Aussie comedian Joel Creasey dishes close encounters with Carrie Fisher and Joan Rivers and reveals the iconic musical role he’d do anything to play.
By Jeffrey James Keyes
After a decade on on stage and TV, Joel Creasey is the toast of Sydney. Now he’s taking international comedy circuits by storm. We caught up with him during his recent U.S. tour to discuss being an openly gay comic, working with Joan Rivers, and why he might not be here if it weren’t for Star Wars.
Welcome back to the States!
I’m like a rash. I keep coming back.
Could you describe your act to a stranger? It’s …
Like being at a dinner party with a sassy friend who won’t shut up. I’m not the sort of comedian who’s going to pick on the audience or get anyone to come up on stage… I’m going to tell stories about celebrities I’ve run into and ridiculous things that have happened to me.
You started doing stand-up very young, right?
I started when I was about 15 or 16 in Perth, and because the legal drinking age at any comedy club was 18, I had to bring my parents to chaperone me for the first three years of my career. It was very rock ‘n’ roll of me.
That was pretty cool of them.
They’re almost a little too supportive. I have to be like, “Okay, you can’t come to every gig, you guys.” They’re both performers. They actually properly met when they were extras on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Oh my God, I love that!
Crazy, right? I totally come from a show biz background. They’re both actors, and then my dad went on to model … and my mom was an actress in musicals on the West End. It’s a very performance/jazz-handsy family.
I just saw you and Carrie Fisher in a photo online. Did you tell her about your parents when you met?
Of course I told her the story and shared a photo, and she was just gorgeous and cheeky. I actually interviewed her and properly slurred the whole thing I was so nervous. And then, of course, my Dad goes, “Did she remember me?” No Dad, she didn’t remember you, the extra in a sea of millions of Star Wars extras!
Let’s talk Joan Rivers.
I’ve toured with some pretty huge comedians; … if anyone could have gotten away with acting like a diva it would have been Joan [but] of all of them, she was the most humble, down to Earth, chill, lovely, giving person. It came about purely by chance: the people that produce me also produced her. They showed her a clip of me, and she was like “Yeah, we’ve got to have him.” She really liked my stand-up, and I kept working with her. She was just absolutely gorgeous and a great role model. I feel like every time I smash a celebrity onstage, I do it for her!
What was coming out like for you?
I told my parents when I was fifteen, and my mom said, “Okay, cool. We’re going to have pasta for dinner.” And I said, “Well clearly, since I’m gay, I can’t have carbs anymore.” [laughs] I went to a private boys school and graduated in 2007 when I was seventeen. I think it’s a sign of the times that none of the other boys had a problem with it.
Have you had any issues being openly gay on stage?
Of course I’ve had the odd homophobic heckle here and there and was chased out of a town once, but I’ve never really had too much hate on stage. I saw this d**khead across the room muttering things under his breath once, but as long as I can’t hear it, I don’t mind.
Who would you pick to hang out with late at night?
Hillary Clinton. If I took her to a club out in Melbourne, and if she knew nobody would be around, I would be like, “You can be who you are.” I think she would get out on the dance floor and just go wild. I would probably be the one to say, “It’s late. Let’s go home.” And she’d be like, “No! Let’s stay out and get crazy!”
What’s on your playlist right now?
The Off-Broadway cast recording of Heathers, kid you not. I got it recently and can’t stop listening to it. Otherwise it’s very musical theater heavy.
If you could do a musical, what would you do?
Let’s be real, I would have a sex change and be Elphaba in Wicked. It breaks my heart that I’m male and can’t sing.
As our conversation continues, Creasey shares his stage superstitions and something everyone should travel with. Click to read Part 2 of the interview.
Last modified: July 27, 2017