PREPARE yourself – you’ll be seeing Joel Creasey’s face a lot this Mardi Gras.
The Perth-born funnyman is set to host SBS’ broadcast of the parade, and will also co-host GAYmes night with his self-proclaimed ‘frenemy’ Rhys Nicholson as part of the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival.
“I’ve never actually been to the parade which is crazy considering I’m hosting it, and I’ve only ever been to Mardi Gras one other time,” he tells Star Observer.
“Because I missed the parade I went straight to the after party which is where I met my ex-boyfriend so Mardi Gras is hopefully an opportunity to meet a husband.”
While Creasey has been building a profile for himself on the comedy circuit since 2010, it wasn’t until his appearance on the first season of I’m A Celebrity…. Get Me Out of Here in 2015 that he became a household name.
But does fame make it easier to find a date – especially as a young gay man in the age of Grindr?
“It does make it more difficult and you never know what someone’s intentions are for catching up, but it doesn’t stop me,” he says.
“I was on Grindr recently. Some idiot screenshotted it and was like, ‘oh my god, Joel is on Grindr!’ How is that crazy? I’m just a 20-something-year-old gay man.”
Like most working comedians, Creasey says his touring schedule can make it difficult to maintain a relationship. Though he admits it also doesn’t help that he tells it like it is.
“I’m single and the last relationship I was in I was dumped,” he says with a laugh.
“A lot of people don’t like being spoken about on stage which is weird – I see it as a compliment but some people are a bit anti-that.
“The travelling thing is difficult, I’m never around and I’m always on the road. But I’m also annoying. That’s what I always tell guys – you wouldn’t want me here all the time, trust me.”
And it’s not just his Grindr dates he has to watch out for. When his best friend was staying with him, he invited a guy from Grindr over – who quickly worked out it was Creasey’s apartment.
“The guy came running into my room, I was asleep. He ran in and jumped on my bed,” he says.
“I was like, ‘get off my bed’.”
Over Creasey’s seven-year-long career as a comedian, he has had a glass thrown at him in Perth, was chased out of a town, and fell off stage into an old lady in the front row. He jokingly describes a night out with him as “taking your life in your own hands”
Like most celebrities, he also faces things like social media abuse (“When I’m not getting abused I’m upset because I feel like I’m not doing my job properly”) and the odd made up story in the tabloids.
“Last year there was this big story published in a trashy magazine that said Chrissie Swan was pregnant with my baby and it spread everywhere,” he says.
“People were stopping me on the street and congratulating me. I was like ‘um, no I’m not having a baby with Chrissie Swan, who has a partner and three kids by the way.”
There was also a rumour that he was hooking up with Richard Wilkins’ son Christian, who he describes as gorgeous “but no”.
“People thought we hooked up at a party but we said hello for thirty seconds,” he adds.
But despite all the pitfalls of the job and fame, Creasey admits he will always keep coming back to stand up even if his career expands to other avenues like acting.
“It’s addictive, I don’t know anything else – I love it. Having an audience full of people laughing at you,” he says, with a pause.
“Or with you, I should say.”
So what can audiences expect from his new shows? Creasey promises all new material and a lot of new dirt.
“I’m not trying to change anyone’s political views, or challenge anything too much,” he says.
“I’ll tell you some dirty celebrity stories and what’s happened to me in the past year.
“I’m a storyteller, I have to tell the ridiculous things that happen to me – like last year, for example I slept with some Trump supporters without realising until about halfway. It’s like therapy.”
When it comes to telling celebrity stories, Creasey does not pull any punches. He is brutally honest – especially when it comes to people he was looking forward to meeting.
“Christophe Waltz was an absolute tool. Chevy Chase, Howie Mandel… all the guys were real dicks,” he says.
“But then people like Joan Rivers, who could have got away with acting like a dick because she was 81… when I worked with her she was actually really lovely.”
“Most comedians change names to protect people they’re talking about but I’m all about throwing people under the bus.”
One world-famous celebrity that Creasey has bonded with is his I’m A Celebrity co-star, The Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick, who he still keeps in touch with.
“I sent her an email last year cause Florence Henderson, her mum from the Brady Bunch, passed away and I knew they were really close,” he says.
“And I catch her up with her every time I go to LA. She is one of the most divine, kooky humans ever and I can’t imagine going to the jungle without her. She’s my jungle pal.”
But when they both signed on the dotted line to join the first season’s cast, neither had any idea how successful the show would be.
“We were in the jungle starving going ‘please tell us someone is watching this to make it all worthwhile’. Thank God I did that,” he says.
“It was a real risk but now the celebrities want to go on it cause it rates so well.”
While it might seem like Creasey has it made, living the high-rolling celebrity life – he says most nights are spent on his couch ordering off MenuLog and watching Downton Abbey.
“People think I’m this wild party animal,” he adds.
“No, if you don’t physically lay eyes on me at a club, there’s a fair chance I’m at home in bed.”
However, he does admit he took a secret ‘debauched’ party trip to Amsterdam in December, during which he met a Dutch boy and had a mad, passionate but brief affair.
“The trip was one of those things…. I was like I’m not posting any pictures from this trip,” Creasey says.
“I went away with a few British mates and I had a wild four nights in Amsterdam. It was crazy.
“I was so upset and hungover after four days of partying I literally cried the entire flight home. The flight attendant was like ‘are you ok?’ and I said ‘oh it’s just the movie making me cry’. Then they looked at the movie and it was like…. one of the Bourne films.”
Creasey came out to his parents at 16. But he describes it as “such a boring coming out”.
“My parents were like so cool. I was like, ‘come on, what am I supposed to tell Oprah? I’m supposed to run away for two weeks,” he says.
“I think I always knew from a young age, I had a girlfriend for like a week in grade nine but then I dumped her via text on my Nokia 3315.
“It’s such a sign of the times, I was out in high school and everyone was cool with it. I think the teachers had more of a problem with it than the students. It’s not the younger generation who are homophobic, it’s the older generation which is heartening because they’re going to die before us.”
Growing up in Perth meant he experienced a bit of a culture shock when he came to the east coast and encountered the LGBTI community in Sydney and Melbourne.
“I used to go with my mate Danielle and we’d book in to see every musical in town. Then we’d go to Stonewall,” he remembers.
He will return to Sydney for Mardi Gras, where he will co-host the SBS parade, and host a Mardi Gras Comedy Festival show with Rhys Nicholson.
“Gaymes Night is on the night before the parade – you don’t want to go out and have a big night,” Creasey says.
“It’s a bit of a pre-parade lubrication.
“I’m really pumped, Rhys and I have never done a show together. We like to call each other frenemies so it’ll be really fun. He’s doing so well so I have to keep my eye on him.”
The live stream of the Mardi Gras parade will be available on Saturday March 4 from 7pm on SBS On Demand, and will air on SBS at 8.30pm Sunday March 5. Gaymes Night will be on February March 3 from 7.30pm at the York Theatre in Sydney. Tickets are $39.90.