He’s best known for his role on The Project and for the radio show he hosts with co-star Carrie Bickmore for the Hit Network in Melbourne. But did you also know Tommy Little once studied drama? Yep, the 35-year-old comedian had dreams of becoming an actor.
Turns out he enjoyed standing on a stage getting a laugh much more, and in the 2000s Little pivoted away from theatre to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. For years he toured Australia, playing to small rooms and unpacked houses until someone finally took notice, and in 2008 he scored a job writing for the Channel 31 show, Studio A. It won ‘Program of the Year’ and ‘Best Comedy’ at the 2009 Antenna Awards, and Little was offered a hosting spot the following year. Industry big-wigs began to pay attention and it wasn’t long before he was popping up on commercial TV channels as well.
Fast forward ten years and Little is now one of the country’s best known and most-respected comedic talents, with a hit radio show and a regular spot on The Project. Let’s take a look at how it all happened:
Where did Tommy Little grow up?
Tommy Little grew up in Melbourne, where he attended Camberwell High. The well-respected school, which also boasts Dannii and Kylie Minogue as alumni, is known for its performing arts program, and it was while studying there that Little first discovered his love of the stage — after setting aside some unrealistic sporting dreams!
“When I was young I dreamt of being a professional basketball player,” he told Racing.com in 2009. “During high school, my lack of height, love of socialising and newfound joy in sleeping in meant that my hoop dreams took a back seat and I became more involved in the arts (my father was, of course, thrilled at this).”
He got involved in school plays, which led him to consider enrolling in a performing arts course at uni.
Tommy Little studied acting at university
After finishing school, Little scored a place studying drama at Deakin University — though it reportedly took him six years to finish his degree.
The reason? He didn’t have the passion. “I wanted to act until I did it,” he told the Gotta Start Somewhere podcast. He also suspects he may not have had the talent.
‘‘I would love to say it was lack of motivation, but I think it was lack of talent,’’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘‘I’m a complicated mix of heaps of enthusiasm with a real lack of ability.’’
It was while at uni that a friend persuaded him to try his hand at stand-up — he figured he may be up to the challenge.
“My acting ability was so poor that people would laugh and this made me think to myself, ‘I might be onto something here,’ and so I went into a career in stand-up comedy,” he told Racing.com.
“From that moment I did my first standup set I was like, ‘Oh, this is what I am going to do!’” he told Gotta Start Somewhere.
How did Tommy Little get into stand-up comedy?
In the years that followed, Little took every opportunity to get up on stage and work on his comedy act. His was a solid start — his first gig was a big success — but it went downhill from there, and by his third and fourth time doing his act, he figured he had a lot to learn.
‘‘I thought I’d mastered stand-up comedy and I walked out there with a confidence that you should never have,” he told TV Tonight. “I proceeded to suck more than anyone has ever sucked before.’’
But he persisted, and in the years that followed, Little worked the live comedy circuit (“For the last 10 or 11 years, I’d gig probably five nights a week,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald this year), performing at comedy festivals and taking every opportunity that came his way.
He made his Melbourne Comedy Festival debut in 2009 with his show ‘Getaway,’ which chronicled his failed attempts to make his own TV travel show. It was a hit, and he returned every year after that, with a sell-out show in 2011.
How did Tommy Little get into TV?
Little was always destined for a TV career — his happy-go-lucky personality coupled with an ease in front of the camera and quick wit meant he was the perfect fit. It was The Project that first recognised his talents — he began to pop up on air in their ‘Metro Whip Around’ segments as early as May 2011. Little has stayed with the show since – he was made a regular presenter in 2014, and now appears on Fridays and Sundays, filling in for Peter Hellier.
“They’re such a good group of people,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald this year. “The on-air presenters are amazing, but also the whole production team — it’s just a bunch of people who love making quality TV. They all work their arses off and they’re great.”
A year later, Little’s comic talents were recognised when he appeared in the Warehouse Comedy Festival, which was screened on ABC TV in 2012, taking his considerable comedic talents to a much wider audience.
Arguably, his big break came in 2013 though, when it was announced he would host the brand new Network Ten comedy series, A League of Their Own, which also starred tennis ace Pat Cash and swimmer Eamon Sullivan. The show, based on a UK format, was a panel/game show with improv comedy focus and was not a hit with viewers.
“I was too green to host. It was an awesome format, but they f***ed it 42 different ways here,” he told Rachel Corbett’s Gotta Start Somewhere podcast. “There was all this bad communication. We made a really funny show and then we found out afterwards that they were cutting it for a family-friendly timeslot. We didn't know that — we could only use the games.
