Ballard and stuff

23 April 2012 | 4:58 pm | Aleksia Barron

"Nobody seems to really care about Australian politics in 2012," the triple j Breakfast host says.

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It turns out that being a nationally recognised comedian and the co-host of the triple j breakfast show isn't always enough to get you the best perks. Tom Ballard has just been denied an exit row seat for the flight he's about to catch. “I was trying, these damned legs of mine, but I was too late,” he sighs.

He's not one to dwell on small misfortunes though – things are going pretty well for Ballard, and he knows it. After making the finals of the infamous Raw Comedy competition in 2006, he broke into radio on triple j, where he built a name as one half of “Tom and Alex” alongside Alex Dyson. He scored a Golden Gibbo nomination for his MICF 2009 show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is, and received considerable acclaim for his 2011 show, Since 1989, in which he detailed his anguish over his break-up with fellow comic Josh Thomas. Anyone expecting more of the same can't be all that familiar with Ballard, though, because he enjoys breaking new ground where he can. His new show, Doing Stuff, is what he describes as “…kind of a political comedy show.”

So, not a personal show this time around, then? “I think this is still a personal show,” says Ballard. “It's trying to be a political comedy show, but it's about how I personally react to politics, and how I personally feel about it. No matter how informed you are, you can still have visceral feelings about it. It's about what I really think. Still personal in that way, I guess.”

After closely observing national and international politics for the last year, Ballard is as frustrated by the apathy and inertia of the systems, and the people within them, as the rest of us. “Nobody seems to really care about Australian politics in 2012. There's not a lot of conviction, and that kind of interested me. It's that challenge of trying to do political comedy without coming across as a wanker.” Could taking on a political stance jeopardise his day job? Ballard would be disappointed if that were the case, especially given the notoriety of his employer. “The ABC is kidding itself if it thinks it doesn't have a vague left-wing bias. I think rather than just trying to make ABC employees devoid of opinion, it would be better to employ a greater diversity of people. People from across the political spectrum should feel more comfortable at the ABC, and I don't think they do now.” Of course, Ballard is never without a snappy finish. “My other line is that ABC people are left-leaning progressives because they're naturally smarter, but that makes me sound like a bit of a douche.”