Star of This Week Live, 10’s high-rating new prime-time comedy show, Tom Gleeson touches down for two knockout shows. You might remember him as ‘Fast Bowler’ from SkitHouse, but Gleeson is much more than that. When it comes to speaking his mind, the dude has balls. Fast ones. The segment ‘I Hate You Change My Mind’ features politicians or personalities that Gleeson grills without fear or favour…
Tom, who are the top five on your list of ‘I Hate You, Change my Mind’?
It has to be the five that have played along so far: Bob Katter, Adam Bandt, Julie Bishop, Pauline Hanson and Steve Price.
How do you escape that feeling most people have to be nice to people even when they hate them?
I’m dead inside. I don’t have emotions. I use up all my empathy on my daughter then I have none left.
What has surprised you most about your new show This Week Live?
That people on social media love it! Social media hates everything, especially if it’s new. People have really gotten behind the show, which has put wind in our sails.
Do you really think you are ageing badly? I would almost say ‘consistently’…
I would say I’m ageing preemptively. I tell people I’m turning 40 soon. They say, ‘What? I thought you turned 40 ages ago!
How do you cope with the flack that comes back at you for some of the things you might say?
I don’t mind. I invite people to provide me with feedback at my live gigs. They are always a lot less critical than they are later on Twitter and Facebook.
Has there been a particular occasion when it’s gone a bit over the top?
It never does. I don’t know why. I pick my targets well. They’re usually big ones in the public eye that can handle the pressure. I had a crack at the Catholic Church and some people walked out during the Comedy Festival. I thought after 2,000 years they could handle a few digs from a mainstream comedian.
You once expressed passionate disdain for Qantas on national TV. Did they apologise?
They gave me a voucher for $100. I couldn’t cash it though because they don’t take them at check-in. I would have had to buy a ticket at the sales desk at the airport like it was 1978 or something.
In your opinion why do you think customer service is so bad in so many organisations?
Staff don’t have a personal motivation to be good at their jobs. Tips would solve everything. In America the service is so amazing that sometimes, when I was there, I would visit a restaurant just for the self-esteem boost.
What’s the thing that shits you most on a daily basis?
People saying ‘tell us a joke’ and then ‘you must get that all the time’. What they don’t realise is that I also get ‘you must get that all the time’ all the time.
How do you keep that razor-sharp edge? Does fatherhood soften it at all?
Fatherhood has nothing to do with it. I’ve always been extremely cynical. I used to cover it up because I thought to be a comedian in Australia you had to be ‘likeable’. As I’ve grown older my real views have emerged and I censor myself less and it seems to have yielded funnier results.
How do you maintain a TV career alongside your standup? Do the two feed each other, or are they separate beasts?
I squeeze TV into my schedule when it comes knocking. The truth is that TV doesn’t pay as well as performing live, for me anyway. But TV does make more people turn up to the gigs. But I wouldn’t get asked to do TV unless I was doing good live gigs. I can’t work out if Ten are doing me a favour or I’m doing Ten a favour.
What’s your opinion on the upcoming election?
Tony Abbott is going to win and the Emissions Trading Scheme is going to be scrapped. I find that depressing. I don’t know how the planet’s future has fallen off the agenda.
Finish this sentence… You can take the boy out of Gunnedah…
… and then his employment opportunities improve! That’s not true. They’ve got mining there. Everyone has a job there now.
What should we expect for your upcoming show in Byron?
It will be the best show I’ve ever done. My new show HELLO BITCHES! has toured Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and NZ. To get in the mood you can download my last show GOOD ONE for $5 at tomgleeson.com.au.
Friday at the Byron Brewery. Tickets are $25. Bookings on 6619 0529.
http://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/TomGleeson for online ticket purchase.
Tom is also appearing at Cabarita Beach Sports Club on Saturday, but that show is close to, if not totally, sold out.