Thomas Colin Ballard
26 November 1989
|Residence||Sydney, New South Wales|
|Occupation||Comedian, radio and television presenter|
Thomas Colin Ballard (born 26 November 1989) is an Australian comedian, radio and television presenter.
Ballard was born to parents Judy and Neil Ballard and grew up in Warrnambool, Victoria. He attended Brauer Secondary College, graduating in 2007 as School Captain and Dux and achieving an Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank of 99.80 in his Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). He was consequently named as the dux of the South West Region. He then briefly studied law at Monash University.
He was also awarded the VCAA's 2007 VCE Achiever's Award. During his VCE year, Ballard competed in and won the VCAA's Plain English Speaking Award with a speech titled "bullying.com". He went on to place second in the national competition to Daniel Swain, with the two being chosen to represent Australia in the International Public Speaking Competition held in London in May 2008. His success in the public speaking competition and his activism with school and local youth communities on topics such as homophobia and cyberbullying helped earn him the Achiever's Award.
He was a three-time Class Clowns National Finalist and a Raw Comedy National Finalist by 2006. He performed in Upwey, Warburton, Healesville and Lilydale as part of the Young Blood Comedy Tour in 2007 and was a guest entertainer in the 2007 Melbourne Comedy Festival's Eskimo Jokes show.
He was one of the "stars of the future" (along with Jacques Barrett, Lila Tillman, and Jack Druce) who were collectively promoted by the 2008 Melbourne International Comedy Festival as the "four freshest and funniest new talents we could find" and featured in the Festivals' Comedy Zone.
Ballard was a presenter for Warrnambool's 3WAY FM community radio station with Alex Dyson. On the strength of his Raw Comedy performance, Ballard was given the chance to develop some demos with Australian youth radio station Triple J and, along with Dyson, was given regular Mid-Dawn (1am to 6 am) shifts.
In December 2008, Ballard and Dyson were the presenters for the weekday summer lunch slot (10 am to 2 pm) and in 2009 moved to the weekend breakfast slot. On 23 November 2009, Triple J announced that Ballard and Dyson would take over as hosts of the 2010 Breakfast show.
In November 2013, Ballard resigned from Triple J after 7 years with the station to focus on his stand-up comedy.
Ballard is openly gay. He and comedian Josh Thomas were each other's first boyfriend with Thomas describing Ballard as "much more assertively open and gay, and earnest." As their 18-month relationship was ending in 2010, Thomas was on tour with his show Surprise, "all about being young, gay and in love for the first time." Ballard premiered his show, Since 1989, at the Belvoir St Theatre the following year. Dealing with his childhood and first relationship, and largely written prior to the break-up, Ballard described the experience as giving him "an element of closure" allowing him to "sign off and say this is what I felt about this time."
In 2018, Ballard released a statement on his website denying an allegation of sexual assault "in the strongest terms possible."
Political views and advocacy
Ballard hosts the ABC political and cultural comedy commentary program Tonightly with Tom Ballard. He has used his comedy to advocate on a range of political issues.
He has written and spoken of his hatred for conservative columnists Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen and broadcaster Alan Jones. In 2012, he published "My Letter to Miranda Devine" in which he strongly criticised Devine for writing that "the ideal situation for a child to be raised in is an intact family with a father and a mother". Of Bolt he wrote "His show’s called The Bolt Report, which is odd; I thought they would’ve gone with the original title they were looking at: Mein Kampf."
Ballard has been a vocal critic of Australian government policy towards asylum seekers. In 2016 he told SBS: "I've found myself getting really angry about the way we treat refugees as a country. I figured if I could take that passion and interest and funnel it into my comedy I might come up with something that would be a different way for people to engage with the whole topic." In 2017 Ballard told the ABC "I'm a painful atheist and bang on about it quite regularly in my comedy", but added that his "strident atheism" had been tempered in recent years through his involvement in refugee advocacy and meeting faith leaders in that space "living the best values of the Christian teaching."
In 2016, Ballard signed an open letter to the editors of The Australian newspaper condemning that paper's decision to publish a Bill Leak cartoon depicting a neglectful Aboriginal father.
On September 23, Ballard endorsed the Victorian Socialists for the 2018 Victorian State Election.
- "Brauer College 2007 V.C.E. Results". brauer.vic.edu.au. Brauer Secondary College. 2007. Archived from the original on 5 April 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- "VCE Achiever Award". VCAA Bulletin (VCE, VCAL and VET) (PDF). 55. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. December 2007. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Lander, Carole; Bartle, Claire (2007). "VCAA Plain English Speaking Award – Report 2007" (PDF). Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- "The Comedy Zone". Melbourne International Comedy Festival. 2008. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2008.
- Taylor, Belle (6 January 2010). "Changing of the guard at Triple J". The West Australian. p. 2. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- Liptai, Tina. Comedy duo hit bigtime: National breakfast, Warrnabool Standard, 11 December 2008, accessed 26 December 2008.
- Quinn, Karl (18 November 2016). "First Contact review: David Oldfield's verdict on 'Stone Age' culture". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016.
- "The world is a scary place, and Tom Ballard is here to help". ABC News. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Molloy, Shannon (24 July 2014). "Gay comedian and ABC TV host Tom Ballard tried dating app Tinder and failed". news.com.au. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Connolly, Paul (16 October 2015). "Comedian Josh Thomas discusses homophobia in the gay community". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Hook, Chris (20 October 2011). "Tom Ballard at the Blevoir St". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Ballard, Tom (22 October 2012). "My Letter To Miranda Devine". tomballard.com.au. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Hegarty, Siobhan (24 October 2017). "Are we losing our religion? Four young Aussies share their take on spirituality". Religion and Ethics Report (Radio National). Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "Tom Ballard, comedian and host of ABC show Tonightly, denies sexual assault allegation". ABC Online. 10 June 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- Tom Ballard: Using Comedy for Change; sbs.com.au; 29 March 2016
- QandA: Festival of the Arts; Monday 13 March, 2017
- ABC executive apologises to Kevin Bailey over Tonightly skit smh.com.au; 23 March 2018
- "Tom Ballard's ABC talk show has been axed". Retrieved 9 September 2018.
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