Using social media as his megaphone, Titus O’Reily has built a reputation for himself as one of the funniest sport satirists around. His commitment to taking the piss out of an industry that is often in danger of taking its self too seriously has earned him a massive following online as well as a regular television and radio appearances.
O’Reily has also written two books and has a third due out later in the year, but before that is embarking on a national tour of his stand-up show ‘Better Living Through Sport’. We had a chat with him to hear about his plans for the trip.
You’ve got your show Better Living Through Sport, which you’ve performed in Melbourne already, and you’re about to take it on the road to the rest of the country. Would you like to tell us all about that one?
We spend so much time watching sport and a lot of sport is kind of completely ridiculous. It’s just a weird thing with real sports fans; we are both obsessed by it but also know deep down its kind of silly. It’s a bit like being a wrestling fan I guess, you know its fake, but you like it anyway.
So I kind of thought there are all these things we take incredibly seriously in sport that you can kind of apply to real life… if you did it real life, you’d never get away with it. An example would be something like free agency to something like marriage – so after four years, you become a restricted free agent. Funnily enough, when I mention this some people actually seem a bit too interested in this system. So yeah, anyway, taking it on the road is always fun because then you get all the different states and all the various AFL teams, and you find that sports fans are pretty much the same wherever you go.
And in between that one you’re doing the live podcast down in Melbourne, what can people expect for that one?
We have a podcast with a good following and we basically are going to run through the year of sport and bring back all our favourite stories and just riff off those. It’s been a crazy year with various things happening, everything from betting scandals to drug scandals to the cricket with David Warner coming back. It’s never a shortage really, so we go through all of that and usually do a bit of stand up as well.
We always get people to come along, often we throw it open to questions and stuff as well. It’s a good fun day really, and just a chance to look back at the craziness of the year in sport.
You have a new book coming out later in the year, what’s that one about?
Yeah, this is called please gamble irresponsibly, so it’s sort of a history of betting and sports betting in Australia, and why it’s every second add on the television now. It’s a story of how we’ve gone from gambling on any sport apart from horse racing was illegal Australia for almost a hundred years. Slowly there was this movement to legalise some of the gambling and that’s why you get the governments legalised the TAB’s originally, to sort of try and stop illegal betting.
And then you just had this explosion with the internet and there was a series of high court decisions that suddenly made it go from being an illegal industry to this highly legal and run by huge overseas listed companies.
I know there’s a lot of people in the community who are, or even people who like betting that are, concerned about just the pure volume of it. And I thought you know to sort of understand the situation you sort of need to understand how we got here in the past and what’s driving it. So that was the idea for the book – and along the way, there’s a lot of very funny stories because it’s you know, it’s based around gambling, so it’s often more farcical than anything else.
Lastly, who should I tip to win AFL this year?
Oh well I’ve said all year the Eagles. Geelong are faltering a bit, Collingwood has got a lot of injuries, Richmond is a real chance, but I think the Eagles. They’ve got two home finals, and they won the premiership last year, and they’ve won a lot on the MCG too. I think they would be my favourite at the moment if I had to pick someone. But Brisbane and Richmond are real chances as well.
See it all at The Comic’s Lounge, Melbourne – Saturday, August 25. Tickets can be found here.
Written by Liam McNally