Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Tall Story: The Biography (Part 2)


  • Do work experience at GTV 9 in Melbourne, which sparks my interest in Journalism and working on TV.  It also gives me a chance to get Glenn Ridge, Nicki Buckley and Pete Smith from 'Sale of The Century' to sign headshots for my grandmother.  This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but anyone with a Serbian, Italian, Spanish, etc grandmother in Australia knows this is huge brownie points.  Like a catholic getting a signed pic from the Pope where he leaves his Pope lipstick stamp on it.

  • That work experience gets me quite excited about the workforce... until I get my first job.  It's a paper round that involves me collecting, folding and delivering newspapers and pamphlets to 175 homes.  From start to finish, it takes me around 5 hours and pays a total of $7.60.  Given the distance I'm having to cover on foot and the money I'm earning, I consider exploring the possibility of becoming someone's sponsor child.  World Vision does not answer my phone calls.  Mum and dad aren't open to the idea.

  • Relatives come to visit from overseas.  I'm excited because I get to see my cousins. Mum's excited because it's apparently all the reason she needs to organise a long overdue Sovereign Hill day out and our 11th "olden days" photoshoot.  If you don't have even one of these, then your parents must have loved you just the right amount.

  • I get to meet the Serbian National Basketball team when they come to Australia for the Sydney Olympics and play a warm-up tournament in Melbourne.  I'm a tall kid already but have this awkward babyface, so it's a great opportunity for me to have evidence years later of me meeting people I really admire, while at the same time looking a bit average.  It all looks very 'Make-A-Wish' Foundation to be quite honest.

  • Start swimming for the school swimming team and put my flipper feet to good use.  I have to wear Speedos again… along with the rest of the team.  A fact which is made all the more difficult when one of the other boys on the team spots the dark hairs on either side of the ‘budgie smugglers’ of another team member and says to him one day at training “Woah, you’ve got spider legs!”  The team member is embarrassed, leaves the team and our relay events are thrown into disarray.  Not sure what happened to the douchebag bully that made the comment, but to this day I hope he got a job cleaning bikie clubhouse urinals with no gloves for minimum wage.

  • On a family trip to Queensland, I win $4 on each of four consecutive scratchies that I buy from the Mossman local newsagency.  Neither I nor the newsagent can believe my luck.  He’s convinced I’m an 'Ocean's 11' level con-artist and I’m convinced the win is enough to put him out of business.

Clockwise from top-left; Meeting basketball legend Predrag Danilovic, looking chuffed as hell to meet Dejan Tomasevic, what it looked like in 1865 when the common cold took your father's life while panning for gold and you had to assume the role of 'master of the manor'', my sister and I ready to start classes in the new millennium - same uniforms, new hair.



  • I enter ‘Class Clowns Comedy Competition’ with my friend, James Robertson as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and we reach the National Finals.  Despite winning the audience vote, the judges deem our material too ‘politically incorrect’.

  • We then come second in a school talent show to a family of slow motion athletes, spitting ‘Tic-Tacs’ to make it look like they are losing teeth.  We are disappointed.  Then we find out we each get $200, so we’re okay with it.  It's basically a lifetime gift voucher for the high school canteen or a lot of subway footlong meal deals in the real world.

James and I called ourselves "Mus-edy" because we combined music and comedy in our act.  The outfits we're wearing relate to a gag in our act about misinterpreting the dress code "semi-formal".  Champagne comedy.


  • Graduate High School.  Despite warnings from teachers and school staff against “joking around” at the graduation ceremony, I ‘bear hug’ the principal and kiss his cheek upon receiving my certificate.  He seems to enjoy it.  His wife glares at me.

  • I finally grow into my enormous head.  Still refuse to wear hats though, as I look like I have a terminal illness.  Not sure which of these two points are my biggest achievement of the year.

The 'Bear Hug affair' of 2003.  Sure he's the principal, but I'm the 'big spoon'.


  • I start exercising, with the goal of losing weight and getting in shape in time for my 18th birthday.  I continue exercising even after that, I love it so much... even though it hurts me.  It’s kind of like a dysfunctional long-term relationship.

