THE “CLOWN PRINCE OF COMEDY,” JOEL CREASEY HAS FRATANISED WITH JOAN RIVERS, PRINCESS LEIA AND MARCIA BRADY – WITH A BOOK AND NATIONAL TOUR IN THE WORKS, HE TELLS MATT MYERS ABOUT ENTERTAINING THE TROOPS AND SHARING HIS BOYFRIEND’S UNDERPANTS!
DNA: I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here made you a household name. Were you prepared for that sudden fame?
Joel Creasey: When you come off the show, still in Africa, the first person you see is a psychiatrist who explains what’s happened in terms of your profile. So you get that support but, no, I wasn’t expecting that attention. When I returned to Australia there were paparazzi and people rushing up to me and it was all very exciting. Coincidently, I launched a stand-up tour off the back of it, which did very well! What was the most difficult thing about that experience in Africa?
It was sharing space with others. Stand-up comedy is a solo sport and I’m used to calling the shots. I didn’t enjoy having to split responsibility among 14 others. There’s the lack of control and it can be really boring. If you’re not in a tucker [food] trial, there’s nothing to do all day. I never enjoyed school camp and yet there I was in this group environment. I found that first night overwhelming.
You made friends with Maureen McCormick [the actress who played Marcia Brady], but apparently her husband banned her from seeing you!
Oh my God! One night in LA, I took her to a gay bar in Santa Monica called Roosterfish and sent her home at about 3am. A few weeks later, Julia Morris tried to catch up with her but Maureen’s husband said, “You’re not hanging out with those Aussies anymore!”
Do you still have contact with her?
I do and I send her the odd email. I really miss her sometimes, but if I go over to the US again I’ll catch up with her for sure. She’s divine!
It’s nice to know that Marcia Brady turned out to be a fag hag, eh?
A total fag hag! She tweeted the other day how she hosted some big gay LA charity event.
Let’s talk about you and some other Hollywood women. Joan Rivers really took a shine to you, and you dedicated your new book to her.
She had me open for her in New York, and was so nice to me. I don’t think she realised how huge her involvement in my life was. I came back to Australia as the boy who was Joan River’s support act. She’s totally the reason my career got a huge head start, and she was so down to Earth. I see many artist and diva demands backstage for platters and puppies and all that crazy shit but, each night, at 81, Joan Rivers only wanted a prawn cocktail and a glass of house red. I think that is so classy.
And then there’s Carrie Fisher who you bonded with at the Just For Laughs festival in Montréal. Like Joan, she died just as you were getting to know her.
I know, I’m jinxed! Maureen better be careful! My parents were in Star Wars as extras and my dad is clearly visible in the famous scene where Princess Leia is briefing the troops in The Empire Strikes Back. Apparently she was a crazy diva on set and she was a crazy diva when I worked with her but she was also lovely and really down to Earth. When I told her about my parents she said I should make sure they aren’t related like Luke and Leia! After the show we hung out for ages and she gave me a really long hug, for like half an hour.
You also got to hang out with Neil Patrick Harris in Montréal. How was that?
I met him after I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I thought he was hitting on me because throughout the whole interview he kept staring at my hand. When we finished he said, “Do you know your hand’s been bleeding during the entire interview?” I think I had stigmata! It was so weird. I thought he was going to slip me his room key but, no, I was bleeding! I don’t know how a hand just randomly bleeds?
You must be a saint!
You came out at 16. Many older people assume it’s much easier to come out these days, but is it?
I had a very good experience. I was out in high school, and it’s interesting that none of the students, except for the odd dickhead, seemed to have a problem. I didn’t get any more bullied than someone with red hair. I actually think it was some of the teachers who had more of a problem with it. I imagine coming out would be a lot harder in regional towns but I do think it’s easier now. I hope that every time myself, and others, appear on shows like The Project it’s helpful for people.
You’re a very confident person, and in this business you need a thick skin. How did you become so resilient?
Because I knew I was gay from a young age I had to have a defense plan in place. Although, I didn’t really have to use it. It was good practice for stand-up, and I think that’s why gay men and women make such good comedians – because we have that mental strength. It’s also just blind faith. I think it’s gotten me into trouble, to be honest.
