Tee and Vee: 5 things I've learned working on Paul Henry

  • 05/04/2016
Verity Johnson (Paul Henry)
Verity Johnson (Paul Henry)

5 things I’ve learned from working on Paul Henry so far

1. There is no such thing as an inappropriate napping spot

I used to think corporate events were for bitching about every other person in the room while stockpiling canapés. But that’s all changed since I started at Paul Henry. After two weeks of 3.30am starts, I was at a corporate function when I realised, at a daring 8pm, that I was going to pass out from sleep deprivation. I excused myself, found the comfiest conference room couch and took a nap. After that I realised every situation is just a potential napping opportunity. On the bus, at the dentist, mid-supermarket shop while wrist-deep in frozen peas…the only thing stopping you is your sense of social propriety. Luckily that’s not a problem for me now. When you start at 3.30am, your sense of social decorum is so depleted that you'd happily publicly pash a walrus if it meant you could get an extra hours kip.

2.  My accent makes me sound like a B-grade Australian movie actress trying impersonate Kate Middleton

I realised two things about my voice. One, my accent often slips between English, Kiwi and Australian (a produce of having spent significant chunks of my life living in all three countries). Two, it’s very deep…like a chain smoker…or a bullfrog. People have been Facebooking and asking where my accent is from. I can only say that it’s pan-Commonwealth. Or my best impersonation of a chain-smoking amphibian with an ethnicity crisis. 

3. Trolls really aren’t worth getting upset over

I’ve suddenly become a target for online abuse. I’m used to a little bit from jilted readers of my columns who objected to my strain of softie/leftie/feministy opinions, but it wasn’t too bad. However since starting this job, people have begun to comment on the Paul Henry Facebook page, complaining to Paul that I’m a floozy, air head, bimbo…etc. (I don’t think they realise that I look after the show’s social media pages. Clearly the name ‘social media presenter’ isn’t indication enough). At first, I was upset, then I realised that not everyone would like me. Of course there would be differing opinions on my style. I shouldn’t pay any attention to someone who can’t even spell the abusive terms correctly or get my name right - Ferity, Felicity... for the first time ever it also made me grateful for my school yard nickname, KFC. (Verity... Variety... Variety bucket….genius, no?) After you start life being known as a fatty, greasy chicken derivative, anything else is an improvement. 

4. The “DO NOT EXCEED TWO CANS IN A DAY” notice on Red Bull is really just a guideline

By 6am I’ve already had 4. It’s fine. Completely normal. Totally do-able. I just start tasting colours.

5. You will always, always get brain freeze when you least need it

You will always tell yourself you’re ready. You always tell yourself you know the story inside out.  You know the key characters...in fact, you can recite the weight, height and lineage of the boyfriend’s aunt’s sister’s neighbour’s local dairy owner’s cat. Then you go on air, Paul asks you a question and your brain freezes. The air catches in your throat, the sweat drips down the base of your neck and you check in on your brain, only to find it dancing the can-can. “Hah!” it giggles, “burn...brain freeze on live national TV…ok I'll tell you the answer... it's... [cue: can can music] dah, dah, da-da-da-da, dah dah”