End­less hori­zons for com­edy gold

Co­me­dian Tom Bal­lard on climb­ing feats and salty treats.

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - CELEBRITY ESCAPE -

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.

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