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Tom Ballard: The World Keeps Happening

ABOUT THE WRITER: A self-confessed film, music, food and history buff, Emily Russ is an aspiring journalist with an obsession for all things rockabilly and vintage.

Following a huge year in the world stand-up comedy scene, Tom Ballard is set to shock and delight at this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival. Nominated for the Foster’s Best Newcomer Comedy Award at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the biggest arts festival in the world – Tom has carved a name for himself in the Australian comedy scene. A regular host on ABC’s ‘Q&A’, the former triple j funny-man struck out from radio to perform stand up and has shared the spotlight with some of comedy’s biggest legends, from Wanda Sykes to Jimmy Carr. Bringing laughter to Australian politics, Tom continues to apply his previous radio skills in interviews with senators and journalists for his political podcast ‘Like I’m a Six Year Old’. As a regular on the comedy and fringe festivals circuit, the fresh-faced comedian continues to sell out shows across Australia and the UK. In the lead up to the Brisbane Comedy Festival, Tom is ready to show the funny side of world issues with his latest show ‘The World Keeps Happening’. We sat down with Tom to chat about his washboard abs, failing at acting and what to expect with his show at the upcoming festival.

What’s your favourite Dad joke?
What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?

How did you get initially get into comedy? 
I got into comedy through failing at acting. I auditioned for all the drama schools and was denied, so I found another avenue to feed my desperate need for attention and the validation from drunk strangers.

What do you hope you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for my work – the good bits, anywho. For being a nice person and for my washboard abs*. (*still TBC)

What else are you working on?
I’m touring The World all over the shop and will be performing another show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival called ‘Boundless Plains To Share’. It’s a hil-ARIOUS comedy lecture about Australia’s treatment of refugees. What could go wrong? Plus I hope to continue podcasting, getting my ugly mug on the telly every now and again and get cracking on those abs.

You’ve achieved so much and have performed at some amazing places from fringe festivals to shows around the world . What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Last year I got to roast Jimmy Carr at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and I think I genuinely offended him when I made fun of his deceased mother. Achievement unlocked!

Your political podcast ‘Like I’m a Six Year Old’ makes serious issues easy to understand with a bit of comedy on the side. Do you hope to keep the Australian public – especially the young Australian public – informed?
I’m really just focusing on keeping myself informed at this stage. My motivation for starting the podcast was really just wanting an excuse to sit down with smart and passionate people and have them explain their brainy thoughts to me. Father Bob has told me about heaven, Peter Reith demonstrated his cruelty and Scott Ludlam explained metadata – which I briefly understood but have now completely forgotten about.

You’re a much-loved regular at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. What is it about Brisbane that keeps you coming back?
Brisbanians just keep rocking up and laughing, so I’ll keep coming back as long as that happens. I’m constantly amazed that there’s anyone in my audiences because that means they’ve managed to find a park in New Farm.

With your new show ‘The World Keeps Happening’ coming to the Brisbane Comedy Festival, where does the name come from?
Despite all the above insanity, the world just keeps rolling on and great and horrible things keep inevitably happening. It’s exhausting right? It’s not like I want to leave the world, I just feel like I need to funnel my frustrations into a rip-roaring hour of gut-busting stand up comedy about it, and hopefully make some money in the process.

What can audiences expect from your show?
It’s my diagnosis of the chaotic world in which we live: the richest 1% own more than the rest of the world combined, we’re on the verge of environmental collapse, our toxic fears are tearing at the seams of civilisation and I really like the new Justin Bieber album. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME WILL BECOME OF US?!

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