Comedian Tom Ballard says he’s back on the stand-up comedy circuit after the untimely demise of his ABC comedy news show Tonightly.
“We were too funny and our satire was too powerful,” Ballard quipped about the show’s axing last August.
“Nobody could handle our raw power and that’s why we weren’t rating very well.
“It was a bummer. The fact that the show existed at all is still crazy. It was a really fun show to do and I was really proud of all that we got to do in those 160 episodes.
“We finished the week after Scott Morrison became Prime Minister. I’d see a whole lot of stuff would happen in the news.
“I’d go, ‘Fuck that’s so funny, I wish we were on air to talk about that.’
“But we had a good run, I honestly loved that job. We took a lot of risks and I’m proud of what we did.”
Ballard says that includes one segment of the show aired last year in which Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives party candidate Kevin Bailey appeared in a mock up of an election poster reading “Kevin Bailey is a c**t”.
Another viral Tonightly sketch featuring a gospel song that compared and contrasted Scott Morrison’s religious beliefs alongside Australia’s immigration policies attracted the “confected outrage” of the right-wing press,” Ballard said.
“I feel a little proud that a comedy sketch we did resulted in the Communications Minister making an official complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which cleared us by the way,” Tom said.
“It’s just the fact that people spent time and energy getting worried about what we were saying. That’s what happens when you have a nightly show on the ABC.”
Tom said many of the detractors had moved on to new targets, which at the time we spoke last month was “getting all worried about Gillette ads.”
On the topic, Ballard says he’s not buying into “this new genre of socially conscious and ‘woke’ ads by multinational corporations.”
“I think people on both sides are idiots on that one. If you’re worried about that Gillette ad attacking men you’re an idiot,” he said.
“If you think that ad’s ‘powerful’ you’re an idiot. Gillette care about selling razors, and they’re opposed to people not buying razors. I think that both sides of that equation are being very silly.”
Tom is currently touring with his new stand-up show Enough, and like some of his past shows, he’s again using humour to shine a light on political issues affecting disenfranchised Australians.
“What have I had enough of? I’ve had enough of some people never having enough and other people not having enough to survive,” he said.
“Enough is about rich people, wealth inequality, how capitalism is killing us all and how I’m a dirty socialist. And I’m not just saying that because I want another job at the ABC.
“Basically, after losing my job and becoming unemployed at the age where I’m wanting to buy a house, all that stuff’s sort of made me think about this insane system we’ve set up, where you have to work yourself to death in order to barely survive.
“At the same time there are billionaires like [Amazon founder] Jeff Bezos, who has a house with 25 bathrooms. It’s insane.
“In Australia, the top 1 per cent have as much wealth as the bottom 70 per cent. I think that’s wrong, so I’ve written some very funny jokes about it.”
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Brisbane Comedy Festival, which is running until March 24 at three different venues including the Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane City Hall and SunPAC.
Tom Ballard will perform Enough from March 19 until March 24 at Brisbane City Hall. For tickets visit the website.