Tommy Little: A man for all seniors

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

Tommy Little is a man of many titles. As well as being a comedian, Little is a regular panellist on The Project, a radio host, television presenter and, lately, a frequent interviewer of aged-care residents.

For the past year or so, Little has been visiting Lifeview Residential Care in Carnegie to gather residents’ thoughts on everything from Tinder to politics, food and sex as part of his Project segment Tea Time with Tommy.

Little has only ever met one of his grandparents, so speaking to people over the age of 80 has been a predominantly new experience. He says the key takeaway has been discovering how sharp elderly people are, as well as how much better women age than men.

“This might sound stupid, but they’re just like normal people but older. They’re filthy, they’re funny and they swear. I think people are quite condescending towards them,” Little says.

“It’s just like any cross-section of society. Some of them are very conservative and religious and don’t swear, and others swear like sailors and tell the filthiest jokes I’ve ever heard.”

While generational differences are an obvious distinction between the two parties, Little says the most stark disparity is between his and their childhoods. Many of the residents he speaks to recall their experiences growing up in the Great Depression and World War II.

“The main thing I didn’t realise is what life was like growing up in the Depression … You forget how poor everybody was growing up back then,” Little says.

“Because technology and the world is moving so fast, you forget that’s not that long ago.”

Some of the most hilarious quotes Little has captured during his tea-time segments include: “I can afford better fun than that,” (on fidget spinners); “if you haven’t had creamed rice, you haven’t lived,”; “I want to have a dirty weekend … but not with the blokes around here,” (on dating in an aged-care facility) and “no marriage is bliss,” spoken by a married couple of 66 years.

Little says: “they’re funny and quick-witted. Some of their jokes are so fast, I miss them for a second and then realise they’ve told me a very funny joke but they’ve said it with a dry look on their face.

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Little’s experiences at Lifeview form part of his comedy show The Last King of Stupid, which is playing at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Show. Also covered in the show are segments about Drake, vaginas and hummus.

“I talk about all the bits that are too rude for TV in my comedy festival show,” he says.

“Working out how to link all those things is the genius of the show.”

  • The Last King of Stupid, Tommy Little’s MICF show, runs until April 22 at the Forum Theatre – downstairs. Tickets $25-37.
  • Little then tours Perth and Sydney through late April and May.
  • tommylittle.com.au

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