Rhys Nicholson Wonders What They're Supposed To Do Now

Rhys Nicholson
Solar-powered journalist with a love for live reviews and the challenge of describing sounds with words. Always: cooking, often: thrifting, sometimes: playing the piano, rarely: social, never: late. Living abroad in Japan.

Few people can say their wedding single-handedly stripped 'The Project' of all options for a funny guest panelist.

“The wedding was on a Sunday, and we had so many comedians attend that producers and agents from the show were calling and pleading. They’d say, ‘yeah, but what time do you have to BE at the wedding? Can’t you leave for a couple of hours and come back?'” comedian Rhys Nicholson chuckles.

Even fewer can describe the ‘most infuriating part’ of the day with the EASE of which it ran – its perfection, almost a problem.

“It was a good day, a lovely day, exactly the kind of day that my husband and I wanted it to be. What the f... was my show going to be about?”

That husband is radio personality Kyran Wheatley – the pair culminating an extended engagement with a ceremony at the Enmore Theatre late last year.

“We’ve been together for 13 years, and we got engaged before gay marriage was even legal. And then, it was legalised, and we were like, ‘Ah, f.... Now we’re going to have to book a caterer’,” Rhys says.

Their first six months of marriage are a key source of inspiration behind Rhys' new comedy show, ‘Huge Big Party Congratulations’.

“It’s about what we’re SUPPOSED to do now – what’s most ‘responsible’? I’m 34 – should we have kids? Except, it’s a stand-up show with jokes,” Rhys laughs.

“They say marriage is ‘happily ever after’, but that’s all very vague, isn’t it? In theory, we still have 50 years to get through.”

Their life as a newlywed coincides with some of the busiest-ever months of their multifaceted career. In the midst of tying the knot, they released their debut novel ‘Dish’, toured ‘Family Christmas’ with comedian Joel Creasey, and shot season two of 'Taskmaster'.

“I never feel I’m owed anything, but when season one was announced, it was the first time in my life that I thought, ‘hey. Why aren’t I on that?’ So when I received an offer for season two, it was the fastest that I have ever said yes to anything.

“There is no show like it on television – and I mean that. It’s almost, in a way, more REAL than reality TV, because you can’t do a single piece of prep. People who are used to putting on personas are put under pressure.”

Rhys is also returning as a judge on 'Drag Race Down Under', with RuPaul recently announcing his departure as the host from season four.

“If you’re only watching 'Drag Race' for RuPaul, then you’re watching 'Drag Race' for the wrong reasons,” Rhys affirms. “The cast this year – and I don’t mean this in a hyperbolic way – is bonkers. And I’m so excited for Michelle [Visage] to host. She’s so knowledgeable, and she f...ing cares about the queens, really and truly.”

As for 2024 plans outside of performing, Rhys is breaking into the booze market.

“My husband and I have made a gin with Melbourne Gin Company. We’re starting with a small run to sell at our club, Comedy Republic, and then we’ll see if we can expand from there.”

But until that gin is stocked around the country, you can still snag a sip of Rhys’ stand-up throughout Comedy Festival season.

“I’m a pretty cynical person, but I try to – and this sounds wanky – imagine how 15-year-old me would feel if they knew what current me was doing. I don’t want to take it for granted. I have to tell myself sometimes, ‘This is everything you ever wanted’. So few people get to do what they dreamed of doing as a teenager.”

Rhys Nicholson plays Comedy Republic 2-21 April and Melbourne Town Hall 17-20 April (Melbourne International Comedy Festival), The Enmore Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival) 27 April and The Tivoli (Brisbane Comedy Festival) 3-5 May.

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