Rhys Nicholson : Seminal

Get the latest from Beat

Rhys Nicholson : Seminal


“This show is all about the aftermath of that now that it’s legal,” he says of Australia’s new marriage equality. “You know how Casino is meant to be a sequel in a weird way to Goodfellas but it’s not really, like same cast but different characters, so it’s a similar thing. It’s a similar subject matter but a different show,” Nicholson says.

Nicholson has been campaigning for same-sex marriage since marrying fellow queer comedian Zoe Coombs Marr on-stage during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival two years ago. While he is happy that the law was finally changed, he says there’s still work to be done in terms of equality. “A big part of the show is we’ve got this now and it’s great but we can’t rest on our laurels because there’s still a lot of things to do, like for example, I find it strange – and I don’t have any jokes about this – but I find it quite strange that gay men still can’t give blood. Which is amazing as well because not too many people know that, because we’re still [considered] high risk, which, we’re not. A lot of my straight friends I’d imagine would be a lot more high risk than I am, having been in a monogamous relationship for eight years. So there’s part of the show where I’m saying we can’t rest on our laurels,” he says.

He’s been warming up the show with seasons in Brisbane and Canberra before doing a full run as part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Swiss Club. Partner Wheatley, a broadcaster and producer, actually directs Nicholson’s work. “He’s very good at that type of thing and we work on them together. I write and write and write for about three months and then we lay all the material out and we go ‘ok well this is about this, and this is about this’ so it’s almost like trawling through my subconscious,” says Nicholson, who last year was nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Comedy Release.

Although Seminal , his seventh consecutive show, is “my queerest show in a few years”, it’s not all politics. Nicholson, who has a sartorial style as sharp as his tongue and the alchemist’s knack of transforming filth into comedy gold, isn’t straying too far from one of his favourite topics. “To be honest, most of my shows are an hour of dick jokes. I always have at least 20 minutes of the show devoted to absolute filth and that’s what I enjoy doing,” he says.