Rhys Nicholson Wants You To Know That He's Fine

16 February 2017 | 12:52 pm | Samuel Leighton Dore

"The new show is basically 55 minutes of dick jokes."

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Huddled before a whiteboard in his fiance's office ("I'm only here for the air conditioning"), Sydney-based comedian Rhys Nicholson is putting the final touches on his seventh solo show — and his regular audiences can expect a few changes.

"I think this show's a lot less political," say Nicholson, which doesn't strike us as being particularly difficult, especially when you consider that he last year took a very public stand for marriage equality by getting hitched to lesbian and fellow comedian Zoe Coombs Marr at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. "Last year was very marriage equality-centric," he admits. "I'm making a conscious effort not to speak about marriage equality so much this time around. It's something I'm still very passionate about, but I've got nothing new to say on it."

"I'm making a conscious effort not to speak about marriage equality so much this time around."

That's not to say that his upcoming show, aptly titled I'm Fine, isn't intensely personal. Set to debut this month at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, before touring nationally, the show is very much anchored in the first-person experience.

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"All of my shows are very much about me, I'm narcissistic in that way," he jokes. "However, this show is very much about my personal life. It's less political, more sociopolitical — which I know sounds wanky."

For Nicholson and his fiance, triple j presenter Kyran Wheatley, day-to-day life can present conflicting interests when it comes to calling 'dibs' on potentially funny content. "We both work in media, so it's almost at the point now where something will happen and we both look at each other and think 'whose content is this?'" Rhys says. "But we make sure to run things by each other. We'll always check. We have to remember that our parents and families didn't ask for a life in the public eye."

A self-professed master of self-deprecation, Nicholson's "punching-up" brand of humour relies on making himself the lowest possible denominator. That way, he explains, nobody else is off limits. "When I first started, I was maybe a little more shouty and arrogant on stage," he admits, "but audiences don't trust someone if they're really sure of themselves on stage.

"The new show is basically 55 minutes of dick jokes," he laughs. "I'm pretty happy with it, it'll be nice and shiny by the time it gets to Adelaide. I'm not there to change minds, I'm really just there to be funny."