Nazeem Husssain would be the first to admit he isn't fond of roughing it. Even so, the TV and radio personality proved he could tough it out on Ten's I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! This autumn, Hussain, 30, will take his stand-up show Public Frenemy across Australia, including to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. WHO caught up with Naz, who says the show "was the most amazing experience of my life."
Q: What was your first night of civilisation like?
A: It is so strange. I literally have had zero sleep. Zero minutes. It's weird! I'm wearing jeans now and my socks aren't red and I've got deodorant on and I've showered and I've got product in my hair. I've got a watch, I know what the time is, I've got a mobile, Wi-Fi is back. The world is a great place and I'm starting to re-integrate into it. It's weird. I feel overwhelmed by the response. You do literally forget you are being watched by an audience. You feel very comfortable doing your own thing and even though you know there are cameras, you sort of don't care. It's only when you're out that you start appreciating that lots of people have watched you not care about being yourself!
Q: While people love to see their loved ones, was it out of context or weird to have Shaheeda enter the jungle?
A: Oh, it was very strange because it was like we had our own world, it's a Jungle World, and only the people we live with exist in that world. It's our own ecosystem and all of a sudden, my wife came in there, and she's from the Outside World, and that's a separate world, and it felt like the worlds were colliding and my brain couldn't compute it quick enough. I was overcome with love and emotion but it felt very strange. Also, I've been spending 45 days here and I wanted to convey to my wife how it felt, and how it looked, and her being there gave her a glimpse of that, so I was so blessed to be able to have that opportunity to have her in there with me.
Q: What did she think?
A: She said it looked more difficult than it actually appeared on screen. She said it looked beautiful living outdoors, but the bed's uncomfortable and the food is bland and you guys have really put up with a lot. Maybe she was trying to feed my ego, but she said the right things.
Q: Would you consider a glamping holiday now?
A: Um, if I ever go anywhere, there's going to be concrete, there's going to be carpet, a roof. I'm never going near a tree again. I don't want to touch bark! I hate nature at the moment. Give me a week and I might start appreciating the sky again but at the moment, I do not want to be near anything but humans and concrete and plates and cutlery and technology and computer screens, phones, I could keep going. Glass! Some people think it's like TV jungle. No, it's a real jungle.
Q: And zoos?
A: No. I hate zoos. I don't like animals. I don't trust them any more. I had baboons take poos literally two metres from my head, and I woke up to that. So at the moment? Me and animals don't have a great relationship. I'm sure at some point that will be resolved and I'll start to like them again but at the moment, we're separating.
Q: 15 Tucker Trials. Did you have any idea you had the stomach for this show?
A: I didn't say yes to that. The Australian public, who apparently likes me, said yes to that and my damn gag reflex. They saw that the first time and thought 'oh, that's funny, let's keep putting him through torment.' But I thought if I just keep getting stars, they're not going to put me in. I kept getting stars and they kept putting me in, so I didn't know how to deal with that but it was fun. It was good to get out of camp because it felt like a prison at times.
Q: You said Steve Price owes you a few lunches. What's next in your friendship?
A: Steve and I are staying at a hotel and he very generously — he didn't need to do this — but he paid for an extra night for me and my wife and he tried to not tell me. That kind of guy, he will never say a nice word to my face, but he'll do nice things like that and that's his grumpy-dad way of showing affection. I've got to take him out for lunch. I said I'd cook for him. He said he'd cook for me. It's getting very bromance-y. I don't know if I need to ask him out now. I probably have to speak to his wife to let her know about our relationship. It's getting very intimate. It's very strange. I don't know what my social cred is going to be like after this. Am I going to be more or less liked by people as a result of our friendship? Is he? But it feels right.
Q: Casey Donovan was like a sister to you. How did the relationship develop?
A: Casey and I, I cannot state it enough, she is like one of the most amazing people you'll meet. She's so down to earth and me and her, we just got on immediately. We met each other and we have a very similar sense of humour. We're both just clowns and we danced a lot together, we made up stupid songs together. The back side of her guitar is reflective, and daily, we would talk to each other's reflections. I would be like, 'Hey, Reflective Casey! How are you?' And she'd be like, 'Hey, Reflective Naz! I'm good! How are you?' and we would just have these stupid candid conversations daily to our reflections. It was stupid but we loved it and at one point, Steve had had enough. We were being really loud with our stupid reflective talks and Steve just said, 'Nazeem! Would you just shut the f--- up?' We laughed for like a half and hour after that. I mean, she deserves to take this out. People know her for her singing talent? But she deserves to win this because she's got the biggest heart as well.
Q: Will you be more scared looking back on what you did than actually having gone through it?
A: I'm not really sure if I'm ready to start watching the episodes because I do weird things with my face and I don't want to see myself sleeping. I feel like a creep watching myself sleeping. I know the whole idea of the show is a creepy thing in and of itself, but I don't want to be involved in that! That's weird.
Q: How does this experience inform your humour or comedy? Like, would you adjust the content of Public Frenemy in any way?
A: I came into here with a comedy show that was half written, so I'll definitely be drawing on my experience in the jungle to fill half my show. I just hope people who have known me from this show, new audience members, are not going to be freaked out by some of my more political comedy that might be a little more aggro because I do like to rant in stand-up. But hopefully they know I'm a nice guy underneath that, but I do like to let off some steam onstage. There will definitely be jokes about most people in camp. I've got a lot of things I'd like to say and I think stand-up is a great medium for that.