For the love of laughs: Chris Jolly

There’s always time to do what you love, especially if it means having a few more laughs while doing it.

MAX 107.3 Breakfast Announcer and Music Director Chris Jolly began his career in IT before rolling the dice on a childhood dream.

While still working his day job, Chris started a late-night radio show on Sydney’s 2RRR 88.5FM to scratch the itch and test out his comedic creativity. 

When asked what motivated him to get into radio, Chris said, “Laughter was probably the first reason.”

“In fact, I’ve dreamed of being on radio since I was a kid when I’d sit and watch the announcers at the Easter Show in their portable studios (of course I’d buy show bags of the radio stations),” he said.

“Then in year 10, we had to put on a presentation and I teamed up with a mate and made a fake radio show — it got some laughs which only fed the desire for more of THAT!”

Chris wrote and performed comedy on stage from 2001 to 2005, performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with the Sydney sketch group Comicide in 2010.

Starting the Jolly’s World of the Web show on 2RRR in 2011 allowed Chris to keep experimenting with his comedy while building a community around the laughs. 

“It was advertised as ‘the show where anything can happen but usually doesn’t’,” said Chris. 

“The show discussed everything I was interested in at the time, like geopolitics, weird happenings, and I couldn’t help but throw in elements of comedy with Jolly Astrology (a mock astrology segment which sounded a bit like the astrologer from Good Morning Australia), as well as fake commercials and other produced segments. I wrote a few parodies too.”

“It was on Sat night (Sun morning) from 1 to 3 am and I loved it! I love nights, I used a chat room to engage with listeners who were listening terrestrially or through the stream.”

“One stand-out show was a paranormal investigation special. I got permission to extend the show to 5 am. I brought in a team of paranormal investigators to see if they could find any unusual activity at the old cottage where the station is located. The audience were able to ask questions and the team would answer on-air. It was a lot of fun!”

Eventually, the passion project wasn’t enough as a side order, and Chris started working to take it full-time. 

“The reason I moved from IT was that I was trying to put together a weekly show on 2RRR and working 5 days a week — as one of my colleagues at work would say, there’s the money job and the love job,” Chris said.

“They were right, one was the love job, and in 2017, we were going to be made redundant and I saw a chance to go to AFTRS and combine my love job and money job.”

Chris took a leap of faith, attending AFTRS to complete a Graduate Diploma in Radio to build his radio skills with the aim of going full time with the love job.

“One of my mates suggested (many times) to go to AFTRS. This would have been in the mid-2000s. For one reason or another, I never got around to it, but looking back, I wish I’d done it earlier,” Chris said.

“The most essential thing they taught me was that content is king, with brevity as a close second! Good content mixed with brevity is great storytelling.”

“It was also a great place to meet people in the industry who could give real-world advice as well as build solid friendships with other people also beginning their radio journey at the same time as me.”

Following the completion of his study, Chris eventually landed a job presenting at Port Stephens before 2TM in Tamworth, where he stayed for two and half years.

“It’s so exciting when you get to interview someone for which you’re a huge fan. I was lucky to be involved with two Tamworth Country Music Festivals, where I was able to interview a number of brilliant artists, some just starting their music journey and others who are at the top of their game, such as Troy Cassar-Daley. On top of that, I got to watch them perform live, just a few feet away!”

Chris’s most recent sea-change has taken him to the coastal NSW town of Taree as the Breakfast Announcer and Music Director of MAX 107.3.

“I absolutely love it here! There are beautiful historic buildings and parks. I’ve met some great people too. It’s close to some beautiful beaches and holiday spots. I’m very lucky to live in such a lovely region,” Chris said.

“I love the fact that I can connect with my local community. Whether it’s looking at ideas together, having a bit of a laugh, or enjoying awesome music together. It’s great because it also helps me feel part of a community I’ve only just moved into.”

“Being someone who at one point performed on stage, I love feedback from an audience and I’m certainly seeing more engagement in breakfast than I’d seen with other dayparts I’ve worked.”

“I’m excited to continue building this relationship with the community.”

Hear Brekky with Jolly on MAX 107.3 from 6 am – 9 am.

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