Before embarking on his new tour for his latest Christmas Party album, Jimmy 'Giggle' Rees recently dropped into Kinderling Conversation to discuss everything from partying puppets to being a new parent. Here's six things we took away from the happiest man we know.
1. Hoot’s a real joker on set
Turns out our favourite owl gets up to a bit of mischief when the cameras stop. Let’s just say he doesn’t just go out for the Night Watch if you know what we mean. Who knows maybe one day Hoot will get his own show aimed at a more mature audience?
Says Jimmy: “(Between takes) the puppeteer will often do these funny things with Hoot, like pretends he’s had a big night. Coming from this blue, fluffy owl that’s all sweet and lovely and just doing something so adult is so funny and everyone’s wetting themselves laughing. The best thing (about the show) is just the spontaneity on set.”
2. He’s as hyper-happy in real life as he is on the show
Yep, Jimmy Rees in real life is just as high-energy and hilarious as the helium-voiced Jimmy Giggle on the show.
“I’m the same person at home that I am on the TV,” he tells us. “I can’t take many things seriously. I went to uni and did a drama course but I couldn’t take it seriously. We’d come to our final end-of-semester exams and everyone would do these big, researched performances and I was just the dude that was imitating Jim Carrey.”
“We don’t have a studio audience on the set so I’ve got to make the 60-year-old-plus ABC crew laugh. If I can make them laugh, I can make everyone laugh. We’re just entertaining ourselves really.”
Listen to Jimmy's full chat with Kinderling Conversation
3. It took a while to adjust to working with a puppet
We hate to break it to you but Hoot isn’t real - we know ... we’re disappointed too. As Jimmy tells it, it took him quite some time to adjust to acting alongside his puppet partner. Now though, they’re quite the dynamic duo.
“Early on the show, I couldn’t help but look at the puppeteer. It was like “CUT! Jimmy, you looked at him again!” and I’d be like “Whoops! My bad.” But once you believe in the puppet, because he’s got so much character and the the guy that does him is so amazing at putting that life into him, you don’t notice the puppeteer at all.”
4. When it came to album guests, he called his friends
Jimmy Giggle’s new album Christmas Party comes with a pretty impressive guestlist of collaborators cameoing on his chrissy carols, including recent ARIA Hall Of Fame inductee Tina Arena, fellow ABC Kids host Justine Clarke, performer David Campbell, radio host Fifi Box and many more.
“I’d met Justine a whole bunch of times around the ABC studios and she said she’d absolutely do a song. We sang a song called ‘Zat You, Santa Claus?’, which is not that well known carol but it’s a lot of fun. It’s like Santa creeping around the house and leaving presents and we’re a bit scared. My manager actually manages Tina Arena, which was really helpful. We’ve met a few times at different gigs and she’s absolute superstar and she’s now on Jimmy Giggle’s Christmas Party (laughs). We got Lah Lah’s Big Live B and Fifi Box claims she can’t sing, but she did an awesome job. It was really cool.”
5. He travels from Melbourne to Sydney to record Giggle & Hoot
After a few stints living in Sydney where the show’s filmed, Jimmy moved back to Victoria’s Mornington Penisula earlier this year when his partner Tori fell pregnant with son, Lenny. If only he could fly like his co-star, the commute to Sydney wouldn’t be so bad.
“We just thought it was wise for our first child to settle back down there and I’d resume flying up and down every week. It’s a bit harder [commuting] with Lenny, but my mum and dad are just down the road. It’s a nice feeling that the support’s there when I’m away to know.”
6. His son Lenny is his biggest fan, even if Jimmy doesn’t believe it
Master Giggle loves seeing daddy on TV. Or maybe he really loves seeing Hoot - it may be too early to tell. Either way, it still blows Jimmy’s mind to see the effect of his show first-hand.
“I’ve always found parents comments about the show interesting and half of the time, I didn’t believe them because they’d be like ‘(my child is) six months old and whenever the music comes on, he turns his head and watches the show’. I was like ‘really?’ but now Lenny does that too. When the theme comes on, he looks straight at the TV and watches Giggle & Hoot… I think it’s the colour and movement and songs.”
Check out Jimmy's tour dates via Live Nation. Also check out his recent Regression Session interview
Introduce kids to the orchestra with Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s latest Family Concert
Who Needs a Conductor Anyway? is a hilarious musical rollercoaster kids will love.
Getting to know: Luke Escombe from The Vegetable Plot
There's more to the singer/songwriter than his passion for veggies.
All that jazz: 15 jazz-inspired baby names
Hit the right note with these classic names inspired by some of the world's most famous jazz masters.
The power of lullabies and why you should sing them
Why lullabies are good for your kids, and you too!
Parents reveal top tunes for Easter road trips with kids
We've surveyed over 1,000 parents to find out Australia's fave road trip tunes!
Yumi Stynes' Fresh Air Mixtape for the road
She stopped by to share her favourite songs for a long drive!
Exclusive: Watch Lah-Lah perform their new single 'Having Fun'
They treat us to 'Brush Your Teeth' live too.
Jimmy Barnes teams up with The Wiggles for new album and book
Anthony, Emma, Simon and veteran Jeff join Barnesy on the new tunes.