EXCLUSIVE: How the joys of fatherhood comforted viral star Jimmy Rees when he suffered a loss of income during Victoria’s lockdowns

''Time at home is amazing – I love being a dad.''
Loading the player...

Multi-talented entertainer Jimmy Rees, 34, talks to Woman’s Day about his new ABC show Tiny Oz and why his favourite role is being a father.

Tiny Oz is such a unique show. Why did you want to get involved?

Whenever I see a miniature replica or artwork of some kind, it makes me smile and I think we all have the thought, “How did they do that”.

That’s what this show is about. Exploring the craft that makes us wonder how they did it, who did it, how long did it take.

Plus, the producers said they would shrink me down and put me into the model, so I couldn’t say no.

“That’s what this show is about. Exploring the craft that makes us wonder how they did it.”

(Image: Instagram)

Was the world of miniature models new to you? What was the most interesting thing you learned?

Completely new. What a fascinating world. We meet a guy called Hamish who makes tiny pots and vases.

He has a miniature pottery wheel to go with it – it’s hilarious to see but it is big business.

Hamish said the demand for his tiny pottery is off the charts and it has become a fulltime job.

I also learned that the artists making these incredible models have one thing in common – patience – of which I have little. I quickly learned that I could probably not do what they do.

If you could make something really small, what would you do?

All spiders. Not a fan of the giant spiders that just love to hang in the corner of your house. Just shrink ’em all down thanks, that’d be great.

Jimmy with his beloved wife.

(Image: Instagram)

The show has real cross-generational appeal. Did it feel like a stepping stone from your children’s TV work to a more grown-up show?

Tiny Oz is a wonderful mix of craft, art, history and humour. I spent many years playing with bespoke cardboard instruments and props on Giggle And Hoot, and we were always toying with the way these props could be brought to life.

There are some similarities here. Playing with scale and tiny versions of everyday items, shifting from the real world to the tiny world was fun and interesting.

Your social media work has had a massive reaction. What has that been like? Did you anticipate the response?

I never dreamed it would be received the way it has been. I still call them my silly videos, even though it has become a fulltime job.

I used to be asked in the street if I could say hello to the kids who watch Giggle And Hoot, now I have people tell me that I helped them through some of their toughest times.

I’m currently touring a live version of my online content, namely Meanwhile In Australia, and the response is incredible. Producing these videos is also a dream job for me, I love it.

Loading the player...

How have you weathered the pandemic?

OK, I think. Mentally, making Meanwhile In Australia videos and other such content has kept me creative and driven.

Although there were some tough times in Victoria, especially where my family and I didn’t want to “go on another walk”. We’d had enough of the homeschooling and three children [Lenny, six, and twins Mack and Vinny, three] at home all day every day, it was wearing us down.

I’m lucky to have an amazing wife [Tori, 32] who would help get us all back in a routine. And, in turn, when she was about to burst, I would try to get us back on track. We ate our feelings a lot… lots of coffee and chocolate.

“I’m lucky to have an amazing wife.”

(Image: Instagram)

In retrospect, your departure from Giggle And Hoot was well-timed because you left just before COVID hit and could devote more time to being a dad. What have you enjoyed most about being able to spend more time at home?

Initially it was a bit nerve-racking as we’d just moved back from Sydney to Victoria and purchased a house.

All my events and future income disappeared. Time at home is amazing – I love being a dad and exploring the world with my boys, but I also had to make an income. I always wanted to make my own content and knew that it can generate an income. It does require a fair bit of persistence [so] the timing was perfect.

Tiny Oz Tuesdays, 8.30pm, ABC & ABC iview. For tickets to A Night Of Laughs With… Jimmy Rees visit

Related stories