David Hartnell: One minute interview with JP

JP is a Frenchman, now a Kiwi, who uses comedy magic and circus art to entertain.

How did you get started as an entertainer?
I don’t think you start being an entertainer, your either are or not. I truly believe that I was born to be an entertainer.

How did you entertain yourself during lockdown?
I had a five year old boy, and a wife in lockdown with me. I gave myself this challenge to make a video or post everyday called ‘A Frenchman confined to NZ’. That was a lot of fun and quite challenging. From day one until day 34 you can see the videos on my Facebook page ‘Le Cirque de JP’ and Instagram: @presentingjp

You are an award winning magician and a member of the Brotherhood of Auckland, magicians who meet at the Surrey Motor Inn in Grey Lynn. What happens when magicians meet up?
They can’t talk about anything other than magic, and discuss new magic tricks and how we can improve the old ones. They are a great group of people always ready to help with new ideas. It is great to be with other likeminded entertainers. I’m very lucky to be a member of the club.

What was your childhood like in France?
Normal, well that was until I discovered wine ha ha!

Do New Zealand audiences differ from French audiences?
I think New Zealand audiences are like diesel cars, very shy, slow to start, but once warmed up they are great.

Do you come from a show business background?
Not at all. My mum looked after my brother and I and my dad was a carpenter. Unfortunately my parents divorced when I was 12. I reconnected with my dad 18 years later (this is a too long story to go into here) at the age of 30; he told me that he was a professional magician. That is a true story. Now how crazy is that, us both ending up as professional magicians and neither of us knowing that until we met up all those years later. True life is sometimes like a soap opera.

Complete the sentence: I will die happy if...?
I can get good French wine in heaven. I live in hope.

What’s your favorite TV show and why?
I don’t have a TV at home and never have. What is your idea of a dream holiday? Rajat Ampat Indonesia, which is one of the best untouched diving spots on earth. I love diving. I go there as often as I can.

Tell us what is he most kiwi thing about you?
That is very easy, it’s my passport!

Do you like an aisle or window seat on a plane?
As long as it’s business class I don’t mind.

What job would you do other than your own and why?
Working in eco environmental, a project to protect our oceans. I was proud to be part of this eco volunteering project two years ago with my best friend in Indonesia to protect and replant corals. There is a video link I made on my YouTube channel about it (Le Cirque de JP) a truly beautiful experience, so good to feel useful and give it back to nature. The title of the video is Les Bajos Mission komodo 2018 Coral Guardian.

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who never took life too seriously and hopefully brought happiness and craziness into people’s life to make them happy.

What is your favourite time of the day?
Morning, I always wake up with lots of energy.

What is your most treasured possession?
This is the easiest question to answer. It’s my son.

Is there anything that you are insecure about?
My answers to your questions.

Tell us something very few people know about you?
I studied at the Circus School in France and I worked as a flying trapeze artist.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Dancing for sure – between you and I - I dance like a broom stick.

What is your greatest weakness?
Not much filter when I speak, everything is funny to me. I don’t take many things seriously which sometimes gets me into a lot of trouble - need I say more?

Do you have a party trick?
Well, remember David, I’m a magician, so I have hundred’s of party tricks! (DAVID HARTNELL MNZM)