If you’re a Triple J listener like me then you’ll no doubt recognise the name, if not the voice – Tom Ballard. It’s a little bizarre watching him to be honest; it’s kind of like watching an old friend only they have no idea who you are. Luckily for us, and Ballard, his latest comedy offering is nothing short of hilarious.

Tom Ballard - UNAUSTRALIAN(ISH) Image supplied
Image supplied

UNAUSTRALIAN(ISH), in a nutshell, is a trip down the Ballard family memory lane as Ballard recounts a family trip through the Australian outback when he was five years old. There are family photos and travel journals written by Ballard and his older brother complete with illustrations, which has led to, as Ballard puts it himself, “a comedy goldmine”.

It’s difficult for me to go into any more detail than that without ruining a punchline. What I can tell you is that the show involves jokes about sex (let’s face it, we’re all a little bit immature), lesbians (tastefully done I promise), The Lion King and what it means to be an Australian.

Ballard also manages to weave in a few local jokes, mentioning Inglewood and Rockingham in the very beginning of his act. He also acknowledges two out of the three things guaranteed to annoy Perth people: Transperth and merging. All he needs to do is talk about indicating and he’ll have hit the trifecta.

Ballard builds a strong rapport with his audience (who were of all ages, although the under 25 crowd was predominate) early on and acknowledges their reactions. If you didn’t know already then consider this your warning: if you don’t like being spoken to/interacted directly with when watching stand up (or any form of performance), don’t sit in the front row. Another warning: if you’re going to correct his grammar make sure you know your stuff(note to self: when referencing The Lion King 2 it is The Lion King “2”, not “as well”).

In what many would consider an Australian trait, Ballard is unafraid to poke fun at himself. Because of this he manages to do what stand-up comedy does best: he makes you laugh whilst making you think and his show literally makes you cry with laughter because of it.

So go, have a laugh, and if you come out not having learned something new about Alice Springs, then you clearly weren’t paying attention.

UNAUSTRALIAN(ISH) is running from Thursday May 8 to Saturday May 10 at Thatchers Cider House (Mt Lawley Bowling Club). For tickets go to the Perth International Comedy Festival website.

Jan Chandler

Jan has been working freelance in the arts industry for some 15+ years in a variety of roles including: arts management; journalism (print, radio and online); publicity; and media relations. Passionate about the arts in all their variety, Jan has worked in film (production assistant; reviewer); dance (publicity; producer and presenter of 'Dance Dialogues - 3CR) and Board Member of Ausdance (Victoria)); performing arts (company manager, performer, reviewer, online editor). Jan had the honour of being the General Manager of Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre for some 18 months.

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