Inner East Review
Wednesday, 6 December 2023

Creasey serves up a fresh slice of life for Melbourne Comedy Festival show

Updated April 27 2022 - 12:50pm, first published April 19 2022 - 5:00am
Joel Creasey ... 'I love giving people that hour just to chill and laugh and relax' PHOTO Morgan Hancock
Joel Creasey ... 'I love giving people that hour just to chill and laugh and relax' PHOTO Morgan Hancock

Jerry Seinfeld found comedic fame with "a show about nothing". Richmond stand-up comedian, radio presenter and TV host Joel Creasey has found a similar groove.

His Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Basic AF - yes, it is an acronym for a crude expression - reflects the lack of a theme to what is basically an hour of freshly written stand-up about Creasey's life, which can change between performances.

"It's constantly evolving because it's very autobiographical, so as things happen to me and as things change I make little tweaks," he says.

"My style is just telling silly stories from my life."

A case in point is his "horrifying" contribution to morale on the day the demise of Neighbours - in which he had been acting - was announced.

"I was there when they all found out that they no longer had jobs, and I somehow managed to make the day worse when I accidentally went to the bathroom with my microphone still on," he says.

Also dissected for amusement is a European getaway with partner Jack Stratton-Smith which saw the couple spend New Years' Eve in Paris surrounded by revellers yelling and cheering at a time when the city was recording 250,000 new Omicron cases a day.

Creasey's show will run through to Sunday at Melbourne Town Hall

Between breaks in his schedule as a drive presenter for Nova FM, Creasey already has taken the show to Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide and Perth, and is eager to entertain a home crowd with it.

While there are a lot of pop culture references and a "very millennial and Gen Y" focus, Creasey hopes the show appeals to a wide range of people.

"I love giving people that hour just to chill and laugh and relax," he says. "As I say to the crowd, 'Let's kick back and relax, I'll do all the work'."

Still, while it may be true that there are "far bluer comics around", the audience had better be prepared to "go everywhere" with the comedian.

"My parents were in the audience the other night in Perth and they're very hard to shock. But they were sitting with some friends and I think there were a few moments where their eyes were really quite wide open," he says.

Dubbed "the acid-tongued prince" by an early unappreciative reviewer, Creasey then ironically transformed the description into "the Crown Prince of Comedy", an epithet now commonly used in connection with him.

A contrasting descriptor he quite likes is "humble jester".

"I don't mind 'your humble jester'. That's my responsibility in life. I have no other skills except to be a clown and I'm fine with that," he says.

Despite a reputation for cattiness and snark, the biggest target of the jokes is always himself, Creasey says.

"Or my partner. But he's got a pretty good sense of humour."

First performing stand-up as a 15-year-old in Perth and appearing in his debut Melbourne comedy festival at 19 - and earning a 'best newcomer' nomination for it - Creasey has worked extraordinarily hard and indulged in "shameless self-promotion" ever since to build a CV that is exhausting to examine.

His now-international career spans a suite of TV hosting, reality show and acting roles as well as stand-up comedy across Australia and in the UK, Asia and America. He has published a memoir - Thirsty, Confessions of a Fame Whore - and appeared in specials for streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime.

In December last year he was awarded 'best newcomer' status at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards for his work on Nova's drive show 'Kate, Tim & Joel', which he joined in 2020.

In June 2021 he became the first openly gay man to feature on the cover of Men's Health magazine, a job he spent 12 weeks training for and did with his shirt off.

Creasey himself cites opening for Joan Rivers in New York, which he did several times, as a career highlight, along with the timeless thrill of packing a theatre.

Looking out at the crowd, he says, he thinks of all the trouble they've gone to to be there.

"I'm always very stoked about that, It never doesn't really touch me."

Joel Creasey, Richmond's humble jester
Joel Creasey, Richmond's humble jester

One of the roles the performer is perhaps best known for is hosting the SBS coverage of Eurovision, a gig he has had with co-host Myf Warhurst since 2017 which he describes as being similar to sports commentary.

Creasey is looking forward to the contest in Turin next month and says Australia's entrant Sheldon Riley, with his unfaltering voice, unique performance and "kook" factor, is in with a good chance.

Creasey describes his gig at Eurovision as being similar to sports commentary

"I think it'll be very interesting this year, with everything going on over in Europe, how the votes go.

"I think there'll be a big difference between the public vote and the jury vote, and I think it'll be anyone's game, so I can't wait to get there."

For anyone unconvinced about the value of the song contest, Creasey advises they "give it a go".

Joel Creasey, Richmond's humble jester
Joel Creasey, Richmond's humble jester

"It's such a fun show, and there's so much more to it than just the artists on stage.

"It's like the Super Bowl of music, it's country versus country.

"If you like competition, it's something to sink your teeth into, because it's really feisty."

Meanwhile, there are other fun shows to consider.

"I can't wait to be back on stage at the comedy festival. It's such a great time to be in Melbourne," Creasey says.


After years living in Docklands Joel Creasey found a home when he and his partner Jack Stratton-Smith relocated to Abbotsford four years ago.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, what was I doing living in Docklands for so long? This is the best place in the world!'," says Creasey, who has since moved into the 3121 postcode to be "closer to the action".

"I just love the people and I love that you're so close to the city, there's some great restaurants, it's a great vibe."

"I've never met any tools here really, and I love all my neighbours - my old ones, my new ones.

"I've never felt more at home."

Creasey trained in "every park around the area", ran along the Yarra and swam in the local pool to "get shredded" for his Men's Health magazine photo shoot last June.

A proud member of the community Facebook page - where he recently sought professional help to keep Stratton-Smith's indoor plants alive - the comedian loves Richmond's community feel, markets and LGBTQI-friendly venue DTs.

"It's such a welcoming space for that community in Richmond," he says.

"I've never felt out of place. I've just felt welcome there and like I'm where I'm meant to be."


Jenny Denton


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