Tom Gleeson performs Up Himself
Although he wasn’t to know it when he named his latest show Up Himself, at the recent Adelaide Fringe Tom Gleeson had every right to be. “Yeah it was a dream run,” he says after driving back from the festival, quipping that he dropped his Adelaide jokes in the fruit bin on the way back.
Thanks to years of touring and a national TV profile from shows such as The 7PM Project and Good News Week, Tom Gleeson sold out his entire run before he even set foot on stage in Adelaide. He put on an extra show and he sold that out as well. “The great thing was I did an article in the Adelaide Advertiser and because I’d been sold out I hadn’t been reviewed and I dared them to give me a one star review, because it would make fuck-all difference,” he says with a chuckle from his home in Romsey. “Reverse psychology is an amazing thing because when they did review me they were like, ‘Oh we’re sorry we can’t give you a one star review, the show was too good.’ So I got a glowing review the day before my extra show so it all came out sweet, so it was good fun,” he says.
In Up Himself Gleeson will be talking about his Irish heritage. “I went back to Ireland and found out where Gleesons are from and I went to a town full of Gleesons. There were a lot of Gleesons there and a lot of people who looked like me, which was quite unnerving. They weren’t as sun damaged,” he adds.
He also talks about his time at high school, which he believes has shaped him as a comedian. “I’ve realised that my high school experience was actually quite unique. I think of it as normal, but it was quite unique to go to boarding school when you’re 11, where it was all boarders and all boys. So I’ve found that probably explains a bit of my tenacity on stage because I just don’t really care what people think because when I was 11 I’d get heckled all day. 24 hours a day. Someone could make fun of you in the middle of the night if you were lucky,” he says. What this meant was that by the time he started stand-up, “there were no more strips to be torn off me”.
This new show also sees him talking a lot more about the news. “I don’t normally do that but I’ve been fascinated by the current events these days,” he says. Although the show might be called Up Himself, a chat with Tom Gleeson proves otherwise, and his main hope for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival isn’t about himself at all.
Tom Gleeson performs Up Himself at The Victoria Hotel’s Banquet from March 31 – April 24. It’s at 9.30pm Tuesday – Saturday and 8.30pm on Sundays. He’ll also perform it at Melbourne Town Hall on Monday April 4 at 8.30pm. Tickets are $22 - $28 and available through Ticketmaster online, 1300 660 013 and at the door.