Demon Jizz, Exciting 'Characters', A Wedding And Trying To Impress Barry Humphries

19 April 2016 | 3:31 pm | Tom Ballard

"We will probably get married in Scotland where it is legal."


I mean, I had a lovely time and all, but after “working” up to two and a half hours per night (Wednesdays off), I’m more pooped than a baby’s nappy. 

Here’s the kind of nonsense I’ve been getting up to: 

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Hahahaha, very good, Tom (thanks).

My shows continued to attract exciting “characters” who foolishly provided me with extra laughs and failed to ask for any payment for their services. There was Brendan The Latecomer (with very good projection skills): 

And, adorably, Xander the injured 15-year-old:

The kind people of Melbourne started to fill up my shows towards the last week, which was bloody nice of them, although apparently the ghosts of my past actions were costing me some ticket sales:

I have witnessed some extraordinary things in my travels around the festival, like this intriguing prop backstage in a room at the Victoria Hotel:

And this 100%-genuine message from the actual Rove McManus, written on the wall of the men’s toilets at the Closing Night Party:

He always seemed like such a nice guy…

Speaking of nice things, I had both my shows AUSLAN-interpreted during the festival this year by the lovely Kirri and Mike from AUSLAN Stage Left:

(Terrible photo, but you get the vibe.)

Having your comedy interpreted by occasionally rude hand gestures is not only interesting and fun, it’s also a really important way of ensuring that your work is inclusive and accessible. Everybody likes to have a laugh, whether they have 100% of their hearing or not, and it makes me very proud to see more and more comics collaborating with interpreters every year.

PLUS Kirri taught me the awesome sign some people have been using for Tony Abbott: flicking both your ears forward repeatedly. HA!

My MICF was filled with a bunch of extra-curricular activities. I was lucky enough to captain the negative team in the 27th Annual Great Debate alongside Urzila Carlson and Alex Edelman, against the mighty Nazeem Hussain, Joel Creasey and Sara Pascoe, all moderated by the national treasure that is Barry Humphries.

The topic was “That Everyone’s Entitled To An Opinion”. What’s that? Who won? Well… we did, but look, that doesn’t really matter, in the end, y’know, it’s all just a bit of fun (that we were victorious in).

The second time I got to meet Mr. Humphries was on the final Monday of the festival, at the announcement of the nominations for the 2016 MICF awards.

Clearly this was a big deal to Barry; lucky little guy, meeting his hero and all!

I was flabbergasted and honoured to be up for the Barry Award for Most Outstanding Show alongside the likes of Rhys Nicholson, Zoe Coombs-Marr, Anne Edmonds, Damien Power, David O’Doherty and Luisa Omielan. The idea of awards for comedy are slightly strange in and of themselves, but I’m mighty proud of my two shows and people enjoying them makes me happy and if those people happen to be judges then so be it. My little heart burst with pride in particular to be up there with Zoe, Eddo, Damien and Rhys: we’re all in the same “generation” of comics and they’re my mates and it certainly felt special to be there all together, every one of us trying to not act like an idiot around the actual real life Barry.

The very same real life Barry who decided to come along to watch my show Boundless Plains To Share that very night. I saw him in the audience before it started. He was there. Barry. Watching me. With his eyes. And presumably listening with his ears. Edna, Sir Les and Sandy. In one. There. At my show.

Fucking hell.

To counter-balance all this humble-bragging and to ensure there’s no danger of you thinking I am in any way cool, here are two horrific photos of me that have appeared on the “Throwback Thursday” section of the local paper of my hometown, The Warrnambool Standard.

You’re welcome.

The final Friday night of the festival was turned into something truly special as shameless queerbos Rhys and Zoe got married in an event that can only be described as an abomination in the eyes of God. Though they have long-term partners with whom they’re in love, the two are forbidden under Australian law from tying the knot with them, but they can totes marry each other even though they’re not in love and have absolutely no intention of building a life together as a romantic couple whatsoever. GOOD SYSTEM EVERYONE!

(Photo: Jim Lee)

That gives you a pretty good idea of how it all went down. 

I got a little bit jealous of all the loving in the room and couldn't contain myself with Rhys in front of his fiancée Kyran.

(Photo: Jim Lee)


My spirit animal Dave Callan and I were honoured to be the wedding DJs, playing under our stage names “The Pointer Brothers” because we are the ONLY DJ duo with the GUTS to play TWO Pointer Sister songs back to back because we just don’t give a FUCK.

On the Saturday all the awards were announced and all the alcohol in the land was consumed. I was not awarded the Barry (ROBBED! A DAMN-ED TRAVESTY I TELL YE!) but I’m totally over it and it’s all good because Zoe won it and I saw her show and it made me laugh and transported me to another dimension and also she’s very nice and she wears Ren’n’Stimpy T-shirts. Congrats madam!

I was deeply honoured to be awarded the inaugural Pinder Prize, named in honour of MICF founder, comedy institution and glasses aficionado John Pinder.

I would have been happy with just the glasses, but happily it also comes with a bunch of money and support that will allow me to head back to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. I am, indeed, a lucky little boy. 

Particularly because on the last night of the festival I got to make out with until-now-heterosexual Scottish comedy superstar Daniel Sloss whilst he was wearing a kilt.

We will probably get married in Scotland where it is legal.

That’s all I’ve got: I’m spent. Cheers to The Music for having me and cheers to you for reading about my Australian comedy adventures in 2016. I’m bringing my award-losing show The World Keeps Happening to the Sydney Comedy Festival next week for two nights only, so if that’s your neck of the woods I’d love to see you there.

Good day! Good day to you all!

check out part onepart twopart three and part four of tom ballard's tour diary.