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Bent Merriment: Queer Comedy

Listen to Bent Merriment: Queer Comedy

The word ‘gay’ started out as a synonym for mirth and hilarity – and its modern usage isn’t just a coincidence.

Photo of the panellists

Tom Ballard and Steven Oliver

In this discussion, hear stories from three queer comedians about what they’ve encountered along the way. How did they begin, and how has their comedy developed alongside their sexuality? In which ways does queer comedy operate as a kind of activism? Should it? How are society’s changing values reflected in where the ‘too far’ mark lies?

RRR presenter Geraldine Hickey (Breakfasters), Black Comedy’s Steven Oliver, stand-up comedian Demi Lardner and host Tom Ballard discuss whether whom one bones influences one’s funny bones.


Portrait of Tom Ballard

Tom Ballard

Tom Ballard is a comedian, writer, broadcaster, actor, philanthropist and philanderer.

In 2009 he became the youngest person ever to win the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Best Newcomer Award. Since then he's co-hosted the Triple J breakfast show for four years, won an ARIA, supported the likes of Wil Anderson, Stephen Merchant and Danny Bhoy, roasted Jimmy Carr and even filled in for Tony Jones on ABC TV's Q&A . 

While all that's very impressive, you should also know that Tom has quite bad eczema, is scared of going to the gym and can not cook anything at all.  

Portrait of Demi Lardner

Demi Lardner

Demi has been doing stand-up since she was 16, and in a few short years has scored handfuls of awards – performing her unique brand of funny around the country and abroad.

In 2013, she won the RAW Comedy Competition and tied for first place in the national final of So You Think You're Funny? in Edinburgh. In 2016, she was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and then went on to win Best Newcomer in the same year at the Sydney Comedy Festival. She returned to Melbourne this year to win the Director's Choice Award.

Demi hosts and produces the podcast We Are Not Doctors with fellow comedian Bart Freebairn, playing listener voicemails and dishing out sometimes great, often terrible advice.

Portrait of Steven Oliver

Steven Oliver

Steven Oliver is a descendant of the Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi (in other words, biggest mob) peoples. He was born in Cloncurry in North West Queensland and grew up in Townsville before moving to Perth to study performing arts. He has worked with numerous theatre companies and arts organisations across Australia but became notorious with ABC’s hit sketch show Black Comedy as a writer/actor/associate producer. He is also a published playwright and poet. He currently works fulltime at the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association as its Creative Director.

Portrait of Geraldine Hickey

Geraldine Hickey

With an unselfconscious charm and a superb skill for finding the funny in true stories Geraldine Hickey has been described as a ‘deceptively cheery dame who'll quietly take out your innards.’ She is revered in the industry as a comedian’s comedian and has been shortlisted for the ‘Piece of Wood’ award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival multiple times. A veteran of many seasons of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, she is also a regular on the club and pub circuit around the country.

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