Real Life

Mum-of-five Krystine Nation’s relatable comedy career

The stand-up mum laughs her family never knew she was funny
Photos: Bernadette Peters

It’s an issue many women can relate to – and when comedy queen Krystine Nation tells the tale, others find themselves in the same boat.

As the mum-of-five does her comedy show, she has her audience in fits of laughter regaling how having children led to a light bladder weakness – one that resulted in her being in A&E with melted undies, being seen by a hot doctor.

Krystine – the comic star of Bed, Birth & Beyond, which featured at this year’s NZ Comedy Festival – reveals how she was playing indoor soccer when it all started to unravel.

“I was meeting a friend later, but because I had the weakest bladder in the world, I weed a bit. My dad’s house was across from where I was playing, so I ran my underwear through the wash and had a shower.

“He didn’t have a dryer – he’s a single truck driver. I didn’t mind putting them on wet… I just didn’t want to put them on cold.”

So she popped them into his microwave on top of the fridge.

Krystine’s domestic disasters are proving to be a hit with audiences.

“I’m quite short and I put my hand up not knowing they had melted. They stuck to my hand and I’m trying to shake them off as I’m in so much pain. The melted elastic even sprayed my chest.

“At A&E, I had the hottest doctor and he said, ‘If your underwear is stuck to you, what are you wearing?’ It was so embarrassing.”

Cringe-worthy, but great content when you share all the highs and lows of your life, not only in comic shows, but also on your social media. It all started when the Foxton woman began documenting
the good, bad and ugly on her @real_life_wifenz Instagram page.

Married at 19, her first daughter Natalia, now 15, was born when she was 21. Miya, 14, was born a year later.

“Then my dad paid for me to get a divorce for my 24th birthday,” says Krystine. “I was a single mum with my two girls for five years. Me and them against the world. Until I met Shayne – a man that didn’t want to have children. We ended up with three more, so now we have a beautiful blended family.”

Heavily pregnant with their first son Carter, now six, Krystine was aware her surname would not be the same as any of her children, so she legally changed to Shayne’s surname – a move that prompted him to propose only weeks later.

“We’ve been together 10 years,” she tells. “We got married in a courthouse seven years ago, days before Christmas. We were saving to buy a house, so we just booked it in. His best man was his female co-worker. My maid of honour was my male best friend. We went to the pub afterwards, even though I couldn’t drink.”

They’ve since had two more sons, Ryley, now five, and Maddox, three.

With Shayne and the kids (from left): Natalia, Ryley, Maddox, Miya and Carter.

About five years ago, the couple started to coach a youth weightlifting team and, already in debt trying to get two competitors to represent New Zealand internationally, they needed to fundraise. With a social media following of 50,000, comedy was a natural step – albeit a challenge for Krystine, 36, to perform in front of 150 people, having never done any public speaking before.

She nailed it and has been hooked ever since. For the past two years, Krystine has done regular shows “just talking about my life”.

With her daughters now teenagers, she gives them full right of refusal to be mentioned, aware their friends’ mums and teachers follow her or attend shows. One person who doesn’t attend is Shayne, 44. “He’s like, ‘Nah, I get enough of it at home!’”

As her Instagram handle suggests, there’s no sugar-coating Krystine’s life.

“I suffer from anxiety and depression. I went through postnatal depression and I lost about 30 kilos. No one was sleeping. A lot of what I was going through was put down – ‘You’ve just got to get on with it.’ I hope my conversations show people they can speak up.”

And they do, with hundreds messaging Krystine.

“Women who are leaving domestic violence relationships or trying to manoeuvre the health system. I’ve been on Zoom calls with people I’ve never met talking about how to get medicated for anxiety or what kind of pelvic floor exercises they can do.”

And she, too, is still vulnerable – her show is in Wellington only as she was too scared to attempt other centres, despite her now having a following of almost 180,000.

“I’ve got to start boosting myself a bit more,” she says, reflecting on how as a child she was an introvert, growing up in her grandmother’s rest home.

“I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world. When I do my shows, I’ll have about 100 people come. We hang out, we laugh and I’ll try and meet as many as I can. We have fun.”

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