Bye Bye Ballard

Tom-Ballard

When I turned on Triple J the other morning, expecting to treat my ears with some sweet tunes and radio banter, I was taken aback.

Tom Ballard is leaving radio, on his 24th birthday no less, to pursue his ‘real passions’?

Source: Triple J

Source: Triple J

Wut?

But who would deliver those dulcet tones? Provide sarcastic comments? Be a lovable, self-deprecating champ?

Having been a fairly devout listener of the duo for the past four years, I was at a bit of a loss – HOW CAN THERE BE A TOM AND ALEX WITHOUT TOM?

On the  Triple J blog, Tom acknowledged how he’s been ‘one of the luckiest guys around’:

For the past seven years I’ve been paid to wake up with one of my best friends in the whole world, talk shit, wear zentai suits, laugh at my dad, drink instant coffee and play good music. It’s been the sweetest of gigs, but I feel like now’s the right time for me to try new things. This will give me an opportunity to focus on my real passions: standup comedy and not getting up at 4am.

I wish I was a songwriter, because then I could have penned a ‘Ballad for Ballard’, but alas, due to a lack of musical talent, all I can offer is a written ode.

The Warrnambool native did a job so many of us would be physically incapable of – being hilarious and on the ball at 6 in the morning, let along coherent. His individual achievements are impressive – a successful stand-up career, as a ‘Resident Expert’ on The Project, and recently speaking at Adelaide’s Feast Festival. He’s always been open about his sexuality and is a strong supporter of animal rights, using the platform to draw support for the cause.

However, his seven years at the Js (with the majority pleasuring our ears from 6-9 am weekdays) and his partnership with Alex Dyson have lead to so many memorable moments. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried (probably with laughter, but whatever). He’s interviewed all the big names on the show, been ARIA nominated for the CD Tom & Alex: The Bits We’re Least Ashamed Of, and sacrificed himself on the alter of dignity multiple times to entertain us listeners.

A replacement for the breakfast co-hosting gig will be announced on Tuesday December 3 (Dr Karl, Dr Karl, please Dr Karl), but in my mind, no one can compare. Although maybe Margaret Pomeranz would be a good fit?

Who can forget the Sinead O’Connor tribute following an unfortunate hairdressing incident? Tom putting his tastebuds on the line eating the ‘hottest pie in the world’ in Woy Woy? Or that time they got former PM Julia Gillard to announce the world was going to end? Best.

The comedy duo were perfect together, exemplified that time they bared all dressing as Gotye and Kimbra.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

They also provided important services to the community with Tom & Alexercise. More recently, they’ve raised money for the Syrian crisis, and put out a public campaign to get ‘Gareth from Perth’ an Irish accountant who had tipsily made the trip from WA to Victoria for Melbourne Cup Day a ticket – so much goodwill, so little time.

Also, on his personal blog, he proved to be a damn sweet kid:

Alex and I have done over a thousand shows together, and whilst there have been uber fun times on air, we’ve also had fights, made new friends, fell in love and broken up with people, mourned friends and family members, traveled, panicked, laughed together – it’s been the defining experience of my adult life and I can’t think of someone I’d rather have by my side for all of it.

Alex makes me laugh like no one else and I know that the new show come next year is going to be fucking awesome, even if it will feature less discussion of musical theatre and fewer airhorn blasts.

There’s been an outpouring of grief from Tom & Alex fans all over social media, proving Tom captured the hearts of Australians as much as he captured mine.

  • shag ®:

    27 Nov 2013 6:44:39am

    What?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I’m in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, and listen in the afternoons. I couldn’t be more bummed… You will be missed! My afternoons at work just got a tad longer… When I saw the news on the site while pulling it up to listen, I read the first paragraph and said “OH, NO” out loud, disrupting all the quiet peeps in their cubicles acound me… But, best wishes to anything and everything else you do. I’ll keep my ear out for more from you.

  • Ames3d ®:

    26 Nov 2013 11:49:16am

    Happy Birthday Tom and farewell.

    Who is going to be our voice of reason now? You’re always the first to call bulls#@t when someone tries to claim he’s been on a date with his mother.
    Good luck with the future. I look forward to another listening party

  • flossi ®:

    26 Nov 2013 8:59:19am

    Nooooo!
    You guys said not long ago we should not drive while listening to your show cause compulsive laughter may cause crashes. Well I damn near chrashed because of my tears this morning. And they were not happy tears.
    So sad :-(

The last Tom & Alex ever (tears) will be on Friday December 13, broadcasting live from The Metro in Sydney, plus a extra spesh Like A Version and mystery guests.

So I say bye bye Ballard – you’ll be missed.

Let’s finish with one of my ultimate faves, naked karaoke in aid of the Syrian crisis. Enjoy.

Lucy Ahern isn’t great writing about herself. But third person makes everything much less pretentious, right? Lucy is a freelance writer, contributing to publications such as Attitude and Rip It Up, and is the deputy editor of fashion blog The Urban Silhouette. She loves Marieke Hardy, has a soft spot for bad puns (future warning), and will devour anything combining peanut butter and chocolate.

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