He’s a successful comedian and one third of a hit radio trio, but Joel Creasey says he understands why some people don’t like him.
He’s a successful comedian and one third of a hit radio trio, but Joel Creasey says he understands why some people don’t like him.

Joel Creasey says he understands why some do not like him

While Joel Creasey stood down from stand-up comedy during lockdown he found a novel way to dust off the cobwebs.

He'd gone almost eight months without entertaining people so he decided to watch his own shows - in the back of an Uber.

"It's not like riding a bike, it really is something you need to be match fit with so my first few gigs on stage were quite crunchy,'' Creasey says.

"I was a bit nervous and I'm terrible in that I don't write down any of my material. I really don't document it anywhere and I rely on my brain and it's not the most reliable of brains.

"So actually my first gig back I was going to drive but I thought no I need to sit in the back of an Uber. I was watching old clips of mine and it's not until you watch yourself in the back of an Uber you realise how irritating you really are. I get why some people can't stand me."

Creasey is always brushing up on his performing skills but the reality is his shows are still as popular as ever. When he announced a national tour this week, his website, which he admits hadn't been used for a while, crashed.

Creasey says he understands why some people don’t like him. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Creasey says he understands why some people don’t like him. Picture: Justin Lloyd

"I was meant to do shows in Perth but they had to be cancelled, it's been very tricky for my touring agent, it's like a jigsaw puzzle,'' Creasey says.

"I did a gig recently in Sydney, it's really nice to be on stage and nice to be working again and making people laugh. People got so angry during lockdown, and comics as well. We just want to make people laugh. It's nice to get back on stage in a traditional environment."

Lockdown was tough but genuinely modest Creasey didn't even think about complaining.

One of the things he missed out on was a fun and flamboyant celebration for his 30th.

His birthday on August 11 was one of the state's dark days when the government announced more than 330 new cases of coronavirus in the state.

But the comedian saw the bright side. He had signed on for a new radio gig (which was then still under wraps), and was holed up at home with his long-time partner, model Jack Stratton-Smith, watching TV, eating junk food and playing badminton with the makeshift net set up in their lounge room.

"Jack and I enjoy being slobs,'' Creasey says.

"So we bought stable tables and we ate meals in bed and got right into Nintendo and Game of Thrones.

"All things considered we had a great time. We enjoy each other's company and being alone and watching TV so lockdown kind of worked for us in that sense.

"At one point we set up a badminton set in our lounge room. Some days we were playing badminton at 10am.

"I didn't take up any hobbies, I didn't make any sourdough, I just scrolled on social media and I was just obsessed with press conferences.

"All I wanted to do was watch (Premier) Dan Andrews' press conferences. I now know all the chief medical officers' names and all the premiers of each states' names.

Joel Creasey and partner Jack Stratton-Smith. Picture: Instagram
Joel Creasey and partner Jack Stratton-Smith. Picture: Instagram

"I was incredibly lucky. Because I knew for a while (about radio) and I was keeping it on the downlow. I really didn't want to whinge because people were doing it harder than me.

"Jack's birthday is August 10, the day before mine, and he's a few years younger.

"It was a bit bizarre celebrating back to back birthdays at home, but at least we didn't have to clean up after anyone."

The timing of the new radio gig, joining Nova's successful drive team with Tim Blackwell and Kate Ritchie, came at the perfect time.

Creasey's "pivot" into radio was announced later in August and when he started in September it was far from a seamless transition.

Creasey is known for creating the laughs but what if he was the one laughed at?

"There were so many fears,'' he says.

"It was the No. 1 show for so long in drive and I really worried me coming in would change that. I knew how beloved Marty (Sheargold) was, including me, I was a fan.

"It's not like I could go out and celebrate the job or debrief over a bottle of wine with friends.

"I was going to do the job during a stage four lockdown. I was being stopped on the way to work to show my essential workers permit. There was not a single other person in the offices except for my producer who was in a face mask, there was all this pressure riding on me but when the ratings held at the end of the year I was very happy.

"People said there's guys on radio shows who are often in different states. That's true but they don't start in a different studio and I was all alone in Melbourne."

Tim Blackwell, Kate Ritchie and Joel Creasey.
Tim Blackwell, Kate Ritchie and Joel Creasey.

Creasey, Blackwell and Ritchie have gelled even better than they expected.

