Jimmy gets regional

Jimmy Rees gets regional at Costa Hall this month. (Supplied)

In early 2020, Jimmy Rees was ready to spread his wings.

Having recently finished a 14-year tenure playing the role of Jimmy Giggle on ABC Kids’ flagship program Giggle and Hoot, Rees was ready to start exploring a broader career in comedy and entertainment.

Then COVID-19 hit, forcing him to find a new strategy amid the lockdowns.

“Obviously entertainment went to nothing in the early part of 2020, so I had not much to do, but I had all this creativity going on,” Rees said.

“So I thought, well, I just have to put all that energy into making videos. And what I really wanted to do was comedy, so why not make it online?”

Having spent 14 years in a TV studio Rees had picked up more than a little about using cameras and editing, so he was well-placed to begin creating his own content from scratch.

“I started with my immediate environment, which was three kids in lockdown in Victoria, of all places,” he said.

“So I tried to find the funny, or the relatable, because it was like, this is weird. And it just sort of grew from there.”

Rees struck gold with a mocked up Daniel Andrews press conference – “It was the biggest TV show through that time, the 11am press conference from state premiers… how weird is that?” – and quickly captured an appreciative TikTok and YouTube audience.

Then came Meanwhile In Australia, a series of over 58 videos he released between September 2020 and May 2023 exploring the absurdities of life in Australia during the pandemic.

This year Rees has taken his absurd, insightful brand of comedy on the road with his Let’s Get Regional tour, where he plugs into the local culture and reflects it back on the people who live there. And they love it.

“In the regions there are so many idiosyncratic things… there’s this one thing that happens, and everyone knows about it,” he said.

“When I was in Wollongong there was literally a palm tree that looked like it had been ratchet-strapped to a pole, you could see the roots, why is it there?

“It just showed up one day, all the locals were like, what the hell is this thing? So it’s fun to hone in on those gripes locals have with the council, or the local celebrities that come from there.”

Jimmy Rees is at Costa Hall on Saturday, June 22.