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Newlywed Chris Parker ‘This is all I ever wanted!’

The comedian opens up about the wedding of his dreams, having a breakdown and his new book

In numerology, 31 is said to be a lucky “super prime” number – and 31 has definitely been a prime year for Chris Parker, with the comedian winning Celebrity Treasure Island, marrying the man of his dreams and writing his very first book… eventually.

But it almost didn’t happen for the Christchurch-born funnyman, who reveals in his hilarious autobiography Here For A Good Time that he woke up with a deep fear and panic that he was never going to finish the book. It was only the goal of his wedding to designer Micheal McCabe that forced him to knuckle down to complete the raw, engaging account of his life.

“When we finally got our lives back after the pandemic, I couldn’t wait to get back to work, but then I just felt like I wasn’t living my life – I was only working,” he tells Woman’s Day from the sunroom of the couple’s Auckland home, where he does most of his writing.

“At the end of last year, a sitcom that I’d been developing for five years finally got greenlit, a web documentary got greenlit, I got cast on Taskmaster and then my comedy special got greenlit, as well as the book – and it was all due within eight months of each other.

“Just one of those things would’ve been great, but everything had backed onto each other and it definitely caused a breakdown. I’ve tried to keep it a little bit buoyant in the book, but it was a real sign that I had reached my limit and I was not happy.

“The only thing I could do was keep working. The wedding was a destination for me to get to. I cleared 11 days in a row – nothing on, just wedding time. I was really excited about putting my relationship first.”

The pair had their stag do at an alpaca farm, a place where Chris went when he was having “a full workload breakdown”. He and his friends spent time cooking as a group and playing board games.

Then on the first of October, Chris and Micheal, 28, had an intimate wedding at Auckland’s iconic Hollywood Cinema, an occasion that was purposely informal as the comedian was determined to not overshadow his own wedding.

“I didn’t want to perform on the day,” he explains. “I wanted to be experiencing it and connecting with everyone. I tried to purposely eliminate moments of performance from the wedding for that reason. It wasn’t about me – it was about us. So we hosted the night, and brought together our friends and families.”

Among the 80 guests were Chris’ former flatmate Brynley Stent, drama school mates Hayley Sproull and Leon Wadham, Treasure Island co-star Joe Daymond, Shortland Street actress Kura Forrester,

and fellow comedians Tom Sainsbury and Eli Matthewson.

Chris’ suit was a peachy orange, while Micheal’s was hot pink, both designed by his dear friend Colin Morley. Chris says, “Micheal and I picked out our own fabrics and linings, and Colin created our dream suits. We aren’t afraid of a bit of colour.”

The theatre’s big screen featured a photo montage of their seven years together, and the celebrant was playwright and poet Jo Randerson, who “carried us through the day with so much grace and humour”.

Asked if it all went to plan, Chris replies, “Our big purpose behind getting married was to unify our two beautiful families, so we thought the best way to do that was over dinner with us getting married between entrees and mains.

“It resulted in such a beautifully earnest, meaningful and emotional day. Micheal and I can’t believe how well it all played out. We knew our wedding had been a success when we saw Eli doing the jive with Micheal’s mum on the dance floor.”

As for the vows, he says, “They’re so incredibly personal and specific to us as a couple that I just want them to stay between us and the people in the room. Although we did allow for one joke, which was vowing to learn each other’s phone numbers off by heart as a symbol of our commitment to each other, then we both recited the number out loud. It was a much-needed comedic reprieve to a very emotionally charged moment.”

A special love story

Chris met Micheal through Tinder and couldn’t believe that the “incredibly stylish and cool” person he saw on the dating app was even better in person. They met for milkshakes – Micheal doesn’t drink and Chris was broke – and talked nonstop for hours.

“Micheal radiated joy, kindness and fun,” Chris recalls in his book. “He was engaging, and asked me questions and listened to the answers… We walked down Ponsonby Road and he reached out to hold my hand. It was finally happening. I was having my Carrie Bradshaw moment, being courted by some charming, hot architecture student. On paper, it sounded perfect and to be experiencing it in real life was even better.”

Chris invited his date back to his damp flat “for a cup of tea”, he recalls. “The following morning, I woke up beside Micheal in my bed and I was filled with the giddy sensation that I might have just met someone really special. Seven years into the relationship, when we offer each other a cup of tea, we do actually mean tea.”

There were certainly a few frogs before Chris met his prince and he was incredibly mindful that he share those experiences in the book to help others coming to terms with their sexuality, he tells us.

“I really took it seriously. When writing, I kept asking, ‘Is this honest, Chris, or are you saying something for comedic effect?’ The chapter about dating is the most raw. It’s always a real hard time coming out. Sexuality is actually quite a gritty subject, and there are a lot of mistakes and a lot of shame.

“Articulating that was kind of cathartic. I was working through my own shame as well. I really want to offer the gay 30-something voice in something that feels contemporary and fun – not

just a scrubbed-up, artificial Disney version.”

Chris was surprised when Micheal proposed, as a wedding wasn’t as important to him as it was to Chris. The comedian admits, “I’ve always wanted to get married because my parents have been together forever – and he could see that it was important for me. Getting married is like putting a marker in the sand, then you keep walking and you can look back to see where you started.”

Turning his thoughts to the future, Chris says he and Micheal don’t want kids of their own. “But that’s not to say that I don’t love being around children,” he adds. “I just love sleeping in and going out for brunch at midday more. But I’m happy to be a ‘guncle’, which I believe is a portmanteau for gay uncle.”

Now he’s a newlywed, his book is complete, he’s back on stage and he’s got a few more shows in the pipeline, Chris is the happiest he’s ever been.

“This is all that I have ever wanted,” he grins. “Since I was a child, my dream has been to be a busy working performer, but I don’t feel you ever hear people tell you how hard it is to achieve your dreams.

“Micheal is always there in small ways. He’ll buy flowers or make dinner – he totally gets it. There’s no guilt from him. He’ll say, ‘I understand it’s important for you and understand that it’s gonna require a lot of time. Just go for it!’ I really couldn’t have done this year without him.”

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