Arts and Culture

How it felt winning my first Bilby!

Posted on: Mon 7 Dec 2020

It was an unexpected moment of triumphant celebration for me, as I never thought in a billion years that I would become a Bilby Award recipient.

But that is what happened one week ago after the South Australian Community Broadcasters Association (SACBA) had announced that I was the winner in the Best Interview category for my drily and cheekily candid interview with one of Australia’s provocative, colourful and illustrious stand-up/sit down comedians, Tim Ferguson on Radio Adelaide’s disability centric program, De-Stigmatised, which aired back in February before the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to self isolate at home for 7 months.

Tim was performing his one-man show, A Fast Life On Wheels at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe Festival for the second year in a row when I invited him to speak about his physical, psychological and emotional complexities of living with Multiple Sclerosis while working in Australia’s entertainment industry for many decades, including as one of the original members of the Doug Anthony All Stars in the 1980s and 1990s.

Despite appraising my interviewing skills, I was really nervous in approaching this without backtracking to pointless bland platitudes. Tim’s outgoing personality helped to ease me into it, thereby we engaged in quick witted cynicism and sarcasm with no awkward pauses. I laughed uncontrollably when he dissected his audiences’ displeasure toward his politically incorrect jokes, specifically when he quipped that ‘spiritual disabilities’ weren’t covered on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and how tiny and broken his brain looked when doctors took an MRI of it when diagnosing him with MS.

In 7 years of working in community radio, I never imagined getting to immerse myself with comedic loyalty and having it recognised as worthy of industry admiration bestowing me with strong credibility as an openly gay, autistic radio broadcaster, presenter and producer.

Jarad McLoughlin

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