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Giggle and Hoot's Jimmy Rees talks the hardest thing about entertaining kids.

What is it really like to entertain kids? Jimmy Rees from Giggle and Hoot spills all the beans.

Jimmy Rees is being hailed as the ‘next big thing’ in children’s entertainment in Australia. As one half of ABC 4 Kids Giggle & Hoot show, he has the profile and the talent to be just that.

He’s Jimmy Giggle. Hoot’s the owl who loves to sing along with him. But there’s only one question I want to ask him.

Does being a children’s entertainer turn you off having kids?

It makes me want to be a parent. In fact, my wife’s pregnant now. We’re expecting one in April and then I’ll be able to relate to everyone.

What’s the best thing about being in children’s entertainment?

I think it’s the kids. You see the smiling kids and it just lights up your day. They’re the best audience. They’re honest. They’re also full of joy. On the same token they’ll be asleep in their prams if they’re not interested.

Jimmy Rees.

What's the hardest thing about being a kid's entertainer?

We've been out to some hospitals. It’s really tough. We’ve been in some pretty heartbreaking moments. It’s tough but it’s realy rewarding as well. Bitter-sweet, just seeing the smiles on the kids facing adversity.

How did you get into children's TV? Was it a goal or an accident?

Yeah, it just sort of happened. I was looking to get into the industry and an opening came of nowhere. ABC were auditioning for people to be on ABC 3. So I went through that process and got short-listed. I didn't get through to the last round but then they asked met to do Giggle and Hoot.

Lots of famous friends come to the show.

How did they explain the concept to you. "It will be you, and an owl..."?

It was funny. I think they knew what they wanted. It started off as humans against a green screen like they do on Saturday Disney. They thought of how to bring that to the preschool market and thought, how about we make it a character and make it a puppet.

They were talking to the head of the children's department so it sort of evolved and evolved and evolved.

Did they ask for your input?

No. No input here.

What is your favourite animal, besides owls?

I love penguins actually. I got a penguin toy from my aunty. She got it for me as a baby and my dad named it on my behalf. he called it Shivers.  Go tit for me as baby. Dad named it on my behalf. Called it Shivers.

I lost it a couple of years ago. I was devastated.

What are your personal aspirations and career goals?

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Retire on Philip Island with the penguins. Oh career. Ride this wave as long as I can.

So what about these rumours that you are worth millions thanks to Giggle and Hoot?

No. The show airs on ABC 2 and has made heaps of money through merchandise sales, for ABC. But I'm happy.

Jimmy Rees.

What’s it like to have your face on lunch boxes and drink bottles and back packs and colouring packs?

Yeah, it's a bit strange. You can't but help but notice it really.

Do kids freak out when they see you on the street?

No, most of the kids don't recognise it’s me. The older kids do. It's mostly the parents who spot me.

When you do shopping centre appearances, do you feel a bit like a member of One Direction?

Yeah, ha. I can remember that first one. Eastland in Melbourne. I went into the dressing room and put on my Jimmy Giggle pyjamas. Then all of a sudden security guards came to walk me through the car park. They said, “It’s crazy out there”. And it was. There was a huge queue of people all down that level and up to the next one.

I felt really overwhelmed. It was a huge credit to the show. They put this show together and it's made by wonderful people.

Jimmy Rees.

How long do you stay and sign autographs for? I assume Hoot is to much of a mega-star to do any himself.

We allow three hours if the fans are there and I just try and do it all at once. You do them as fast as you can. The poor security guy has to cut the line off.

The Giggle and Hoot tour is happening this December. What are your dressing room demands. I know you have some. Do you feel like a rock star?

Oh just a beer keg and dancing girls. Nah, none of that. The most rock star I felt was at the Opera House last time and I think just being in the dressing room and I was in the principal dressing room.

Do you have a hidden talent you're yet to share with Australia?

I can throw the odd grapes in the air and catch it in my mouth, and M&Ms. I'm mediocre at a lot of things. I play football. AFL. I was still doing it at the same time as Giggle and Hoot but I gave it up.

Jimmy Giggle, Hoot and Hootabelle are setting off on a giggle-icious live stage adventure with their friends the Bananas in Pyjamas and Hoopla Doopla’s Zap, Mimi and Jango this summer. Book your tickets here

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