Hamish Blake on how to keep kids entertained in isolation
For decades, he's made the country laugh and smile when they need it the most. And right now is one of those times. At a time of social distancing, Australian comedian Hamish Blake has been dropping in unexpectedly on Zoom calls around the country, hilariously interrupting morning staff meetings online. It's the latest stunt from the funnyman who has been entertaining us on television, radio and podcasts as part of popular duo Hamish & Andy, alongside Andy Lee, for years. Blake is back on our screens to host LEGO Masters.
What creative things have you been doing to cope in isolation?
Since we seem to be buying stuff online a lot, no box leaves the house. We have a full cardboard city in our living room.
You've been crashing people's Zoom meetings. What's been your favourite one so far?
There's too many to name, but it has brought me tons of joy to get to have a giggle with people all over Australia (and some international). I've been in uni classes, going away drinks, corporate meetings, French lessons, ballet classes, swim team catch ups, mums and bubs' groups, tractor sales meetings, testicle anatomy class … there's nothing I haven't crashed. Actually, there are heaps of things I haven't crashed … I may never stop! Couldn't be a more powerful reminder we're all going through the same thing.
How have you been keeping the kids entertained?
Same way everyone is: projecting a giant bluff to them that I know what I am doing when it comes to homeschooling. Plus, frequent bike rides. Plus, some puppets. Plus, waiting for the new Bluey episode every day.
What's your earliest memory of LEGO?
Going to the LEGO exhibitions at shopping centres and being able to buy a small box. Then a mysterious man saying to me, "One day you will host a show about this brick" before vanishing in a puff of smoke (last bit may or may not be true).
What is the most surprising delight about being on a show about LEGO?
Well, selfishly, there's all the stealing of LEGO
I do. But seriously, it's watching people's creative brilliance come to life before your eyes. I never tire of it. I can't give away too much detail but I loved a few of our fairy-tale builds this year. There were two Jack and the Beanstalks that were amazing and a very cool Hansel and Gretel house. Also the Star Wars episode is epic. The stuff that gets built there is truly out of this world and, literally, galaxy.
How are you and Andy coping with the separation?
We talk every day! So, not so different than the last 15 years.
Across your career, you've had some weird and wonderful moments. What is a standout?
Andy and I have a long list. It usually involves remoteness like holding on to a tiny glacier together floating in the waters of Alaska then catching each other's eyes and having a giggle. Tandem bike riding up the highest road in North America last year was pretty epic. Not just because I had managed to convince Andy to do it for a trophy (a trophy I did not tell him was invented by me) but mostly because no one there gave us any chance. So, standing on the peak we got a bit emotional. Also, I have to mention that
I genuinely got to win a bodybuilding trophy in New York in 2011 because no one else was heavy enough to be in my division. Great mems.
Favourite dad moment?
Every day. All the time. Smell of hair. Weight of their bodies on you. Hot breath whispers in your ears. Laughing in the shower. All the tiny things.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ha! You reckon anyone you asked 10 years ago would predict 2020? Why even try and guess. If it's being on a great adventure with my wife and kids, I'd be a very happy man.
LEGO Masters starts on April 19, 7pm on Nine
Originally published as Hamish Blake on how to keep kids entertained in isolation