His ‘offbeat’ online interviews with Hollywood A listers Mila Kunis, Robert Downey Jr and most recently, Jennifer Aniston, have catapulted Chris Stark into the spotlight. The BBC Radio 1 sidekick and former Southampton student talks to Kaye Holland about lad bombs, Barack Obama and why Watford FC will win promotion to the premiership this season
How’s life as an internet sensation?
Weird, but in a good way. And it’s odd this term, internet sensation. I don’t really view myself as one – it’s just me on a video that went up and the video has turned into a sensation. Are you surprised by the positive reaction? Yeah. When we recorded the [Mila Kunis] interview I knew it would be quite funny on the radio, but I didn’t expect the video to do so well. Even people who don’t listen to Radio 1, were watching the interview online. All of a sudden it became something much bigger than what it was intended to be.
You’re fast becoming our favourite funnyman thanks to your ‘unusual’ interview style but are you really ‘awkward’ or is it just an act?
In a way I wish it was an act because then it would justify the way I am in the videos. But it’s not an act: anyone who sits in front of Jennifer Aniston or Mila Kunis is going to be nervous. I’m someone who perhaps shouldn’t have access to these massive stars… Plus the whole situation - you’re sat in a room in a very posh hotel - is nerve wracking. It’s not a natural environment for me so basically what you’re seeing is a fish out of water.
You’ve interviewed Hollywood royalty in Jennifer Aniston, Mila Kunis and Robert Downey Jr – who was your favourite and why? It’s ridiculous that you’re even asking me who’s my favourite out of Jennifer Aniston, Mila Kunis and Robert Downey Jr! I never thought I would have the opportunity to meet any of them. But probably I would have to say Mila Kunis – she was very down to earth. I look back on that interview and it does feel like a weird dream. I don’t really remember what happened. It was only when I saw the video afterwards that I was like: did we really talk about Nandos?
Who would be your ultimate dream interview?
Hmmm, no one has ever asked me this. Barack Obama would be incredible. It’s never going to happen, but it would be amazing to meet someone like him. But what’s great about the three [Hollywood celebs] I’ve met is that they’re so well respected: they have millions of fans. And so I guess I want to meet more people like that, who just seem to inspire people.
When you’re not interviewing celebs, what do you normally do at Radio 1?
I work on the Scott Mills show on Radio 1 and am, in effect, Scott’s sidekick. I’ll do whatever Scott wants me to do for his amusement – or that of the public.
Do you aspire to have your own radio show?
I’ve always been a massive fan of Scott Mills and, for me, it’s mental that I am now working on his show which was my goal. It’s a ridiculous situation that I am on the show I used to listen to at uni! I can’t ask for any more than this.
You started out in hospital radio, before working in student radio. Tell us a little about these early experiences
As soon as I turned 16, I got involved with my local hospital radio station, Radio Northwick Park, which was great fun – and great training. Then at uni, I joined Southampton’s student radio station and started doing as much work experience as I could. Eventually I got offered an internship at 6 Music which – thanks to Scott’s support – led to this role at Radio 1.
Are you now in a position where you get recognised walking down the street?
Every now and then, but it’s rare. I think that’s the magic of radio – you don’t want to know what the presenters look like. If you can visualise the person, it’s often a disappointment!
Your love for Watford FC is well known [Chris invited Mila to watch a Watford FC match with him and presented Aniston and Downey Jr with Watford FC shirts]. How do you think Watford will fare this season?I think Watford will do brilliantly: I don’t see why we won’t be promoted. Watford is an amazing club now because we have these great backers and a classy manager in Zola. It will be a special year. We came so close last year [Watford lost out on promotion to the Premiership in the Championship play-off final] and I think the club will go up and up. I watch Watford as much as I can and try to go some of the away games too.
When you’re not working at Radio 1 or watching Watford, you DJ at student unions and clubs. Which is your favourite university town?Southampton is my favourite place - I DJed at their Freshers' ball last year and it was like a homecoming. The uni is really proud of me and has booked me for three nights this Freshers’ week too. Brighton’s also good fun because it’s home to two universities in Brighton and Sussex, so it’s usually total carnage. I love DJing at student unions because it means I can still live a bit of the uni life!
Was it while at university, that you created lad bombs? (Instead of asking Mila Kunis about acting, Stark famously invited the star to join him and his mates for ‘lad bombs’ in the pub). You know what, lad bombs [a Jägermeister shot dropped into a double vodka and Red Bull] have been around for ages. All I can claim credit for, is the name. My mates up and I came up with the name ‘lad bombs’ on a night out, but I can’t recommend them. It’s a horrible drink – although it has led to some amazing nights (until you wake up).
Lastly, what’s the rest of the year looking like for Chris Stark?
I don’t know really because my job – I can’t even call it a job –changes so much. Tomorrow? Next month? Who knows – but I kind of like that. It's exciting.