  • Start my university studies at Deakin University in Geelong.  It's like what I imagine many rougher public schools to have always been like; no school uniform, attendance is up to the student and alcohol's available on campus.  Pretty happy time in life I must admit.

  • James and I audition for both 'Big Brother' and 'Australian Idol', the latter just for the sake of getting on TV and doing our impersonation of Shaggy's song 'Angel', which is so on point that blind Jamaican members of the Shaggy fan club couldn't tell the difference.  As for 'Big Brother', I make it through to the second round of auditions. Still unsure what that says about me as a human being.

  • I turn 18 and can finally drive, drink, go out clubbing and vote.  I do three of those in the same day.  That same year, my cousin does all four in the same day and forever blames himself for John Howard’s re-election.

  • Begin performing stand-up comedy solo.  My first ever gig is at the Armadale hotel as a part of ‘Champagne Comedy’.  The comedy room there closes shortly after.  The streak continues.

Clockwise from top-left; My 18th birthday party, meeting James Mathison at Idol auditions, with James and Jase snorkelling in Port Douglas, then with James and Jase about to almost seriously injure ourselves with a golf buggy 'Jackass' style.  What a time for wet-look gel, long denim shorts and chubby faces though!


  • Head overseas to Long Beach, California on study exchange through my university.  I meet celebrities, girls like my accent, and guys think I’m cool.  I drop more Aussie slang in my first 6 months there than Steve Irwin in his entire life.  I never want to leave.

Probably the best thing I've done in my life - study abroad 2005.  A tiny collection of only a few moments from a big part of my life and people who are still very important to me.  From Long Beach to San Diego to Halloween in Santa Barbara.


  • Graduate University with a ‘Bachelor of Arts’ degree, Majoring in Journalism – with Distinction.  I compare it to an ornately decorated macaroni artwork; I’ve put a lot of work into it and it looks great on the fridge, but I’m not entirely confident it’ll help me get a job.

  • Enter a national comedy competition for Nova Radio and after several weeks of public voting, I am announced as the winner.  I am happy and keep getting more involved in writing and performing.

  • Former Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins attends one of my gigs, laughs loudly at my jokes and chats to me after the show.  I think it’s the best example of complete satisfaction with having prime real estate in the friend zone.

On the left is a photo of university diploma.  On the right is a pic with Jennifer Hawkins after my gig.  Guess which one got posted to social media first.


  • Perform my first solo-stand-up comedy show at the Melbourne Town Hall for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  It sells out multiple nights and is highly successful, except for one bad review from a disgruntled reviewer I will later refer to as “Hitler and Germaine Greer’s love-child”.  Even after my performance, the Town Hall is still in operation… the streak ends!

  • Spend six months back-packing and travelling across Europe and America on my own.  The experience is difficult, but I learn a lot and meet some amazing friends.  I also go to Oktoberfest, La Tomatina and Guča Music Festival.  I keep a diary so I never forget the experiences I had drinking beer, throwing tomatoes and listening to trumpets.

Clockwise from left: My Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2008 poster, chatting to Wil Anderson after the show, on-stage overseas while back-packing.


  • Write for ‘Rove’ and ‘Good News Week’, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing for TV.  Certainly feel like I've come a long way creatively; today a 22-year old getting experience writing for TV, yet it seems like just yesterday I was a 3-year old getting smacked for drawing on the couch.  Life certainly happened.

  • Start writing and performing a segment called ‘Sunday Roast’ for SYN Radio comedy show ‘In Joke’ in Melbourne and I eventually take over as host of the show.  It's awesome fun and great radio training.  There's no stress because it's like a spin on that life philosophy of "dance like nobody's watching", in that sometimes when you're on-air, you feel like you're "talking while no-one's listening."

  • Put my Serbian language skills to good use as I start hosting the ‘Serbian Youth Radio Program’ on Pulse 94.7FM.  It’s an excellent opportunity to play the music I like, while feeling like a Eurovision audience member week in, week out.

Clockwise from bottom-left: Backpacking through Denmark, Italy, Greece, and at the radio station behind the microphone.

The End of Part Two.

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