Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross talks to Rachel Corbett: ‘You’ve gotta start somewhere’

‘I’d love to be head of sales at ARN.’

One of Australia’s most well-known comedians, in this episode of podcast ‘You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere’, Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross talks to Rachel Corbett about how he went from a university bum to one of the most successful blokes in comedy.

Before coming to prominence as one-half of comedy and radio duo Merrick and Rosso, Ross fronted comedy band Black Rose (an Oz Rock version of Spinal Tapp), and performed standup at Melbourne’s Espy Hotel. 

‘I did one show that was terrible. It was not funny. So I just stopped and didn’t perform for a couple of months. And I had an idea and rang up Mez [Merrick Watts].’

The idea was for a show called ‘Pissheads from Outer Space’, which involved writing prank letters to celebrites (such as Larry Emdur, at whose wedding many years later Ross ended up MC) and putting them on an overehad projector onstage.

On meeting Merrick, Ross said ‘we both had slightly older dads, but I think we were old fashioned in some ways because of our fathers. We had a similar sense of humour despite being different people.’

​’We always laugh at the same things, and I enjoy that about our friendship. And when it took off, it was pretty extraordinary.’ 

Ross described to Corbett the freewheeling nature of the duo’s time on-air:

‘We weren’t great preppers. I used to talk about product recalls out of the paper, and then I’d just go, “you won’t belive this Mez, Sanyo Radio has a faulty knob” and then we’d talk about knobs or whatever. And we would literally do talkback topics off the back of whatever we were talking about. And that really wasn’t how other people did a radio show.

‘Most of that was done on the fly. Which is sad that you can’t do that anymnore, because there is something amazing about doing that, but something really unprofessional about it as well.

‘We got together to do one show, and it ended up being 15 years. We’d go to the Punters Club and drink black and tans and talk about how great we were.’

Discussing possible alternative careers, Ross joked:

 ‘I’d love to be head of sales at ARN. That would be amazing. Just go “what are we gonna do? McDonalds have got $500,000 can we ask the breakfast team to come up with some ideas?” One of the things I love, for those of you lucky enough to work in a radio station still, but if you take the amount of time and energy you spend on sales solutions and put it into your own fucking career…’

And gave some advice to those just embarking on their career path: 

‘You don’t get on TV by watching TV. Be happy to fail …. just go for it. There’s so many intersting ways you can create now.’

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