Interview with Jack Gregson

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Jack Gregson, walking around in San Diego, finds a wooden banister, where, if only for a moment, he rests his hands. He begins drumming his index finger, restively, against the glossy wooden frame, almost as if his outstretched digit was a cigarette that was being instinctually snuffed out on a makeshift ashtray. “You guys applaud at the trailers,” Gregson says, commenting on the differences between American and English audiences.  “I was amazed; I went to see ‘Inception’ and the crowd cheered at the “Tron Legacy” trailer.” Gregson stops, looks off into the distance, then continues. “After the Harry Potter trailer some guy yelled ‘Fuck Twilight’. British audiences don’t get worked up like that, we just complain to our significant others forcing them to divorce us. ”

Gregson is an actor, writer, director and comedian. The London born entertainer, speaking with an accent that, resting upon a virginal ear of an American, sounds innately regal and sophisticated (we, in the states, have a primordial fear of proper enunciation). Gregson has been writing comedy for years, and, when looking at his resume, has been waltzing around in the show business since a small child, having had been on The Disney Channel and “This is Your Life”. “I can barely remember the ‘This Is Your Life’ filming as I was only 3,” Gregson says, wheeling up his hands like a pulley to readjust his glasses. “I remember being scared of the camera man because he had dreadlocks.” The actor, now at twenty-years of age, admits that, while dabbling in the arts, has little sense of introversion and reservation – he loves the center of attention, he says, his lips curling into a serpentine smile.

This is Gregson’s first time in America. He skipped from New York to San Diego, having, what he calls,  “an Americana experience.” The actor has already had a myriad of encounters. “I did block up the former head of Miramax’s toilet,” Gregson confesses, gleaming. “He’s married to my god mother who I stayed with in New Jersey, and the toilets flush differently in the US and I couldn’t tell if it was just normal, but when the water started to turn brown I knew something was up. I felt so odd asking the man who put out ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’ for a plunger, but I can’t think of anything more Americana than that.”

There is a lull in the conversation, during which time Gregson, once again, admires something in the distance. He clearly fancies himself as a comedic impresario: a satirist and purveyor of wit. I felt it necessary to ask him what the most important question a person must ask themselves before they deliver their material in any sort of medium. “Will this offend people or a person?” Gregson quickly retorts. “Comedy should always be offensive to people, that’s the funniest part of it. If you’re too inoffensive you just start to become boring and PC (unless you are Jerry Seinfeld) but to be offensive is almost an art, only people like Trey Parker, Ricky Gervais and Jim Norton can handle it at the moment.” Gregson, happy with his response, continues. “I always make sure to not just attack one person, and if I do I make sure it is to be fun, not to be mean,” he says, “but I will be mean to groups of people, if they have a problem they can complain to each other instead of me. I hope I’m not alone in thinking this.”

Gregson maintains this in his various shorts. He even, in a contest for Doritos, made an inspired commercial for them – but he did not win. “Our lead actor was quite snooty and wasn’t too fond of our budget [and] style of shooting,” Gregson says, running his hand over his right arm, as if to roll up an invisible sleeve. The tic has him in deep thought. “It made me realise that I’m just like every other kid out there with a video camera, the only difference is that I refuse to stop with youtube.”

Gregson does, however, have a few of his shorts on Youtube, along with his favorite skit entitled “Bushy”, that sees a man, whose face looks uncannily like George Bush, go through life upset and without hope for the future. The young actor also has a series up called “Unemployed”, that he is still working on, along with a few lavicious screenplays (one involves pornography, though he refuses to make it unless Sasha Grey agrees to star in it). Gregson, who now looks restless, shifts his weight as if to accomodate an invisible passerby. You can tell that there is, by his incessent movement, an energy that incites creativity. I ask him one more question: How will humor transmute, in your opinion, in the next five-years? “Well I’ll put it out there now,” says Gregson, sighing heavily. “I hate ‘Family Guy” so I hope that type of humour dies down, but then again I think ‘Arrested Development’ is comic genius, so what do I know. I think comedy is something that has remained pretty constant throughout the years, it might seem new but it’s all been done before and probably better. I would love to see a resurgence in the screwball comedy though, a few years back a movie came out called ‘Down With Love’ that mirrored the classic Dorris Day/Rock Hudson comedies, I wish that trend had picked up, it would have been great fun.”

And with that Gregson packed up his things, skipped across that great pond to England, and continued to make shorts and comedic appearances. “Shannen Doherty called me sexy once,” Gregson tauts. “Sasha Grey told me I have beautiful mind, that was very sweet. Other than that there’s been nothing really, Ricky Gervais told me to keep at it, but nothing really inspirational.” Gregson pauses, as if reloading a would be chamber, then says, without missing another beat, “Just wait until they actually see what I can do.”


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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