Arts

Stalkers can be a thing of comedy? Apparently so

There’s nothing quite like starting your comedy career at 15 only to be harassed by what could have been a stalker. That was the case for comedy newbie James Mustapic, Sasha Borissenko writes. 

Anxiety, daddy issues, homosexuality, spinsterdom, and creepy old dudes from the US, there is nothing 22-year-old James Mustapic didn’t shy away from in his show, Mildly Wild, for this year’s International Comedy Festival.

“I’m quite an anxious guy. I’m also a Sagittarian. Sure, there are definitely dark elements to the show but I only do things that I find funny. And I think a lot of people can relate to what I talk about. If you don’t laugh, you cry, right?!”

It's the grimness that sets him apart. Mustapic revels in it to the point of hysteria.

As for the dubious old man, he started contacting then 15-year-old Mustapic during a time when he was experimenting with low-fi videos.

“When I was a kid I didn’t have many friends so I started making YouTube videos to get some. They were, let’s just say endearingly low-fi. I loved Shortland Street so I would do a weekly roundup and Creepy Guy just added me on Facebook and that was that.”

And, thinking nothing of it, Mustapic added him back. And so it was.

A man, who Mustapic calls "Creepy Guy" would contact him night and day.

“At the time, I had no fans. No one cared about me so I was happy to have some love. I didn’t think it was creepy, it was funny, if anything. I would occasionally mess with him.

At 15, Mustapic thought the correspondence was harmless, he would even "string him along" for a laugh, he says. 

"He started by saying his wife and he were big fans but in hindsight, I think that was more of a cover up. He later told me his marriage wasn’t going so well. Looking at the messages now, holy sh&* they were so crazy. I mean drinking himself to death if I stopped doing videos? What is that?!”

It all reached a tipping point when Creepy Guy found out his address and sent him an SD card for his camera. “I didn’t think anything of it, I just threw it away. I just didn’t like the fact he had my address. I thought the gesture was simply him helping me become a filmmaker. But who’s to know what was on them.”

He never went to the police or told his mum. “But surely she knew. I mean surely.”

When the messages from Creepy Guy became too much for Mustapic, he decided to put an end to them. 

Creepy Guy didn’t deter Mustapic from continuing to make videos but he’s wary about pursuing a full-time career in comedy. “It’s so draining. The videos take up a lot of time. I love doing them but I don’t find performing to be amazingly rewarding, even if it’s a great gig. I don’t go off saying, ‘Yes, that was amazing,’ I’m more like ‘I’m so exhausted.”

Like Stockholm Syndrome? “Yes, like Stockholm Syndrome,” he says.

He once had a couple of middle-aged women come up to him after his show as they were so excited to meet a gay person. “Hilariously they said, ‘You must be sleeping with so many guys, when you have sex be sure to be safe.’ They were nice, but strange.”

- A surprising interaction seeing as Mustapic plays up his single status. “I mean I’m definitely not as desperate as I portray myself. I’ve high standards, which is why I like to think I’m single,” he laughs.

One thing's for sure, Mustapic is your quintessential millennial. “I thought I invented cbf - [acronym for ‘can’t be f*&^%’ - all the kids are using it] - I was 10 and I came up with it on my own and then I saw other people were using it. I should have gotten some IP before it got big.”

But 'cbb' - can't be bothered - is something he hasn't heard of. "Celebrity Big Brother?" Not quite. 

He did have me on the technical front, mind you. Going 'incognito' on one's computer, is something I've never dabbled in. “Awwwww don’t you know?!" He says patronisingly, yet endearingly. "It means anything you type in doesn’t go into your history. You should check it out, it can be helpful for, like, looking up 'whether you can eat food that ants have touched' and no one will find out."

Noted. 

We recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to sustain and expand LockerRoom, our section dedicated to covering New Zealand women in sport. We created LockerRoom to fill a gap in sports journalism, sharing inspirational, compelling and important stories that would otherwise go untold. To join our team as a supporter, simply click the red button.

Comments

Newsroom does not allow comments directly on this website. We invite all readers who wish to discuss a story or leave a comment to visit us on Twitter or Facebook. We also welcome your news tips and feedback via email: contact@newsroom.co.nz. Thank you.

PARTNERS