COMEDIAN Nelly Thomas has a unique routine which serves up serious health issues on a hilarious platter.
“You can do comedy about sex education so long as it’s respectful,” Ms Thomas said.
“Comedians will talk about anything.”
Ms Thomas spoke to The Courier ahead of yesterday’s Leadership Ballarat & Western Region Women’s Health Week lunch at Ballarat Lodge.
During her performance, Ms Thomas touched on sex drive, or lack of: “One day, it just drove off”.
She harmonised about her battle with chronic anxiety: “If I sing it, it sounds less like a debilitating disease and more like fun”.
She was frank about her adverse reaction to her anti-depressants, which caused perspiration, a loss of libido and weight gain.
“I turned into an overweight, sweating celibate. God, it was depressing.”
Ms Thomas said she was particularly passionate about sex education, having performed a safe sex stage show for young people called The Condom Dialogues, plus her highly praised No Means No show about consent and sexual ethics.
“It came about by coincidence,” she said. “I had done a gig at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for adults and it went really well, so they asked me to do a talk on sex education for teenagers but to make it funny.”
She says parents should talk to their teenagers about sex, with statistics showing the average age sexual activity begins in Australian teenagers is just over 15.
“I’ve talked about sex with 500 parents from a Catholic school and it was amazing,” she said.
“I’m not saying I’ve never had anyone be critical, because I have, but parents need to know they should be talking about it.
“They say they can’t talk about sex with their 15-year-old. I’d rather that than talking to a pregnant 15-year-old.”
Ms Thomas said her performances were all very honest about her own personal struggles and failings, which she said she found her audiences related to.
“The overwhelming response I’ve had over the years is relief.”
She also said women often got the work-life balance wrong.
“You really do need to look after yourself first. Give yourself permission to do that.”