On the Couch with Jeff van de Zandt

Jeff-van-de-Zandt-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Jeff van de Zandt?
Just a regular guy, who filmed a lip-sync to a Prime Minister’s press conference and accidentally became popular during lockdown.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I think in another life I maybe would have pursued acting, or if not that, become a furniture maker. Either way – I’d still be some kind of creative. I’m never not making things.

Who inspires you and why?
I know it’s going to sound tacky – but my boyfriend. He’s a paramedic and deals with real life and death problems every day. I think hearing about his days often puts my days into perspective. I’m so in awe of what he does and how incredible he is at his job.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make empathy training mandatory. Taught in schools. Something as inherent as parents teaching kids to brush their teeth. I think if we were all more emotionally intelligent beings – it’d make a huge difference in the world.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I actually love a local getaway! I recently went away to a tiny house just past Traralgon with my partner. It was about a 3.5 hour drive out of Melbourne – so we hopped in my Mazda MX-30 and headed out to this paddock in the middle of nowhere. The drive itself was so stunning. The MX-30 is so comfortable and such a smooth drive – the 3.5 hours flew by. But to get there and to be surrounded by nature, no signal, no interruptions and a little outdoor fire – it was incredible. It was only two days – but it was just as good as a holiday!!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d take them out to dinner and to a show. We have so many incredible theatre productions in Melbourne at the moment. I have been RAVING about The Picture of Dorian Gray ever since I saw it. Truly one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It really is an exciting time to be in Melbourne right now.

What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading The Alchemist. I mostly read self-helpy kind of books, but I love an allegory. Also seems fitting since the main character in the book is told to go to Egypt, and I’ll be finishing it en route there myself!

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to a lot of Mashrou’ Leila. A queer-fronted Lebanese rock band. Their music is so heartbreaking and powerful. And to do what they’ve done, and fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in those countries is truly incredible. Big fan of their work and what they stand for. And also listening to a bit of Harry Stiles… because you know… who isn’t?

Happiness is?
Parallel parking in my Mazda MX-30 with the birds-eye view camera haha. But really – I think it’s doing things that make your heart sing. Things your passionate about. Things that make you feel like you’re having an impact or being valued. That and doing things that involve laughter.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a lot more travel! The great thing about doing what I do is that you can do it from anywhere in the world. I love that travel is pretty much back up and running again. I want to go explore and find new experiences and people.

Jeff is a creative art director and TikTok sensation, who is best known for his hilarious comedy skits and celebrity impersonations. He is also an Ambassador for Mazda.

Image: Jeff van de Zandt (supplied)