Midway through his eight-and-a-half minute acceptance speech after winning the TV WEEK Gold Logie in June 2019, Tom Gleeson delivered this line: "There has been a lot of concern that I'm turning this award into a joke. But what you're forgetting is: I'm a comedian – I love jokes."
In the months leading up to the awards, Tom – creator and host of the much loved Hard Quiz on the ABC – launched a tongue-in-cheek smear campaign against rival nominees.
And when he actually won the Gold Logie and got up on stage to give an acceptance speech – glass of wine in hand – he mocked the Logies mercilessly.
His words brought a backlash that genuinely took him by surprise.
TV WEEK sat down with Tom, and the funnyman was more reflective about his Gold Logie win.
"I completely underestimated the effect it would have on me," Tom, 45, admitted. "It has had a massive impact. To be honest, I thought everything would go back to normal after a couple of weeks, but people haven't gotten over it."
Since winning the Gold Logie, not a day has gone by that Tom hasn't talked about the Logies. And now that his profile is higher than ever, the benefits extend beyond punters on the street saying hello. The rewards have been financial too.
"I was in the middle of doing a national stand-up comedy tour," Tom said. "After I won, the entire tour sold out."
Despite cracking jokes at the Logies, has the time finally come for Tom to admit the joke was on him?
"In that way, I underestimated how iconic the award was," he concedes. "I also underestimated how much it still resonates with people; I get that now.
"I've always enjoyed the Logies – now, having won, it's as close as I can feel to winning a gold medal."
While there might be a degree of "lesson learned" in Tom's fresh outlook on the Logies, some will find his barbed speech hard to forget.
Grant Denyer, who won Gold in 2018, and 2019 Gold Logie nominee Amanda Keller made their displeasure public. But those closer to the comedian have expressed their disappointment about his comments in private.
Chris Walker is the executive producer of Hard Quiz. He's also the partner of 2015 Gold Logie winner Carrie Bickmore.
"Chris said to me during the campaign, 'Carrie doesn't like what you're doing,'" Tom reveals.
"I knew that if she didn't like it, other people wouldn't either, but I wanted to carry on. So I sat down with Chris and told him I was going to try to win and was going to throw everything at it."
Of course, the rest is history. Tom would win the 2019 Gold Logie, then return to the ABC offices.
"There was an awkwardness [at work], and Chris did tell me Carrie struggled with my win," Tom says.
"She's allowed to have her opinion; that's no problem at all. But her charity [Carrie's Beanies 4 Brain Cancer] still exists, all the good work and goodwill that came from her win remains, and me winning doesn't undermine that."
Previously, winning a Gold Logie had provided a platform for the recipient. In 2016, Waleed Aly pushed for diversity on screen; Carrie Bickmore and Samuel Johnson tackled cancer in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
"Imagine if I'd won and gone up and said, 'I'm starting a charity,'" Tom says. "People would have rolled their eyes. I'm a comedian, so I wanted to do something fun. I hope, in the grand scheme of things, Carrie will see that."
Putting their differences aside, Tom and Chris are back at work together on next year's series of Hard Quiz.
"We're in the middle of writing the fifth season," Tom says. "We're doing 40 episodes, so it'll run all year."
The Hard Quiz team is also preparing for a one-off Celebrity Hard Quiz, which will feature Lucy Durack, Waleed Aly, Celia Pacquola and Hamish Blake.
"The line-up is great," Tom enthuses. "We're all from different networks, so it's a good time to make fun of each other."
Tom's success has made him a target of a different sort – those who'd like to poach him from the ABC.
"Post-Logies, I've turned down some amazing offers from commercial networks," Tom reveals. "I've had a substantial offer to host a reality show. I took it seriously, because it was a lot of money, but I couldn't quite bring myself to say yes."
Tom looks to be busier than ever at the ABC in 2020.
"I'm working on two new ideas with the ABC," he says. "I'm in a weird spot, because usually I have ideas, pitch them and they get rejected. But since the Logies, people will say yes to all my ideas, so I have to make sure they're great."