Me & My Car: You gotta laugh — meet Tom Sainsbury and his Honda Jazz
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Driven chats to comedian Tom Sainsbury about his Honda, distaste for SUVs, and more
What are you driving?
It’s a 1998 lavender Honda Jazz, manual and I inherited it from my dear grandmother, Betty. She had it until she passed away at 91. It still has her spork (spoon fork) in the glovebox. Me inheriting it wasn’t dictated in the will, it was simply that I needed a car and this one was available. My mother did have it for a small time but then she got her hands on a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, which is now her pride and joy.
What do you like about the Jazz?
I’m not sure if like comes into it. I use it daily, yes, but it’s out of necessity. I like that it can fit into small parks. It also has DUH in the number plate, so I’m never confused about which one is mine. If I could choose any car, I don’t think I would choose one called a Jazz; though maybe it suits my jazzy hands.
How does it fit your personality?
The dents reflect the dents I get to my ego on the daily. Its lavender colour reminds me that I will never be the butch bloke I want to be. The ease it has with parking is like my ability to fit into most social situations.
It seems a practical car. Not a hint of boy racer or midlife crisis in sight?
The fact that I am being asked about midlife crises is plunging me into a midlife crisis. So maybe I should ditch the Jazz and get my hands on a Ferrari. If only I could afford one. And I missed my boy racer window simply by owning a white Toyota Starlet during those years. My parents bought it for the three kids to drive. I loathed its name. What kind of teenage boy drives a Starlet? I’ll tell you who — Tom Sainsbury.
Who else drives your Jazz?
No one else wants to drive it.
You’re known for your send-ups of our politicians. Which Kiwi politician is your car most like?
Maureen Pugh, National MP. Both Maureen and my Honda Jazz are understated, feminine, small and do their job without much fuss.
Why do you think you have resisted the relentless trend to SUVs?
I would be so embarrassed driving one around. It’s such a statement vehicle, people would just assume I was a Ponsonby mother picking up her kids from primary school.
You’re not a fan of them?
Imagine a troop of monkeys. There is an alpha male with big muscles who is the most stupid. That is the SUV of the car world.
So, you’re not obsessed with cars?
I’m only interested in cars in the way they reflect their owner. There are some real statement cars out there that leave me wondering “What the hell were they thinking when they bought that?”
Do you have a dream car?
A Leaf. I’d like to be more of a greenie. Their silence, however, is kinda creepy.
Strangest printable thing you’ve done in a car?
Driving it into a film studio and filming an entire web series in it. It’s called Stake Out. Check it out on TVNZ OnDemand.
It’s Sunday, the weather’s fine, where do you go for a drive?
To the beach to do doughnuts in the sand. Jokes! But definitely to the beach, Piha or Bethells. Or Narrow Neck on the Shore.
How do you feel about electric and driverless cars?
Yes, please! I’d love to nap in my car on the motorway while it’s driving itself.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
Not drivers. Pedestrians irritate me. The worst are the ones that reach a pedestrian-only traffic light. They push the button, see no cars are coming, and then cross anyway. And then by the time you reach the lights, it’s gone red. And you have to wait there, for no one.