Ballard stands up for patriotism

Tom Ballard brings his take on the world to Launceston on Friday.
Tom Ballard brings his take on the world to Launceston on Friday.

SINCE retiring from breakfast radio in November, Tom Ballard has been busy.

Ballard, 24, was half of Triple J's breakfast team Tom and Alex [Dyson] for about four years.

At the time of retirement, he said he wanted to focus more on his stand-up, the art that got him the gig in the first place.

So far this year he's succeeded, having gigged at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Brisbane Comedy Festival, and later this year he will appear at the Melbourne and Sydney comedy festivals.

He is touring his show UnAustralian(ish), which involves tales of a 1995 family holiday and a promo shot of him donning an Australian flag leotard.

Ballard said he was "really happy" with how the show was going.

It deals with Ballard's sentiments on patriotism in the modern age, among other things.

"For my generation, we haven't lived through a world war you know, which is where national identity is sort of forged and patriotism is important," Ballard said, when asked if he thought anti-patriotism was becoming more "popular" among younger people.

"And because of the globalised world of the internet, I think that people my age are seeing less and less value in defining by ourselves of our borders and we're all part of the human race, man.

"And I think that a lot of that patriotism and national pride and single national identity makes no sense.

"This is the idea of the show - there's a lot of things I love about Australia but there's a lot of things I think we could work on, and I think trying to narrow it down to any one thing is insane.

"Mateship isn't Australian - that's friendship. That's a human thing. We all need friends: they have it in Sweden as well.

"And I think it's just scary when you have the Prime Minister of the country who says the ABC should give the home team the benefit of the doubt, that's scary, that's not what you wanna happen.

"We need to acknowledge that we can be s--- and that we're doing some s--- things at the moment.

"And I think that calling that out is part of patriotism.

"If you are patriotic, I think you need to criticise your country, and if you think we're so awesome then that comes with a responsibility to make it better."

But it's not all doom and gloom. There's also some fun family nostalgia involved, an appreciation of this wide brown land of ours and tales from a family driving holiday around the country.

Tassie crowds can get a taste of the show when Ballard drops into the state later this week, pulling bits 'n' bobs from everywhere and performing at Launceston's Fresh Comedy on Friday night.

"I've got a bunch of twee jokes from my little heart and soul that I want to share with anybody. It won't be a full show or anything, it'll just be my bestest jokes," he said.

It will be a new, invigorated, well-slept Ballard that visits the state - free from the 4am starts that defined his breakfast radio career.

He said it's been "kind of cool" being a full-time stand- up comedian again.'

And just what is a day like in the life of a full-time stand- up comedian? "It's generally kind of different every day.

"Obviously, a lot of masturbation, a lot of sleep- ins, brunch - love brunches - they're all good and then at some point in there I should probably write some jokes.

"Then I do a lot of admin, a lot of emails and also just trying to take care of all the other stuff in your life that you do when you have a bit of down time.

"Taxes, I have to do taxes this week. That's super fun. And ummm, what else? We're running Airbnb out of our sharehouse at the moment, so we have lots of international guests. And the outside light at our house is broken now so I need to fix that. Just thrilling, thrilling stuff."


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