He’s made hundreds of thousands of little kids happy with those catchy songs and that irrepressible TV personality. Now Jimmy Giggle, aka Jimmy Rees, is a dad himself and entertaining his most important audience to date: eight-month-old son Lenny.
Take us back to the moment you first met Lenny. What are your strongest memories of that day?
It was rather surreal. All the planning and expectation just went away and we had a little man to take care of. I remember holding him after the recovery for Tori and all that had calmed down. It was strange to have this little dude that was ours – I couldn’t stop studying him.
What’s the best thing about being a Dad?
It’s hard to say coz things keep getting better and better. I think it’s the journey. It’s difficult and exhausting at times but all that is forgotten when I see Lenny try something new or discover something for the first time. He has started to talk a lot now and I get the whole “DAAAAADDDYYYYYY” when I get home from work, it’s the best!
What’s the most challenging part of your role as Dad so far?
We are just getting to the stage where we have to start a bit of discipline with Lenny. It’s so hard, I’ve got no idea what to do – maybe I’m just too soft.
How would you like Lenny to describe you in three words?
Cautious yet expressive, funny!
What lessons did your own Dad teach you that you would like to impart on Lenny as he grows up?
My dad was all about having a fun time, using our imaginations and following those dreams you had. He taught me and my brothers that you can do anything if you put your heart into it. He always wanted us to have a go and if you didn’t like it at least you said you did it. I think those are valuable lessons to pass on to the little Lenny boy.
Tell us briefly about your own childhood. Where did you grow up? Siblings? What did you want to be in life? What extra-curricular activities did you do?
I grew up in Mt Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with mum, dad and my two brothers (I’m the middle child!). We had a big family home with a decent back yard and a council reserve next to our place. We spent a lot of hours in the ‘forest’ pretending we were all sorts of things. It was a great upbringing. My parents encouraged our imaginations to run wild, and they did. I loved drama at school and I played footy (AFL) from a young age into my 20s! I performed in a few amateur musical theatre shows around the local area too.
Tell us about a ‘normal’ day in the Jimmy Rees household nowadays? Are you a hands-on Dad?
When I’m home and not working, Tori and I like to take Lenny down the park (there is one 100m from our place) with our dog Lexi ,who Lenny adores! Then we might hit up a cafe for brunch and a babychino. Maybe the beach if the day is good. Lenny will have a snooze in the middle of the day, then we might chill at home and have some dinner together and then begins the mission of bedtime. Yeah I’m hands on – I love to get out and about with Lenny and Tori, so many things to explore with Lenny.
Has Lenny met Hoot yet? What does Hoot think of mini-Jimmy?
Ha-ha, yes he has! Hoot is resigned to the fact that Lenny is more important than him now, but it took some months.
Does ‘Jimmy Giggle’ make regular appearances at home for Lenny – I’m guessing there would be Jimmy Giggle concerts performed for a crowd of two most weeks?!
Ha! Hmm not really…the costume stays at work under lock and key. I do sing him some Giggle and Hoot night time tunes at bedtime however – they are great songs.
Do Tori and Lenny travel with you and your work? Will they be with you when you are in Brisbane in December?
We have tried the ‘family on tour’ thing before and it hasn’t gone too well, ha-ha! I think maybe all the different rooms and beds and food and travel with not much routine threw little Lenny a bit, so it really depends on how long I’m away for. If it’s a really long time away the. We might organise something but generally they are short periods so they tend to stay at home.
Does being Jimmy Giggle make you a better father or does being a father make you an even better Jimmy Giggle?
Maybe a little of both. Jimmy Giggle has allowed me to do some things I would never have thought I’d be doing in my life, for instance, making an impact in sick children’s lives or simply bringing joy and laughter to kids at home. So I guess those experiences make me a better dad in a way. I also love it so it makes me happy. And being a dad definitely makes me a better Jimmy Giggle, especially when we are out doing live shows or I’m making an appearance somewhere. I get it all now. I know what people are going through with kids. I understand the life of a parent – Ha-ha!
What keeps you motivated in your work?
I love being in the studio and bringing the scripts we get to life but I think what keeps me motivated is these little tours we do! Meeting the kids and families who watch the show and seeing them react to the content we create is wonderful.
If your family had a reality TV show, what would it be called?
How to Guess Your Way Through Parenting. ☺
How will you spend Christmas Day as a family of three?
We will spoil the little fella in the morning. Then he will be spoilt by my family and then Tori’s family and then maybe after all the food and sugar and singing and presents he might… maybe… go to sleep!
What’s going to be under the Christmas tree from Santa for Lenny, do you think?
Hmmm, maybe a scooter, perhaps a big box of painting utensils, and anything with wheels!! Lenny will have to write his Christmas letter to Santa!
What’s your best tip for new parents?
Expect the unexpected, embrace it, and most of all laugh. You never know what is around the corner so just go with the flow. 🙂
Brisbane welcomes Giggle and Hoot!
Giggle and Hoot’s Magical Christmas comes to the Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for three shows only on Saturday December 10 as part of the SummerSet program.
Recommended for ages 2+, this live musical spectacular stars Jimmy Giggle, Hoot, Hootabelle, Gigglefangs, Pirate Hootbeard and of course Hootoclaws and his dancing elves. It’s Christmas time in the land of Giggle and Hoot and everybody is busy getting ready for the arrival of Hootoclaws for his special Christmas Night Watch. Trees are being decorated, presents are being wrapped and all that is left to do is twinklify the very dark night sky. But what happens when all the stars suddenly disappear?
Visit www.qpac.com.au or phone 136 246