Three things with Nazeem Hussain: ‘please don’t make this sound sexual’

·3 min read

In our weekly interview about objects, the comedian shares his love of massage guns, and a sad childhood story of loss

Nazeem Hussain will bring a new standup comedy show to the Adelaide Fringe festival in February – just don’t ask him to tell you what it’s about.

“I’m really bad at describing my standup shows,” he says, trying to explain it. “Australia? My existential crisis? Australia’s existential crisis? It’s a lot of questions that I have and no real answers.”

“I think there’s a refund policy but I’m hoping no one exploits that.”

Related: Three things with Rhys Nicholson: ‘You get to an age where meat thermometers become life changing’

The Adelaide Fringe shows are part of what will be – Covid-willing – the comedian’s first national tour since the pandemic struck. Over these past two years at home, one purchase has delighted Hussain above all others: a massage gun, which quickly became the highlight of his evenings.

Here, he tells us about the life-improving qualities of that “nonsexual” device, as well as the story of two other important personal belongings.

What I’d save from my house in a fire

I’d save my massage gun. I bought it on a whim in 2020 from an ad on either Facebook or Instagram. There’s usually a huge endorphin rush with purchasing things online and it’s all downhill from there – when it arrives, it’s meant to underwhelm you. But this was the opposite – the massage gun has made every night happier.

I know that sounds wrong – I don’t mean it that way! I just sit there on the couch, watching TV, massaging either my jaw muscles or my foot or my leg, or any other nonsexual part of my body. Please don’t make this sound sexual!

My most useful object

Noise cancelling headphones. I feel like you’re in two worlds wherever you are – the place you are physically, but then also in your head. I feel like I’m “in” the music when I have my headphones on, and they also mean you don’t have to have unnecessary conversations with people as you walk down the street. I know it sounds like I don’t like people – I do. But sometimes having something like that visibly on your head means you don’t have to engage in small talk when your energy is low and you haven’t used your massage gun yet.

They’re also good for work. I’ve got a nice home office setup now, but I used to like working in cafes and libraries. And the one thing that quarantines my space is the headphones.

The item I most regret losing

A bike. When I was in year six or seven, I saved up all my pennies over maybe two years and bought this brand new bike. It was a Malvern Star, and it cost $350.

Related: Three things with Angus Stone: ‘I most regret losing a cowboy boot, nicked backstage. They only took one’

For my first ride I thought, I’ll go and buy my mum something. So I went to Woolworths to get her some milk and eggs. I got to the supermarket and parked the bike out the front. As I arrived, there were two people sitting next to me, looking at the bike. One of them goes, “Ooh, look at that shiny bike. Still got the tags on it. Those are some really chunky wheels.” They were just talking to each other, not really talking to me. And I think absentmindedly – I was kind of nervous, because they seemed a bit dodgy – I didn’t put the chain on properly.

I went into the shop for five minutes, came out and there was just a chain hanging there. My bike was gone, and so were those two people.

I had to walk home with the milk and eggs and the helmet still on my head. So I just hope they didn’t injure themselves riding home without a helmet on my brand new bike.

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