Some days Creasey isn't his usual happy and gregarious self, but his colleagues and close friends lift him up.

"Radio has been so much fun and now I'm in the same studio as those two terrors - but the three of us get on like a house on fire,'' he says.

"Tim is very handy to have around because he'll rattle off recommendations and he's like a rolodex of Sydney restaurants.

"I'm very competitive with my sisters and Kate and I are competitive in the most loving way.

"All the games on radio are me versus Kate. We've now even turned who can get into the office earlier into a game. I love teasing Kate and she gives it back often harder.

"We go online each morning to find articles for the show and our show is very light-hearted and irreverent. I often come across articles about her and I'm like, 'no you're everywhere'. I'm looking for articles about Rita Ora and I'm like, 'go away Kate'.

"She's so happy. She can always tell when you're having a good or a bad day, she's really caring and just divine. She is like a sister."

After the latest Melbourne lockdown was announced two weeks ago, Creasey and Stratton-Smith jumped on a plane to Sydney.

The Victorian Government said the third lockdown would only last five days but Creasey couldn't risk it. He had the radio show, stand-up gigs plus Mardi Gras to co-host for SBS on March 6.

Next month he and Stratton-Smith will celebrate their four-year anniversary and Creasey says it would feel weird being apart.

"There wasn't much modelling in COVID but he's been busy since and he's in terrifyingly good shape at the moment which is hard to look at in the mirror,'' Creasey says.

"Also with lockdown there's separation anxiety, who will I lie in bed with and eat junk food with?"

Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey host SBS Eurovision: Big Night In!
Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey host SBS Eurovision: Big Night In!

Creasey was born in Sydney, moved to Perth at a young age and then tried his luck in Melbourne from age 19.

He has two sisters, Holly and Alice, and sadly his beloved family dog of 15 years, Bella, died just two weeks ago.

During his career he has collected a swag of accolades and is one the country's best known comedians and hosts.

He has committed to doing two shows during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which will return at the end of March. "This year I'll gig as much as the borders and the premiers allow me,'' Creasey says.

"I'm performing the opening weekend of the Comedy Festival, the Friday and Saturday.

"I'm obsessed with the US election. From when they were doing their conventions, all the way through to the election, all the way through to the inauguration, all the way through to the latest impeachment trial, it's been the weirdest reality TV show ever.

"I didn't think I'd know the names of so many US politicians. The junk my brain is filled with is US politicians and people like Brett Sutton, Jeroen (Weimar), Lisa Neville. Why is her name in my head.

"I was not going to do any COVID material and every other comic said the same but everyone is doing it. We can laugh about the crazy shit we got up to in lockdown for sure."

Creasey is also expected to co-host Eurovision again, set to take place in May in Rotterdam.

Mardi Gras will feature pop star Rita Ora, electronic duo Electric Fields, ARIA Award-winner Montaigne and Indie pop star G Flip.

Due to COVID-19, the parade will not take place in the city's centre. Instead, for the first time, it will move to the Sydney Cricket Ground, which will be transformed into a sparkling showcase of LGBTQI+ culture and community. The theme is "rise".

Jack Stratton-Smith and Joel Creasey.
Jack Stratton-Smith and Joel Creasey.

"There's rainbows and flags around Sydney which is nice to see, and it'll be the first big event for a lot of people, including me,'' Creasey says.

"I think they'll put on a really great show and people will be surprised by the quality of the production. It's going to be like the Sydney Olympics."

There's a lot of bells and whistles in the things Creasey does, but behind the jokes he is your average Melbourne resident who likes to be a home body and enjoys exploring the bar and restaurant scene.

He has no plans to give it all up, but if he did what would he do?

"If I gave it all away, there's so many things I'd do,'' he says.

"I'd love to be a pilot although it's not a very lucrative industry. I'll just be like John Travolta and have a pilot's licence. I love entertaining and I love the hospitality industry. Regardless if I give it all away I'd love to own a restaurant or a bar.

"I love entertaining and I love eating and drinking. Since we've reopened I know so many businesses have closed, but so many restaurants have also opened and it's like rediscovering Melbourne.

"I'm pretty confident I'll still call Melbourne home. I love Melbourne, through all it's shitty weather and lockdown. If that hasn't turned me off I don't think anything will."

Creasey will co-host the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras live on March 6 on SBS.
jackie.epstein@news.com.au

Originally published as Creasey: I get why people can't stand me


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