Your nickname, the Acid Tongue Prince, comes from you speaking your mind. Is there any subject that’s too sensitive, even for you?
No, I don’t think there’s any subject that would be off-limits but, that said, certain people handle certain subjects differently. I just talk about what I know. I wouldn’t, for example, go into race, but I think when you start taking topics off the table, comedy loses something. The right people need to handle the right topics. In fact, I’m so bored seeing straight comics do material about gay marriage. It’s such a hot button and an easy way to get a round of applause. A lot of it is ultimately homophobic. I know a top Australian comic who does a joke about his two gay friends who have a jet ski, and he says, “I’ll suck a little bit of dick for that lifestyle.” That’s actually not right. Enough is enough.
You’re headed to Afghanistan to entertain the troops. That’s very Marilyn Monroe of you! How did this come about?
It is so Marilyn, isn’t it? It’s actually been delayed and I’m waiting to get the call up to go over. It’s been a dream of mine forever. I got asked by the army to go a few years ago and I couldn’t, but it came up again last year. I know plenty of comics who have gone and I’ve always wanted to add it to my CV. It’d be so interesting and, hopefully, I’ll get material out of it. Hosting Eurovision for SBS… what was the highlight for you?
Without a doubt, becoming friends with Myf Warhurst. She’s one of the most spectacular people I’ve ever met. There’s no ego and she’s very intelligent. I adore her and we’ve become best friends.
A few years back Myf Warhurst was voted the most spankable female TV personality in Australia. Who do you think would be the most spankable male?
Rob Mills. I was working with him the other night and he’s so charming, dapper and sexy. I’d say him! Who’s your music diva?
Celine Dion. I love her voice and how ridiculous she is. I think she’s embracing that she’s a bit crazy now, with all the fashion shoots she’s doing for Vogue. She’s camp and knows how to put on a show. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now is so over the top, but my favourite is My Heart Will Go On.
Speaking of which, did you ever get comparisons to Leonardo DiCaprio when you were younger? All the time! Not so much now, but when I was a teenager and in my early twenties I’d get it a couple of times a week, and I was fine with that!
On a serious note, there was that homophobic experience you had in the Victorian town of Colac. But you returned to the scene of the crime with Rhys Nicholson and a film crew. Did that ultimately become a positive?
Ultimately, it did. Rhys is one of my best friends, and that documentary is one of my proudest pieces of work. I don’t know if it did much for the town, but when we went back the new mayor, Lyn Russell was absolutely amazing. She wasn’t there the first time when I was physically chased out but she was there when I returned. It was a crazy experience but it was fun going back and turning that whole thing on its head. >>
The gay marriage debate has affected me way more than I thought. It’s gotten so ugly.
>> How would you describe your friendship with Rhys? Is there rivalry?
We’re best frenamies. We totally have rivalry and laugh about it. He’s very private and keeps to himself. He’s got his fiancé and they bought a house, whereas I’m a bit older and more a party animal. When Rhys comes to stay with me I always take him out for a bit of a bender.
What do you think of Hannah Gadsby’s decision to retire from comedy?
It’s a loss and such a shame. I love Hannah and she’s my mum’s favourite comedian, which is quite odd. I hope she doesn’t disappear completely. I think she finds it all a bit overwhelming, so fair enough because at times it can be.
Are there any famous comedians who have influenced you? Even from the old school?
I love Robin Williams and Rowan Atkinson. Then there’s Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Judith Lucy, Fiona O’Loughlin, Denise Scott… all the grand dames. I love all those girls. When we interviewed Tommy Little he said he’d never heard of Lucille Ball. Please tell us, as a gay man, you know who she is!
Oh Tommy! Of course I know who Lucille Ball is and I love her. She was the original, even before Joan!
If you could zap yourself into any sitcom in television history, what would it be?
You know… I don’t really like sitcoms. I don’t know why I don’t like them. If I had to, I’d say Will And Grace. My other dirty confession is that I can’t stand cartoons! When my boyfriend watches Archer or The Family Guy, I’d honestly rather stab myself in the face. I just can’t relate to them. I had a big fight with my boyfriend the other day about this.
