Thank you for clicking on the ‘Bio’ section of this website. I appreciate it because it allows me to talk at length about my achievements in the world of comedy and the media without sounding self-indulgent because you’ve asked for it and sought it out so it’s your own stupid fault if you get bored and you’re not allowed to accuse me of having tickets on myself so there.
Basically I’m a comedian who gets to perform the ancient art of stand-up comedy all around the world and sometimes they let me on radio and the telly. I began performing stand-up in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns competition when I was in high school and I got to the national finals but I never won it which has left me with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and bitterness so let’s move on.
In 2006 I was a national finalist in the open-mic competition Raw Comedy and, based on that performance (which included a joke about my small penis!), I was approached by the hip and funky managers at national youth radio network triple j and they offered me and my dear friend Alex Dyson the chance to talk to the nation via their airwaves.
The MICF invited me to perform in their 2008 showcase The Comedy Zone and in 2009 Alex and I took over triple j’s weekend breakfast shift. That year I also performed my debut solo stand up show Tom Ballard Is What He Is which won the prestigious Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer Award and meant I could drop out of boring uni to become a full-time professional dickhead.
From 2010 to 2013, Alex and I were lucky enough to command the triple j weekday breakfast shift under the downright unoriginal name of “Tom and Alex”. It was the best fun of my life but after four years I decided to call it a day to focus on stand up and annoying the Australian public through a variety of other media.
A collection of the “highlights” from that show, Tom & Alex: The Bits We’re Least Ashamed Of, won the 2013 ARIA for Best Comedy Release. You can buy it here if you like.
2011 saw me release a DVD of my Is What He Is show and in 2013 I released a recording of my show Since 1989 via bandcamp. Both of these things are available on the merchandise page.
You may have seen me wearing make-up and telling jokes on everything from The Project to Good News Week to Spicks’n’Specks to It’s A Date. In 2014 I hosted Reality Check – my own panel show for the ABC about the whacky world of reality television. I’ve co-hosted SBS’s coverage of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras since 2014. In 2015 I was asked to guest host the ABC’s Q&A, which was terrifying but I seemed to get away with it.
I’ve supported the likes of Wil Anderson, Stephen Merchant, Danny Bhoy and Kyle Kinane. I was invited to perform at the 2015 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal where I appeared on the Wanda Sykes Gala and roasted Jimmy Carr. My show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year, Taxis & Rainbows & Hatred, saw me nab a nomination for the Fosters Best Newcomer Award ooh la-di-dah. In 2016 I toured two brand new shows: an hour of stand up show entitled The World Keeps Happening and Boundless Plains To Share, a 70-minute comedy lecture about Australia’s treatment of refugees. For these two shows I was nominated for the 2016 Barry Award For Most Outstanding Show at the MICF and was given the inaugural Pinder Prize, named in honour of the late great John Pinder.
I also have a politics-focussed interview podcast called Like I’m A Six-Year-Old which I’m very proud of and you can check it out here.
That’s pretty much it, apart from the fact that I suffer from eczema, I have fluctuating weight issues, I contracted scabies in the spring of 2010 and I once ate yoghurt off a plate to avoid doing the dishes.
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[Ballard’s] material, most importantly, absolutely kills…It’s tightly paced, it’s perfectly delivered and it’s funny as hell…
consistently, acutely hilarious…
…excellent, unflinching and at times brutally funny…
“Tom is one of the most original, fearless and hilarious voices in Australian comedy.”