The name Tim Young might be familiar to the local comedy fans out there. A comedian and producer from Ballarat, Tim founded the Rat’s Locally Grown Funnies, with the aim of giving regional comedians stage time without having to travel to Melbourne. Now Tim is bringing Ballarat to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with a show dedicated to his weird and wonderful life in Ballarat. We sit down with Tim ahead of the show.
First up, can you tell us a bit about your journey into comedy?
I have always been the big mouth at parties and once, as a throwaway line, I said to a friend that I’d love to try stand up. He booked me in to do an open mic night without me knowing. I was terrified, then I got my first laugh and I was hooked.
You’re representing your home of Ballarat quite literally at the upcoming performances at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. What can we expect from the show?
Many stories of misadventure both in the small regional Victorian town and also in other parts of Australia. Things that should have gone right but went oh so wrong. There’s something in the show for everyone because we all stuff up from time to time.
Based on stories from the ‘Rat, what was your process like in pulling this altogether?
There’s been plenty of observation and then trial and error. You find a story from your everyday life that you think is going to get a laugh and then you trial it several times to see if anyone agrees with you. After a while you find the bits of that story that work, you keep them and discard the rest. Finally, you put all those stories that have worked together into some sort of order to make an hour-long show.
Do you think this is a show that will be funnier to the people who have heard of or lived in Ballarat compared to those who haven’t?
A couple of bits might be but I have kept it nice and broad so it appeals to everyone, including those that haven’t been to or heard of Ballarat. Stupidity is the same regardless of Geography.
You’ve lived in Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville, the Northern Territory and overseas, how did you actually end up in Ballarat? How does it compare?
16 years ago I moved to Ballarat for love, we’re still together today and living happily in the ‘Rat. We’ve lived in some other places but have always come back. Ballarat is totally different to anywhere else that I have lived. It’s a brilliant and at times very confusing mix of old and new. For example, historic Lydiard St with its gold rush era buildings is only a couple of hundred meters from a government office building made entirely of mirrors.
As a comedian, you win over crowds with your relaxed, confident style that puts everyone at ease. Has this the way you’ve always been, or did you discover that this is what works best with your style of comedy?
Again it comes back to trial and error. Over many many gigs, you try delivering your material in different ways and eventually you find one that fits. For me, it was the relaxed (lazy) style that seemed to work best with audiences.
How do you prepare for a show? Do you have any weird rituals that you do?
I like to stay distracted for as long as possible up until I go on stage. I love to stand on the door and greet people as they come into shows. Also, I have to be drinking out of a left-handed water bottle pre-show.
As the founder of Locally Grown Funnies in Ballarat, you’re clearly passionate about comedy and having it accessible to regional areas. How have you seen the scene grow over time?
The comedy scene in Ballarat has come along in leaps and bounds, There are now regular open mic nights as well as BallaratCat which is a monthly night in Ballarat that brings some of the big names in comedy to our little town. Locally Grown Funnies continues to bridge the gap between the two, giving emerging comedians a great gig at which to spread their wings without having to drive all the way to Melbourne. It’s exciting times for comedy in Ballarat and surrounds!
What else have you got up your sleeve for 2020?
I’m working on a couple of really exciting projects for TV and hopefully fitting in some touring around everything else. It’s all very exciting and great fun too!!
You can catch Tim’s performance at The Charles Dickens Tavern, Melbourne from April 6 – 19. Tickets can be purchased via www.comedyfestival.com.au/2020/shows/ballarat