‘Brutal’ story behind Aussie comedy duo’s sudden split

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Australian comedian and radio host Merrick Watts opens up about his split from former comedy partner Tim “Rosso” Ross in a new podcast, saying the division between the pair was “devastating” for him.

Merrick and Rosso rose to prominence on Triple J in the late 90s, soon becoming one of Australia’s most popular comedy duos.

But the pair went their separate ways in 2009, when Rosso exited their radio show to pursue other ventures – thus ending an 11-year on-air partnership.

Speaking on the latest episode of Nova Podcast’s Head Game, Watts told host Ant Middleton how he felt when he and Ross “fractured” at the end of 2009.

“It was brutal, it was tough. It’s not really something I talk about a lot … but it was really devastating at the time. I was focused on wanting to follow a certain trajectory that I felt innately was the right way to go and that was probably in conflict to the way we were doing things and the way we were working together. I think we just exhausted ourselves as a unit and we’d done everything, we’d even lived together, and then I got my own family and got different priorities,” he recalled.

“Then I kind of wanted to forge my own identity … which I thought would be a lot easier than what It was. It’s taken a long time and still we’re not separated … it will always be Merrick and Rosso.”

Watts has spoken out several times over the years about his split from his former comedy partner – most candidly during a 2020 episode of Hughesy, We Have A Problem when he revealed that a “communication issue” over money had caused a rift between them two years earlier.

‘To be completely honest, there is a grudge. I’ve been holding a grudge for a period of time now,’ he revealed, saying he had fielded a lucrative offer in November 2018 for the duo to reunite.

He called Ross to discuss the offer, which he was keen to take up – then Ross never called him back.

Watts said the offer was for “more money than [they’d] ever seen”.

But Ross downplayed that anecdote after it aired, telling the Daily Mail that his former comedy partner had simply “told a funny story on TV.”

“He is, and has always been, an exceptional comedian and I’m sure the story was hilarious,” he said.

Later in 2020, Watts said on an appearance on The Kyle and Jackie O Show that he and Ross had not spoken in some time.

“There was never an explosive blow up or anything like that. To be honest, I think, you just grow apart,” he said.

Both have forged successful solo careers since they went their separate ways: Watts as a comedian, actor and radio host, and Ross branching into television presenting, architecture and design.