The ABC has confirmed that it has binned a set from comedian Tom Ballard that was filmed as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s annual Gala show, with reports suggesting that Ballard’s lambasting of Liberal Party voters played some sort of role in the decision.
The Sydney Morning Herald this morning broke the revelation that Ballard’s set will be cut from the broadcast edition of the Gala, which is set to hit the air in two parts beginning this coming Wednesday night.
Per the reports, Ballard’s Gala spot – which typically runs somewhere in the vicinity of five minutes or less – featured the 31-year-old performer railing against Liberal Party voters in typically over-the-top fashion.
Among the lines levelled throughout the set, Ballard apparently stated that Liberal Party voters were “not people” and “cold-blooded lizards ruining the country who should go back to the hellmouth from where they came.”
Ballard’s set is said to have concluded with him issuing the punctuating climax of “I hope you die, I hope you choke on your own franking credits, you evil greedy fascist soulless pig dogs.”
While they didn’t confirm specifics, the ABC did issue a statement confirming that Ballard had been cut from the Gala broadcast due to “editorial standards.”
“The ABC checks all content prior to broadcast to ensure it meets editorial standards. In this case, it was determined that the risk of causing offence to viewers was not editorially justified,” the statement, attributed to an ABC spokesman, read.
“The ABC checks all content prior to broadcast to ensure it meets editorial standards. In this case, it was determined that the risk of causing offence to viewers was not editorially justified,” a spokesman said.#MediaWatch https://t.co/0xjmHL4sfP
— Media Watch (@ABCmediawatch) April 5, 2021
Tom Ballard and the ABC are certainly no strangers to each other, and this isn’t their first run-in either. Infamously, the network cancelled Ballard’s Tonightly show in 2018 despite critical acclaim. That cancellation followed outrage levelled at the show from Liberal Government officials after Tonightly aired a sketch in which then-Australian Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey was labelled a “c*nt.” The broadcast watchdog later cleared the show of any wrongdoing, despite protestations from Government officials.
It’s interesting to note, however, that the ABC has previously aired comedy routines from Ballard in which he has issued sweeping declarations of death upon sections of the population.
In 2019, the network aired Ballard’s Melbourne Comedy Festival Opening Night Supershow spot in which he openly opined “any baby boomers in tonight? No? Good, let’s talk about them. When are they gonna die?”
The ABC has made no suggestion that this most recent axing has anything to do with Ballard directly addressing Liberal voters and the Liberal Party as a whole, but given the current political climate it’s certainly not a stretch to make that connection.
Tom Ballard has not issued a public comment on the matter at this time, however his current run at the Melbourne Comedy Festival remains on-going. Just in case you were so inclined.