Originally published on the wonderful Melbourne comedy festival reviewing site: The Pun – which I’m writing for at the moment. It’s worth having a look through the articles, there’s so much interesting stuff going on you’re sure to find something that suits your comedy needs.
At twenty-two, the friendly comedian still resembles a naughty boy in school. Despite being a regular to the Comedy Festival since 2008 and co-hosting Triple J breakfast with Alex Dyson, Tom Ballard still conveys that classic childish guilt, anxiously peering out at the audience, wondering whether he will get away with it. Most of the time he does.
In Doing Stuff Ballard tackles the heavy political stuff, Australian politics, his own body issues, world issues, gay marriage (or as he calls it, ‘fag-gage’) and the aboriginal tent embassy – Oh yes, he went there. From the start Ballard is relatable to the audience, honest and likeable. He’s just an ordinary guy whose general moral code is ‘don’t be a douche-bag’, hates exercising, is a vegetarian who loves meat and loves a good dick joke.
Ballard is offensive and extremely hilarious. His show is old school; a blend of charm, storytelling and audience bantering. Ballard does warn his audience to ‘never sit in the front row’. Nothing is off-limits, as Ballard continuously ridicules an audience member about her lack of education, although insulting Ballard conveys an awkwardness which is extremely funny.
This is not, however, a good show to take your homophobic grandma to. Ballard’s homosexuality is often a major component in his comedy shows, and Doing Stuff is no different. Ballard’s focus on the controversy of anti-gay marriage commentators is smart and very tongue-in-cheek. The audience lap up Ballard’s hysterics and abuses united through laughter it is clear that the audience are in support of gay marriage rights. Yet when things get too politically heavy, Ballard successfully makes the audience groan and clutch nauseous stomach by telling ‘the worst gay story [he’s] ever heard’. And yep, it’s bad.
Ballard is more than just your good dick-joke comedian. He’s going places.