“With all the moxie of an RSL barmaid and the library card of a research fellow, Nelly Thomas has emerged to talk about nothing slighter than the trials of her generation. She’s erudite, earthy and entirely unemployable." Helen Razer, The Age Newspaper
Nelly Thomas has been described as one of Australia’s most natural comedians.
An award-winning performer, she was listed as one of Australia’s “most innovative thinkers” in The Age Newspaper’s, The Zone and was featured on the ABC’s Big Ideas: The Smartest Stuff on TV, Radio and Online.
Nelly is a regular guest on ABC Local Radio and Radio National and writes extensively in the print and online media, including as a columnist for New Matilda.
She has published a memoir, What Women Want (Random House, 2012) and has just released her first children’s book Some Girls (Piccolo Nero, 2018). SOME GIRLS is an early childhood book aimed at fulfilling one of Nelly’s life-long passions - instilling confidence in little girls through challenging gender and other stereotypes. An accompanying book for boys is due out in mid-2018.
Nelly has been a stand-up comedian for 16 years. She stumbled into comedy after winning the Triple J Raw Comedy competition in 2003. Since then she’s done all the things comedians normally do – toured Australia and overseas, established a Melbourne Comedy room and performed at hundreds of gigs and a couple of dozen festivals. She’s also directed shows by some incredible comedians including Maria Bamford, Candy Bowers and Stella Young.
But alongside her normal comedy work, Nelly has forged a specialist and stellar career in comedic health promotion and is highly sought after as a health promotion speaker and MC. It is here that she can combine her comedic and communication skills with her passion for health and well-being; as understood in a whole-of-society context.
In 2016 Nelly was very proud to be named an Ambassador for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health – Australia’s leading women’s health organisation.
Finally, and most importantly, Nelly lives in Melbourne with her partner Lachlan, their two daughters, a grumpy poodle, a stupid labradoodle and one very resilient goldfish. She is a devotee of terrible reality television and was once an under-13s Girl’s BMX Champion.
Winner: National Raw Comedy Competition 2003
Directed Barry Award Winning US comedian Maria Bamford
Directed Best Newcomer Stella Young in her award-winning debut solo show
Performed at Soho Theatre in London in 2015 to honour the late, grate Stella Young
2 seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe
15 seasons at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Being listed as one of Australia’s “most innovative thinkers” in The Age Newspaper’s, The Zone
Being honoured as the Jean Hailes for Women's Health Official Ambassador in 2016
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
2017 Director, LOL Squad Live, Melbourne Arts Centre
2016 Director, Class Clowns National Grand Final, Melbourne Town Hall
2015 Director, Class Clowns National Grand Final, Melbourne Town Hall
2015 Group Show, Political Asylum, Melbourne Town Hall
2014 Solo Show (written and performed by Nelly Thomas), Pleasantly Furious, Northcote Town Hall
2014 Group Show, Political Asylum, Melbourne Town Hall
2014 Director, Tales from the Crip, Stella Young, Northcote Town Hall (Winner: Best Newcomer Award)
2012 Director, Who’s That Chic? Written and Performed by Candy B & Busty Beats, Directed by Nelly Thomas.
2012, Glorious Baaaastards, written by the performers and writers from Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Company with Nelly Thomas, Directed by Rachel Maza-Long.
2011, A Black Sheep Walked into a Baaaa, written by the performers and writers from Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Company with Nelly Thomas, Directed by Rachel Maza-Long.
2011 Everything Must Go, Written and Performed by Rachel Leary, Directed by Damian Callinan, Assistant Director - Nelly Thomas.
2011 Group Show, Political Asylum, Melbourne Town Hall
2010 Solo Show (written and performed by Nelly Thomas), I Coulda Been a Sailor, Melbourne Town Hall, Directed by Justin Hamilton
2010 Group Show, Political Asylum, Melbourne Town Hall
2009 Mother of the Year, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Starring Nelly Thomas, Catherine Deveny & Christine Basil
2009 Group Show, Political Asylum, Melbourne Town Hall
2008, Solo Show (written and performed by Nelly Thomas), Nelly Thomas is not a Yummy Mummy, Trades Hall Melbourne
2007 Director, The Comedy Zone, Starring Josh Makinda, Jack Druce, Lila Tilman and Jacques Barrett, Directed by Nelly Thomas.
2006, Solo Show (written and performed by Nelly Thomas), Family Ties, (nominated for the Golden Gibbo Award), Directed by Andrea Powell.
2005 Director, PLan B, written and performed by Maria Bamford, Directed by Nelly Thomas.
2004 Group Show, Comedy Zone, Melbourne Town Hall, Starring Cal Wilson, Nelly Thomas, Steve Sheean, Marcus Ryan and Sammy J.
