but it does you no good in the long (or short or medium) term. You can’t win an argument with a troll, because they always have more time and energy for the fight than you do.
What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?
A permanent third cohost.
Hamilton’s best-kept Christmas secret is…
$1 jugs at the Hillcrest Tavern on Christmas Eve. Although I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen any more. Actually I used to love Christmas Eve in Hamilton, particularly in my early 20s. Everyone would fly back from wherever they were living/working and you’d catch up as if it was old times and none of you had ever left.
Get your Jesse fix every weeknight on Seven Sharp, at 7pm (sharp!) on TV One and Tweet him @jessemulligan. Alternatively, catch him in person, filming live at Garden Place tonight!