Comedian Joel Creasey discusses taking on a surprisingly new role while grappling with Victoria’s lockdown, and why his recent 30th birthday has rendered him “gay dead.”
You’ve been living in lockdown in Melbourne. Do you miss being able to get out there and do stand-up gigs?
So much. You miss the thrill of live stand-up, but a lot of comics use stand-up comedy as therapy we get paid to do. At the moment we don’t have that outlet. When you see comics doing crazy tweets or Instagram posts, it’s just them letting off some steam.
You do have a new gig, though – you’re replacing Marty Sheargold on Nova’s drive show alongside Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell. Is taking a national radio job based in Sydney just an elaborate way to get out of Melbourne?
At the minute they’re not letting Victorians in, but I’m trying for a work permit. But it could not be better timing. You see Insta stories of eating at restaurants and walking around with more than one person. That seems like an absolute luxury right now. I used to go to Sydney several times a week for work, often up and back there on the same day. Now it feels like you’re trying to get to New York.
No offence, but you’re not the obvious replacement to replace Marty…
I know, we couldn’t be more different. I love Marty Sheargold, I grew up loving his comedy. Kate and I have a lot in common. Kate won multiple Logies for Home And Away; I think I had three-and-a-half appearances on Neighbours. I have given her acting advice in the past. I’ve texted with Marty but this has all been happening in iso, and it was so hard keeping it a secret.
How did you go with that?
The Masked Singer couldn’t have come at a better time. For a while I was pretending I was the Wizard because a few of the clues could have applied to me. Unfortunately, my cover was blown by the fact the Wizard can sing [he’s since been revealed as The X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace] and I’m a terrible singer. I was talking to a friend in Sydney and stupidly said I’d be up there for work later in the year. He asked me for what, I told him I couldn’t say. Then a few days later he texted me, “Oh, I see Thor is filming at Fox Studios”. I didn’t deny it but did just send him lots of shrugging emojis in response. My poor friend – what’s going through his mind? What gay-arse role have they written into the new Thor film that Joel’s been cast?
It can be tough joining an established and well-liked group – is this like when Jessica Mauboy replaced Ricki-Lee Coulter in Young Divas for you?
Oh I loved Young Divas, before and after. I’ve done this once before. It can be tough, but I bloody love a challenge. Myf [Warhurst] and I replaced Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang hosting Eurovision. It’s tough. People loved Sam and Julia, and fair enough, too. I’m also resistant to change, I am the first person to bitch and moan when Facebook changes its layout. But you get used to it.
Have you made sure you can still do Eurovision in your new Nova contract?
Absolutely. I couldn’t leave my beautiful Myfanwy. I hope Eurovision will go ahead next year. Who knows? I thought we’d be back doing stand-up by now, but no.
You also celebrated your 30th last month in isolation. How was that?
The original plan, pre-corona, was a huge party, like a music festival. I was going to fly in a Broadway actress, get Jessica Mauboy or Guy Sebastian. Then I had to downsize to 30 people at home, with a pianist and Christie Whelan Browne to sing. And it ended up being my boyfriend Jack [Stratton-Smith] and I having a champagne at 9am and drunkenly singing karaoke to each other. But all things considered it was quite nice; I didn’t have to clean up after anyone.
You said turning 30 equals “gay dead”…
I think it came from the dating apps where younger people set their selections to only people under 30. So, I’m gay dead now. I’m happy to be placed in the ground the way 2020 has been going.
Listen to Joel Creasey on the Nova Network’s Kate, Tim & Joel show, weekdays 3-6pm, from Monday September 14.
Originally published as Joel Creasey’s Masked Singer confession