“If I had more experience I would've been up in arms but because I was new I didn't know and I just nodded like a d**khead and it completely bastardised the whole thing.
“With more experience if they tried to do what they did with that show again, I would openly drop support of the show. Putting something bad out is more detrimental than putting nothing out.”
Despite the early setback, Little has gone on to host several other TV projects, including This Week Live (which he filmed at the same time as A League Of Their Own) the Just For Laughs comedy series for Foxtel (which he continues to host), and the Aussie version of Whose Line Is It Anyway (in 2016, also for the pay-TV network).
Oh, and in 2013 he also appeared in his first — and so far only — dramatic role, playing Claudia Karvan’s romantic love interest in the ABC series The Time Of Their Lives. That drama degree finally paid off!
Is Tommy Little a radio presenter?
He is, and an extremely successful one at that. Around the time his TV career was starting to heat up, Little regularly filled in for comedians Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek on Melbourne radio station, Nova 100. In October 2013, the network announced Little would be joining popular announcer Meshel Laurie to host the Meshel & Tommy show, replacing Hughesy & Kate, who were taking a break from radio. It was a massive step up for the star, and he continued to do the show until 2015 when he left the network.
Little stepped back from radio, returning in 2017, this time alongside good friend and Project co-host Carrie Bickmore, to helm the Carrie & Tommy show for the rival Hit Network. It’s been popular with listeners, regularly topping its timeslot, weekdays 3 pm-4.30 pm.
Needless to say, all this means he has a heavy workload — and not a great deal of time for a social life.
“If you’re questioning, ‘Do I actually want a life?’ I always just think, ‘Or I could not be doing this’ and that idea is horrendous,” he told TV Tonight in 2013. “I love doing comedy and I would look at Hughesy and think, ‘He’s doing breakfast radio, he’s doing a TV show,’ and then I’d see him at stand-up shows later and think, ‘That’s heaven!’ to create content all day. But as soon as that happens you realise it comes at such a huge sacrifice to your relationships and private life.”
Which brings us to our next question…
Does Tommy Little have a girlfriend?
Despite being notoriously single for most of the past decade (it’s been the basis of more than a few gags over the years), according to news reports, the 35 year-old comedian is currently in a relationship with conservation campaigner, Nat Kyriacou. Kyriacou is CEO of her own company, My Green World, which is a wildlife and environmental conservation business focussed on educating the next generation. Kyriacou was awarded a prestigious Order of Australia medal in 2018 for her services.
Prior to this, Little had a long stint of singledom, which he willingly talks about with co-hosts on The Project, who were quick to take him to task over the fact he previously dated not one, but TWO of the Bachelor star Matt Agnew’s potential brides on last year’s show (for those interested — they were Abbie Chatfield and Jessica Brody).
Last year he famously announced he was quitting the online dating game, saying, “I'm lonely but it's better than being on dating apps," to the Herald Sun. “I've put myself out there without success. The apps suck, it's s---.”
It’s not known how Little and Kyriacou met, but as far as we can tell, things are still peachy for the pair. Though private about their relationship, Nat posted two sweet pics of them both together back in April — stay tuned!
Tommy Little’s health and fitness
Tommy might have a face for radio, but he’s also got a body to die for, as he so gamely showed off back in 2018, stripping down to just his smalls for a modelling shoot to raise money for Homie, a clothing company who donate their profits to help homeless Australians — he later released a calendar to raise even more cash for them!
A dedicated runner, Little regularly posts photos of himself post-run on his Instagram account and in late 2018 he took things to the next level, taking part in the Antarctic Ice Marathon — the hardest marathon in the world. Along with teammates Lachlan Spark, Justin Quill and Campbell Brown, they ran the staggering 42km race in the harshest conditions on earth. He finished in the respectable time of 5 hours and 14 minutes. It almost killed him, but he did it, raising healthy amounts of money for charity in the process — though it may have left a scar!
“No one should ever run a marathon, they are stupid,” he told The West Australian newspaper in 2019. “Did you know the first person who ever ran a marathon dropped dead? Everybody is celebrating this race by continuing it year after year, but we are celebrating a race that killed a man. Marathons are awful, we should stop doing them. I now hate running and I hate Antarctica.”
Tommy Little’s Net Worth
His exact net worth is unknown, though one website had it pegged at between $1-$5million in 2019. Given last year an unknown source told Radio Today that Little’s co-star Carrie Bickmore was set to make “about $1.5 million per year” from her radio show, this may not be as overstated as it appears. Little currently lives in Melbourne, and last year it was revealed he lets his good friend and fellow comedian Luke McGregor rent a room at his house!
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