Endless horizons for comedy gold
Comedian Tom Ballard on climbing feats and salty treats.
If you had friends coming to stay with you in Sydney, what three local things would you insist they do? TB: See a play at the Griffin Theatre – it could be bad but that’s half the fun. Eat your weight in Messina ice cream. Do the Bridge Climb. I won’t be joining you, I just want you to get out of the house for a bit. Where’s your favourite place to holiday in Australia? TB: I just love the Hunter Valley. I love all the hoity-toity pretentiousness when at the end of the day, it’s really all about getting drunk and eating cheese. Have you been somewhere for work that wasn’t on your travel radar that turned out to be a fantastic destination? TB: Regional Western Australia blew me away. I was there for two weeks last year on the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow and the red dirt and never-ending horizon were stunning. Kalgoorlie gets something of a bad rap, but I think it’s dark and beautiful andd disturbing all at the same time. What’s the best thing you’vee eaten while travelling? TB: New York pretzels. They have the salt content of seaweed dipped in peanut butter and I can never finish a single one but I just love squeezing that mustard in andd having a big ol’ chomp. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten while travelling? TB: South East Asia’s obsession with the durian st still amazes me. They say it’s th the fruit that “tastes like heaven but smells like hell”. That’s pretty accurate. Is travel a source of inspirationin for your work? TB:T Fish-out-of-the-water stuff is comedy gold. I went to Bangkok with my parents and my dad and I both got massages ata the same time in two separate roomsro divided by a thin wall. I wasw offered a happy ending and declined,d but then clearly heard mym father’s grunts and groans through the partition for the rest of the experience. I’m pretty sure it was just his bad back getting a work-out, but that didn’t stop some pretty full-on and unnecessary images popping into my head. Do you have a standout travel memory? TB: I went to New York in 2009 and went to Broadway to see 9 to 5, the Dolly Parton musical starring Allison Janney. I was so happy, I cried actual tears of joy. It was the best. Biggest mistake or faux pas you’ve made while travelling? TB: I was shocking at remembering to take my shoes off going into temples in Japan, so I guess I’m going to all of the hells now. What has travel taught you? TB: All the trains in Estonia have free Wi-Fi. Interview by Chanel Parratt. Tom Ballard hosts the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS ONE tonight at 8.30pm.
ON A HIGH: Comedian Tom Ballard (left) recommends the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb (main) for visitors to the city.