Tom Ballard: My Ego Is Better Than Your Ego

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s no surprise, given the title, but this show is all about Tom Ballard himself, and his desperate need to receive love. Though, like any entertainer, he is happy to substitute ‘attention’ for ‘love’.

Over the past 12 months, he might have discovered that the two are not ynonymous, thanks to a trail of broken relationships, Twitter flame wars, and very public accusations that he is both a rape apologist and a ‘beyond distasteful’ anti-Semite, making light of the Holocaust.

As a 23-year-old who co-hosts the breakfast show on national youth radio station Triple J, Ballard is the confident voice of the post-millennial Generation Y, so it is little surprise that his online encounters form a substantial part of his set, as that forms such an intrinsic part of his peer group’s experience.

Specific anecdotes such as the insults he traded with Wolfmother’s lead singer Andrew Stockdale don’t amount to much – but on wider matters of online etiquette he shines, from snide comments ending ‘just sayin’’ to the campaigns for a Facebook dislike button, he exposes the arrogant self-importance of those whose common courtesy vanishes with their broadband connection.

Not that he’s beyond the odd pointed comment himself, of course, and will happily take a pop at the likes of One Direction – or at least the sort of music they stand for. Though at least with many of his jibes, including a fine one about the Amy Winehouse foundation, he has the decency to be funny with his attitude.

There was that one time when his wit failed him: making that ill-judged Nazi reference on his radio show, prompting the ire of a Jewish scholar and much of the media, forcing him to issue a contrite apology. What he doesn’t cover in this hour is the ‘rape’ controversy, despite mentioning it at the start.

Ballard’s an amiable commentator on his own misfortunes and on the world in general, but can turn on the rage when needed. In fact, he probably overuses the device, erupting in a loud torrent of outrage at the end of almost every segment. When employed justly, as in his spot-on tirade about hen night misbehaviour, it hits the spot perfectly... at other times it seems like compensation to distract from otherwise slight content.

However, he is a naturally funny man, attuned to his youthful demographic but with much wider appeal. If he’s seeking validation, he should get it from this brisk, amusing hour.

Review date: 22 Apr 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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