190, flirty, and thriving by Madelaine Empson
Jonny Brugh is a Billy T Award-winning comedian, actor, and filmmaker from Pōneke. Since starring as Deacon, the very sexy dancing vampire in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s smash-hit comedy film What We Do in the Shadows, he has presented stand-up sets all over the world, co-created TVNZ’s Educators, thrown 20 pieces of rock melon at Christian Bale on the set of Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder (which he also starred in), and much more.
Having performed in the very first NZ International Comedy Festival 30 years ago, Brugh returns this year with Deacon the Vampire – Live. As Deacon, he’ll attempt to conjure his long-lost ex-girlfriend from the dead in a season of macabre, sexy storytelling and erotic dancing from the 23rd to the 27th of May at BATS Theatre. I interviewed Deacon about what it’s like to be a vampire in this day and age and what he does in the shadows.
How does it feel to be 190 years old?
Feels great! It all depends on if I’ve had a good meal and a sleep actually. If I go out and enjoy ‘fine dining’ I can feel like a new man! But if I just mooch down the ‘bus stop’ I know I’ll just feel bloated.
The world has changed a lot, there are computers now. They’re so annoying! So many buttons and questions, although I really enjoy watching a good sunrise or sunset on the internet. It does get pretty boring living in New Zealand. There’s only so much knitting while listening to talk-back radio a vampire can take before flying into a rage over regional policy and smashing up the kitchen. One thing I’m really loving about New Zealand is how passionate farmers are about the arts! I just love how enthusiastic they get about modernist painting or absurdist theatre. One farmer I had strapped to a chair was so enthusiastic about making a solo play that we workshopped a whole play right there on the spot. It was about a farmer who hated his life and wanted to become a dancer. But he couldn’t coz he got eaten by a vampire. So sad, so relatable.
What do you think of humanity and the local dating/eating pool today?
I feel like the dating pool in New Zealand is very kind and generous, they will drink a large amount of a drink called rosé and go all floppy and sad. I wonder if this is because they are intimidated by meeting a minor celebrity like myself. The greatest and most loving of all dates is the one who will order a whole bottle of a drink called ‘pino gree’. This drink is extremely acrid to the nose and makes the drinker quite sick, such a selfless act to insist on drinking all the pino gree, just to help expel all their food onto the wall, like a mother bird might do for its chicks. So kind, so loving. After all this graciousness I often find myself feeling guilty and going home without dinner.