JOEL CREASEY

AS SHARP OF TONGUE AS HE IS OF WARDROBE, THIS STAND-UP IS BRING­ING SMARTS BACK TO COM­EDY.

GQ (Australia) - - GQ INC. -

WORDS JAKE MIL­LAR PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TIM ASH­TON STYLING OLIVIA HARD­ING

In Au­gust 2014, Joel Creasey was on stage in New York. It was a big deal. Not only had he just re­ceived a five-star re­view for an ear­lier show, but he was also open­ing for Joan Rivers – his com­edy idol. Creasey in­tro­duced the leg­end and re­treated into the wings, but she was hav­ing none of it. “Joel Creasey, get back here!” yelled Rivers, be­fore pulling out his re­view, read­ing it aloud and de­mand­ing the au­di­ence book tick­ets to his re­main­ing dates. “Now,” she said, turn­ing back to the young Aus­tralian, “Get the fuck off stage!” Creasey’s re­main­ing shows sold out. We meet the now-26-year-old back­stage at the Syd­ney Opera House, where he’s ap­pear­ing in the TV special Just For Laughs. He’s of­ten on air – The Pro­ject, Fam­ily Feud, a 41-day stint in the South African jun­gle for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – but stand-up will al­ways be his first love. “I still get a kick out of being on TV,” he says. “But I love stand-up, and I’ll never give that up. My ul­ti­mate hero has al­ways been Joan Rivers. From the mo­ment I could start un­der­stand­ing stand-up com­edy, I im­me­di­ately fell in love with her.” The Perth-raised, Mel­bourne-based Creasey wanted to be a co­me­dian from the age of 15. His first gig came the fol­low­ing year in the coun­try’s most pres­ti­gious open-mic com­pe­ti­tion, Raw Com­edy.

“Once I got that first laugh, I thought I could do it for a liv­ing,” he says. “It’s ad­dic­tive. I was way off being paid, but noth­ing feels bet­ter than a room full of peo­ple laugh­ing with you.” It was also around that time that Creasey came out as gay to his par­ents. It was more of a prac­ti­cal move – at 16, he was too young to at­tend gigs with­out them, and he was plan­ning to dis­cuss his sex­u­al­ity in his act. “It was such an anti-cli­max – my Dad was like, ‘OK, cool.’ And my mum goes: ‘No wor­ries. We’re hav­ing pasta for din­ner.’ It was so dis­ap­point­ing.” In per­son, Creasey’s friendly and chatty, but on­stage, he un­furls an acid tongue – tar­get­ing celebs, ex-boyfriends, even his own man­age­ment. Still, he’s harsh­est on him­self, with hi­lar­i­ous tales of hook-ups, break-ups and var­i­ous other hu­mil­i­a­tions. “I’ve never writ­ten a joke in my life. All my per­for­mances are stories. I hope my live shows are like hav­ing din­ner with a sassy friend... Fin­gers crossed out­ra­geous things keep hap­pen­ing to me.” He’s not likely to run out of ma­te­rial. Creasey’s In­sta­gram feed is a mix­ture of travel, gyms, more travel, and what could po­litely be called B-list celebrities. They’re his favourite kind. “I’m ob­sessed with all the Real House­wives,” he says. “If you’re at the Lo­gies, hang with them – you’ll have more fun. Any­one win­ning

“IT’S AD­DIC­TIVE. I WAS WAY OFF BEING PAID BUT NOTH­ING FEELS BET­TER THAN A ROOM FULL OF PEO­PLE LAUGH­ING WITH YOU.”

a Lo­gie? Bor­ing. I was on Shane Warne’s ta­ble this year – I’d much rather be there than with 800 Words. I’d drink my­self stupid.” That ear­lier New York per­for­mance was sig­nif­i­cant. Not just for Creasey – it would also be one of Rivers’ last. Two weeks later, she fell into a coma dur­ing rou­tine surgery and never woke up. “I kept telling peo­ple she’d be fine – she was the tough­est per­son I’ve ever met,” re­calls Creasey. “I was on the tread­mill at the gym in LA and the news of her death came up on the TV. I was dev­as­tated. Of everyone I’ve met in the busi­ness, she was the most hum­ble. I’ve seen Aus­tralian celebrities with re­ally ex­trav­a­gant tour rid­ers, but hers was so old school – one glass of house red wine and a prawn cock­tail. I thought that was just so cool.” Shar­ing Rivers’ leg­endary work ethic, this year Creasey per­formed well-re­ceived rou­tines in New York, LA and Mon­treal, ap­peared on TV count­less times and is cur­rently writ­ing a book. “[ Joan] told me to not say ‘no’ to any­thing. And I try to fol­low that as much as pos­si­ble.” As for the future, he has some­what large plans. “World dom­i­na­tion,” he states. “But if I had to quit com­edy, the only other thing I’d do is be on The Real House­wives.” We can all dream.

Left: Wool suit, $1945, by Paul Smith; cot­ton-blend shirt, $239, by San­dro at David Jones; satin ‘Ma­jes­tic Di­a­mond’ bowtie, $165, by Le Noeud Papil­lon.

Wool pants, $1945 (part of suit), by Paul Smith; ac­etate sun­glasses, $360, by Prada; vin­tage robe.

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