Tell us about your boyfriend.
His name’s Jack Stratton-Smith. He’s a model and he’s gorgeous. Another magazine ran a story that we’re engaged but we’re not. It’s weird, because we’ve been getting all these congratulations messages!
You have 63K Twitter followers and 82K on Instagram. How do you deal with trolls?
Oh, I love them. I respond and I’m really frivolous because they don’t expect you to respond with a laugh. It kind of shocks them!
The gay marriage debate – what’s your view on how it’s played out so far?
It’s affected me way more than I thought it would. I thought I’d be fine, but it’s gotten so ugly and disgusting, and I don’t know why it has to drag on for so long. I haven’t voted yet because I lost the keys to my letterbox and I can see the form sitting inside! I’ve just ordered a new pair of keys, so don’t worry, I will! Your autobiography Thirsty: Confessions Of A Fame Whore is released this month. What can people expect?
There’s lots of celebrity stories about me and Joan, Carrie and people like that, as well as stories about my childhood. It’s just an honest book about my life. I never had any struggles growing up so it’s not one of those Aussie battler stories. I have a gorgeous family in Perth and I try to give a different perspective on being a young gay man in the Australian entertainment world.
There’s a great story in the book about an encounter you had with a Sydney Swans football player at an airport.
Oh yeah, I was queuing up behind this Sydney Swans player for a coffee at the airport lounge and he turned and said, “I’m not signing autographs today.” He obviously thought I was a fan but I didn’t know who he was. Then a supporter, wearing a Sydney Swans scarf came over, tapped me on the shoulder and said in front of the entire queue, “Excuse me, are you Joel Creasey? I saw you on TV last night. I think you’re really funny!” The shocked look on this footballer’s face was hilarious. Another Sydney Swan you’ve interacted with was Barry Hall on I’m A Celebrity… Is the bromance still going?
I haven’t seen him for a while as he’s just had a baby with Lauren Brant (from Hi-5) who’s another good friend. We’re still mates and he’s such a nice guy. People got the wrong impression of him. He loves the gays and I had a beautiful conversation with him about how disappointed he was in Jason Akermanis, who said some very homophobic things. Barry just gets it. You studied drama, do you see yourself having regular acting gigs in the future?
Yes! I’ve finished working on the new show Sisters, and I’ve also just done Neighbours.
Yes, I’m the new gay who comes to Ramsay Street. I don’t think you’ll see me until next year. I’m just guesting, but there’s potential to come back.
What celebrity would you turn straight for?
I’m obsessed with Jessica Chastain (The Martian). I love women with red hair, and I love her so much! Okay, let’s play gay celebrity Fuck, Marry Or Kill. Your choices are: Tom Ballard, Josh Thomas and Nathan Valvo.
Well, I used to date Nathan Valvo, so I’d kill him. I’d fuck Josh Thomas and I’d marry Tom Ballard. I’m very in love with Tom Ballard. He’s so intelligent and such a great representative of our community. I adore him. But I’d run Nathan Valvo over with my car!
You’re known for doing nude selfies, but you also said you’d love to do a sex tape. When is it coming out?
Who knows? Maybe when my career goes through a slump. I’ll either go back onto I’m A Celebrity… or I’ll do a sex tape!
What can we expect you to be wearing to the beach this summer?
Nineteen-sixties-style Speedos. I like the high rise around the hips. I think they are very cool.
That makes us think Joel Creasey is a briefs man in the underwear department.
I like briefs, and I share them with my boyfriend. Some people think it’s weird that we share underwear, but I think it’s fine. We do wash them! We share each other’s clothes too, but he’s a bit bigger, so he breaks them.
I’d fuck Josh Thomas, marry Tom Ballard, and run over Nathan Valvo with my car!
(ABOVE) JOEL WITH BOYFRIEND JACK STRATTON-SMITH ON INSTAGRAM.
MORE: Thirsty: Confessions Of AFame Whore is out now. Joel is also touring nationally, check online for tickets or go to joelcreasey.com.au.