Before Tom Gleeson hits screens nationally for the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Gala and Great Debate he’s bringing his hilarious new show to Brisbane.
Tom Gleeson is bringing quality humour and biting political commentary to the Powerhouse for the Brisbane Comedy Festival with his new show Quality. Tom had a chat with bmag about what to expect from the new show, what he’s been up to and why he loves Brisbane…
What can audiences expect from your show at Brisbane Comedy Festival?
To some degree the show is about not coping. It’s about not coping with Tony Abbott, it’s about not coping with your two-year-olds, it’s about not coping with booze.
It’s a brand new stand up show. I’m at the Adelaide Fringe at the moment performing it, then I go to Canberra, then I go to Brisbane. So I’m not using Brisbane as guinea pigs, the show is working.
I’m also having a lot of fun, I don’t want to give too much away but I had a segment on a Channel Ten show last year called “I hate you, change my mind” and I’m doing a live version of that too.
How is it different to your previous shows?
I’ve been having a bit of audience interaction, normally I talk to the crowd anyway but I’ve been a bit more hands-on this year.
Also I’m doing a lot of political material. I feel like the current environment needs it; there’s not much critique of the Abbott Government, in some respects, because there isn’t much comedy satire on TV at the moment.
I had a bit of a break from doing political stuff but this year I think that it’s ripe for the picking.
Why should people see Quality?
I guess they should just come and see me because people tend to think my shows are brilliant so why would you miss out on that?
Are you looking forward to visiting Brisbane? What’s on the agenda?
I always like coming to Brisbane. Obviously the weather’s always good, but the thing I’m looking forward to most of all is the Powerhouse. I’ve been doing shows at the Brisbane Powerhouse since before it was trendy.
I used to do shows there in 2006 and 2007 and there would be nobody down there, it would be hard to get a crowd to go there, and then one year I turn up and everyone’s out on the deck on a sunny day, there’s DJs there and all the beautiful people are there all dressed up, and I’m like, I don’t know what happened, but suddenly it’s become trendy. So I’ve enjoyed watching the Powerhouse grow into this central venue for Brisbane.
And the great thing about the Brisbane Comedy Festival from a performing point of view is that there aren’t many shows… so often I take that as a great chance to go and see some of the other comedians and what they’re up to ahead of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, because quite often it gets too busy and I can’t get to them there. But in Brisbane it’s so easy to get around that you could easily see two or three shows in a night no problem.
Your segment ‘I hate you, change my mind’ on This Week Live was very popular – will we be seeing a return this year?
I want it to come back because the segment was so versatile. I feel like there’s a lot more people out there who I need to hate.
I don’t feel like there’s any shortage of guests and funnily enough people line up to do it! They’re quite happy to let me make fun of them, I guess it shows they’ve got a sense of humour. I’d like to do more of it.
Do you prefer television work or stand up?
The good thing about stand up is that I get to control the whole thing, which I enjoy, and also I get to present an hour of material.
Sometimes on TV you’ve got to use a short cut, you get short grabs so you can only say little bits and pieces. It’s the tip of the iceberg, where in a live show you really get the whole package.
Even This Week Live – which I enjoy because it’s live TV and I get to talk straight to the audience – there’s still four other people on the panel, and then we have guests and that’s an hour… so by the time you get to the end of an episode you’ve probably only really aired about five to seven minutes worth of material.
But with a one-hour show there’s no ad breaks, it’s just me, so I really get to run off at the mouth.
What’s been the best moment in your career to date?
I feel differently on different days. I’ve supported Louis CK, probably the biggest stand-up in America right now or in the world even, and he chose me to be the support act for his Australian tour and he used to watch me in the wings which is an extreme form of flattery.
Another fun thing is getting someone like Red Symons on ‘I hate you, change my mind’ and him willingly letting me tear strips off him because he saw the first segment with Bob Katter… and Red said that he rubbed his hands together and thought, “This is brilliant.”
The people that I respect and admire who have come before me – for them to watch me and to think that maybe I’m on the right path is always a highlight, because it makes you feel like you’re on the right track.