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Interview with CJ (that Guy on the Live MCM Stage)

So, tell us where we might have seen you?

If you ever attend MCM comic con you have probably heard me more than you have ever seen me. My voice has been echoing around the main halls for the past year. That or if you like bad puns or puppets doing bad things at comic con you may know me from that. If you like your TV news and spoilers, you can find a lot of my work on the site SpoilerTV too. That’s quite a lot thinking about it, I wish I had just gone with my initial thought of “At your mum’s house”.

*Ummm…Thanks CJ

You are currently working with MCM on their Live Stage. How did that come about?

That is a bit of a weird one. I had initially talked to MCM two years ago with ideas I had about the Buzz stage and how they could change it and about hosting. I never heard back from them after that conversation. Then just over a year ago I got a message from the current stage manager who knew of me and seen my comic con musical and pun videos I had posted and asked if I’d like to get involved in the stage. After one show MCM decided to get rid of the MYM Buzz stage (not sure if that was because of me or not). So, the stage manager and I pitched the idea of re-branding it and changing a few things and make the MCM Live stage. With the simple idea of more fun, more interaction and different Q&A’s that you would get on any other panel stage. We also wanted more links to the cosplay community and gaming community so we got Tabitha Lyons (Aka ArtyFakes) to come host with us who is great on stage and a pretty talented cosplayer to boot. At MCM Birmingham this month it will be the one-year anniversary of the new stage and it’s still here, so we must have done something right. Luckily I have Tabby to reign me in if I’m being to much of an idiot on stage, she is a lot more professional than I’ll ever be.

What funny stories can you tell us from your experience being the host on the Live Stage?

There are so many I wouldn’t know where to start. I have spooned guests on the sofa while doing the interview. I have carried some of them on stage to audition to work for them. We have had fans singing songs with the celebrities that they made up as kids. Stealing audience members phones and sending random snapchats to their friends with the guests. I am the first to admit I get bored during long Q&A panels (a lot of guests even admit this too), so any opportunity we can have to have some fun with them always seems to go down well with both guests and audience. It’s great knowing that I have taught big Hollywood celebrities how to speak in a Geordie accent, or them telling me “I’m like the girlfriend no one wants”. I think the funniest thing that I keep is a tally of “How many celebrities I have I peed next to”. I always end up in the urinals at the same time as the guests, purely accidently I swear!

Which guest have you had on your stage which has been the most surprising?

I would never say I am surprised but the one thing I love about hosting and meeting the guests behind the scenes is that you see a side of them you don’t necessarily get a chance to develop from a quick 30 second photo or chatting during an autograph. Most of them always seem in awe/shocked at some of the fans they meet, the stories they here and really do love the experience of going to these events and meeting everyone. I have learnt a lot from voice actors, authors and actors about the whole process they go through to create what we see and love, and sometimes I don’t envy them on how much blood, sweat and tears they go through. I think the main thing is to remember that the characters they portray or what you see and read in interviews only give you a small insight into the person that they are. So, in that sense, maybe all of them surprise/intrigue me in some way.

Who would you like to have on your live stage?

To be totally honest, I’m happy to chat to anyone and everyone. I have watched so many TV shows and Movies that just meeting these people and finding out about the process of making the shows/films and fun experiences they have had make everyone so interesting. If I had to narrow it down I suppose I would say: the cast of Chuck, LOST, Lucifer, Buffy, anyone from Marvel, anyone from DC, anyone from Star Wars, Person of interest, Stranger things, most netflix shows……..should I stop now?

*Yes please!

Do you enjoy having the crowd so close to interact with?

It’s the crowd that makes it so much fun. It’s very rare I will take a break and leave the stage because I am interacting or chatting with the crowd. I’m a strong believer in making all the panels about the audience. Getting their questions heard, playing fun games with them and the guests. Comic Con is all about making new friends and doing something you can enjoy with people of similar interest. I love the idea of getting cosplayers involved and having the guests meeting the people that have taken the time to dress to match their favourite shows (at one point we had 60+ Disney cosplayers with the Disney guests)

You also have fingers in other pies. Such as helping the TV show Lucifer get renewed. How do you feel having had a helping hand with that?

It was so weird how that came about. I do a lot of work with SpoilerTV but I very rarely post articles on the site that are serious or reviews. Lucifer was a show I loved and I personally though it was cancelled way sooner than it should have. So I wrote an article about how the fans can help to promote and get the show back on air. Once the article posted, my phone start going crazy with notifications of people sharing and messaging me thanking me for the article. This ended up with cast and crew tweeting and sharing and talking to me. I then spent a number of weeks just being involved on twitter and chatting with fellow lucifer fans. It was pretty cool getting Tom Ellis (who plays Lucifer) to MCM and meeting so many of the community who were fighting to save the show. I actually met Tom a few weeks back at a different event. I was shocked he spotted me and came over to give me a hug and had a conversation with me. It’s a great show and I can genuinely say the cast and crew are amazingly nice people and deserve every success on Netflix.

You’ve also had a hand with helping us record some fun “Cosplay is not consent” videos. Why did you get involved in this project with FnC?

My mum made me do it, she is a big fan of Food and Cosplay.
Just kidding (well not about the fan part). I had been wanting to do a project with FnC for a very long time and this topic seemed to be something that we both felt strongly about. I am a big fan of videos being funny and memorable but also making a point. Plus who doesn’t like videos involving puppets. It is still a message that needs to be put out there but the video broke over 2 million views so hopefully it has made a difference in some sort of way. If not it was great fun making up the ideas and creating something that people enjoyed.

What future plans do you have that you can tell us?

Currently my video making has been put on hold but I will be hopefully focusing more on the SpoilerTV youtube channel (we have managed to get 40K subs in a year so its growing rapidly). The main thing I will be focusing on will be returning to the MCM Live stage this year. We have a lot of great ideas for the stage this year and the guests at MCM. All I will say is expect less Q&A from me and Tabitha and more fun interactive content with the guests involving the audience. Not many stages offer that opportunity so I’m pretty proud that MCM are trusting us to do new and interesting things at a comic con panel.

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