2003 Group Show, Hair Supply, Starring Nelly Thomas, Carolyn Chillura and Mandy Hampson
2002 Winner, local heat, Victorian State Final and National Grandfinal, Raw Comedy, Melbourne Town Hall
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
2004 Group Show, Raw Prawns, Gilded Balloon, Starring Nelly Thomas, Steve Sheehan, Josh Makinda and Marcus Ryan
2006 Solo Show, Family Ties, Gilded Balloon, Written and performed by Nelly Thomas.
Melbourne Fringe Festival
2004, Betty Blues: A Comedy Show about Depression, Written by Nelly Thomas and featuring Toby Sullivan, Jill Peakock, Sam Simmons & Natalie Michelle Smith.
Columnist, New Matilda, 2016 - present.
Regular guest and co-host on ABC Radio 774 Melbourne and Victoria, 2007 – present.
Regular guest on Radio National Australia segment What I Learned from the News This Week, 2014 – 2016.
Regular appearances on The Comedy Channel and special appearances on ABC, SBS, Channel 31 and Channel 10 TV, 2003 – present. Featured in Judith Lucy's ABC TV Show "All Woman".
Former Co-host and now special regular guest of “BoxCutters” television podcast.
Regular guest columnist in a variety of magazines and newspapers.
Book: What Women Want, by Nelly Thomas, Random House in 2012.
Book: Yours Truly: Women of Letters, Curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela Maguire, with contributions by Annabelle Crabbe, Eva Cox, Megan Washington, Amanda Palmer, Nelly Thomas and many more, Penguin, 2013.
The Talk DVD, a sexual health and ethics DVD for teens and their parents, released with Hopscotch Films and Dirty Work Comedy in 2011
Nelly has done hundreds of gigs over the years in festivals, comedy clubs and at private and corporate events. Highlights include performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Club, touring Australia on Roadshow and performing as part of UpFront and Birds on the Bill.
Corporate clients include: The Royal Women’s Hospital, the Gawler Foundation, Positive Women, Amnesty International, Nandos, CRANA, Department of Human Services, Women’s Health West, Women’s Health in the North, Westfield Shopping Centres, PANDA, CASA, Office for the Status of Women, The Child Safety Commissioner and many more.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Being listed as one of Australia’s “most innovative thinkers” in The Age Newspaper’s, The Zone in 2011.
Writing her first book, What Women Want, Random House, 2012.
Making The Talk DVD - a sexual health and ethics DVD for teens and their parents, released with Hopscotch Films and Dirty Work Comedy in 2011
Squeezing out two human babies
Being awarded a federal grant to expand the No Means No Show
Winner, National Grandfinal: Raw Comedy (2003)
Nominee, The Golden Gibbo Award for innovative comedy
Volunteer Mentor - ASISTA Mentoring and Friendship Program for Young Women “at risk”
Click HERE to Download Nelly's Bio
The Talk Live, A comedy show for parents and carers about how to talk to teens about sex and healthy relationships. Based on Nelly's groundbreaking DVD of the same name.
The No Means No Show, A comedy show for teens about safe and respectful sex and relationships. Developed with an advisory committee with representatives from the Centre Against Sexual Assault, No to Violence and the Royal Women's Hospital.
Condom Dialogues, A comedy show for teens about safe sex. Developed with the Royal Women's Hospital.
Being a Woman is Good for Your Health, A comedy show for adult women about physical and mental health.
Mentally Funny, A comedy show about mental health, resilience and staying well.
No Smokes, No Joke, A comedy show for Indigenous Australians about quitting smoking. Developed with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and starring Kevin Kropinyeri, Dawn & Denise McGuinness and Jason Tamiru.
COMEDY WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
Facilitator, Class Clowns:
Each year the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) runs workshops with young people all over Australia who are interested in becoming comedians. Nelly has designed and facilitated these workshops on behalf of the MICF all over Australia, including most recently in rural Victoria and Alice Springs.
Comedy Mentor, Risky Business:
Risky Business is an Australian Research Council project auspiced by the University of Melbourne School of Creative Arts. It aims to divert young people from high risk-taking behaviour by getting them involved in the arts. Nelly was employed as an artistic mentor along with Rod Quantock and Brian Nankervis to assist the young people to write and perform a short comedy piece.
The Condom Dialogues and the No Means No Show:
In 2005 Nelly was commissioned by the Royal Women's Hospital to put together a show about safe sex for young people called The Condom Dialogues. This highly successful show has now toured all over the country. She was then asked to do another show about consent and sexual assault, also for young people called The No Means No Show which has also played to packed houses and toured the country. The No Means No show has been commended a number of times, most notably in 'A Right to Respect: Victoria’s Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2010-2020'. and also during a speech by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on White Ribbon Day.