January 16, 2009

There is no try only do…

Can Marc Hogan, a man who’s never performed stand-up comedy before in his life have a successful show at the Edinburgh Festival – all to win a £1 bet?

Well this is it. There are 20 of us sitting in a circle in a dodgy basement of a North London pub with Logan Murray our Jedi comedy master.

Apparently he’s in his 40’s but he looks younger,  I can’t see a grey hair on him. Obviously there something in the adage that laughter is the best medicine!

Everyone looks so different, there are girls, boys, young old, trendy, nerdy, all linked by one thing … we all think we are or could be funny…

Logan starts the session by a brief introduction; I have my pen and paper at the ready for his comedy pearls of wisdom.

“I’m not going to teach you how to be funny.”

“Pardon? I’ve paid good money for this!”

“I’m not going to teach you how to be funny, you are already funny….”


“You all have stories experiences, friends, families, jobs that are all different you tell stories; crack jokes do silly voices take the mickey out of each other all the time!

All I’m going to do is teach you to be playful to have fun with stories, words, and even your bodies. You’ll all come out with different stuff, and the end you’ll have a really good 5 minute set!”

Hang on, this course is 3 hours long, 2 nights a week for 6 weeks!

That’s 36 hours! That’s 2160 minutes even if we have a 15 minute break every session that’s still equals 1980 minutes or 6.6 hours of work for every one  minute! ( I’m good at mental arithmetic)

I mean I do a lot of presentations I don’t think I’ve ever spent 6.6 hours per minute!”

I start to do more mental arithmetic in my head I’ve got to do a 60 minute show at Edinburgh festival

60 mins * 6.6 is 396 hours!!!!!

If an average working day is 8 hours that = 49 days of solid writing. With no breaks, no cups of tea, no googling.

I mean at most I could do 2 hours and work, well that s 196 days which is 6 months! Which is good (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I could have show ready by July!

Hang on that doesn’t take into account performing? I’ve not done a stand up comedy gig yet…


“Yes Marc”

“If we wanted to do a show like Edinburgh how many years would we be gigging?”

“Well most people take about 3 years – you’ve got a long way to go before your ready for that.”

My heart literally broke at that moment – there was no way on Gods green earth I was going to be ready! Even with the best will in the world I was woefully unprepared.

“This course does give you an advantage, you’ll shortcut about a year of gigging.”

My heart started picking up its pieces, it could save me a year … maybe I can able to pull this off!

If you would like to find out more about Marc, or to book him for a speaking event please visit www.marchoganlive.com

January 12, 2009

“Well, you’re quite funny…”

Can Marc Hogan, a man who’s never performed stand-up comedy before in his life have a successful show at the Edinburgh Festival – all to win a £1 bet?

“Hi Madelaine.”

Madelaine Bennett runs Prospero Communications. Jim gave me her number when I got back from Edinburgh as she also works with Stand up comics.

“Oh hi Marc how are you?  Jims told me about your bet!”

“Yeah, I was wondering if you had any advice?”

“Well I think you’re insane quite frankly!  Most comics spend 3 years gigging before they even consider a one man Edinburgh show. ”

“3 years! I haven’t got 3 years, I haven’t even got 1 year I’ve got 11 months! Is there not the equivalent of a 10 baskets or less fast track queue? ”

“Well if you were gigging 3 to 4 times a week, you may be ready.”

I drop the phone. “Four times a week! I have to be out four evenings a week? My wife (Kirsty) will kill me!

I can’t be out 4 nights a week until after midnight and hold down a job. I haven’t got the stamina; I’m 33 for Gods’ sake! If I’m not in bed by 10 pm I ‘m cranky for the next 2 days! I’m obviously presenting a lot; surely that gives me some advantage…

“Yes it should and you are quite funny”

What is it with the quite funny that’s like your partner saying you’re quite good in bed, this is not what I need!

“Thanks, I think? Any suggestions on how I could possibly be more funny?

“There is a great course run by the Amused Moose with Logan Murray who teaches aspiring comics how to be funny.”

“There s a course that teaches you to be funny  (I’ve heard it all now)!

“Who’s this Logan Murray chap?

“Oh he’s been on the comedy circuit for years, he runs university courses, he directs shows, he did work  with loads of famous people including We Are  Klang who won a Spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe award in 2004, and they were nominated for ‘Best Act’ at Edinburgh  in the 2006.”

“Sounds great! Does Logan do any stand up?”

“Oh yeah, loads,  he’s also on TV.”

“Oh really, what’s he do?”

Well he’s currently on CBeebies.”

I almost dropped the phone, “You’re joking.”

“No, don’t worry about that, the career of a Comic is a many varied thing! I’ll send you a link to the course and book on it’s the only way you’ll be close to ready!”


“OK thanks,”

“Oh by the way have you got a spare 10 grand?”

“How much is this course!”

“No silly, that’s how much you’ll need to run a show in Edinburgh.”

“£10,000, will I get any money back from ticket sales?”

“Not unless you’re famous or very good, most comics loose money!”

“I’ve just bought a new house; we’ve just spent 3 grand on a table & chairs! Kirsty wants a dog, where the hell am I going to get £10,000 grand!”

“Well you could possibly do it for £8,000,”

“Kirsty is going to kill me”, I think to myself. “Bang goes the holiday, the new bathroom, the Starbucks latte on a Saturday….”

“Brilliant, send me the link anyway, I’ve got to get working.”

Great I now have to learn how to be funny from a man on CBeebies from a course about an amused mammal, and to run a show its going to cost me at least £8,000. This keeps getting worse…