September 11, 2014

Marc Calling Orson

Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for 21 nights. He won the bet!

I’ve spent a few weeks thinking about the death of Robin Williams. I didn’t want to write something straight away, some knee-jerk reaction, or platitudes to a man I had never met.

I grew up watching Mork and Mindy in the 80s, in fact my Mum has a photo of me in the garden wearing a Mork and Mindy T-shirt, red shorts, long socks and a bowl haircut (the photo has been locked away in a vault and my mother is under strict instructions never ever to release it on Facebook). Even at the tender age of six I knew Robin Williams was cool.

The unfortunate cliché of the troubled comic genius is all far too common. Having met many comedians over the years, and spending the last six years on stage being ‘quite funny’, I know that many of us, (myself included) have used comedy as a way of working out the stuff in our heads, or sometimes as a way to hide away from the stuff in our heads…

It’s like some form of extreme group psychotherapy, but instead of the group nodding in support and patting you on the back they’re throwing half empty beer glasses at you.

By the way just to be clear I’ve never spoken at a corporate event where the audience has thrown half empty beer glasses at me. That would be a bad event, if you can’t keep the South East Auditors’ annual conference from tipping into violence, then perhaps it’s time to change jobs.

People assume, that because you’re a business speaker, you’ve got all your stuff together. They think that you have the answers to life the universe and why the printer always jams 5 minutes before an important presentation…

The thing is I worry all the time. I bring two shirts with me to every event, just in case someone spills tea, wine or blood on me. I obsess that my false front tooth implant is going to fall out mid-joke. Every lump is a tumour, every conversation is loaded with subtext and every time my dog runs off no matter how many miles I am away from a road, I fear I’m never going to see him again…

There are days in the office where there is zero productivity, I’ve reorganised files, done my VAT, recycled all my paper, hell I’ve even polished my computer screen (that’s not a euphemism by the way).

I can’t pretend to know what was going on in Robin Williams’ life or head when he decided to commit suicide, but I have experienced anxiety, feelings of failure and at times have thought in far too much depth about my own funeral…

I don’t think I’m alone, I’ve known a number of people (all men) who sadly have taken their lives in the last few years. I know lots of people who are on antidepressants and who are either wealthy enough, or lucky enough to be in therapy. There is nothing wrong with getting depressed, if you’re lucky it will be transient and a year later you’ll look back on it as a rough patch that you got through.

But if it’s more than that, if you have been feeling down for a while or anxious or afraid don’t hide it. Sometimes you need to trust the people you love and tell them how you feel. Seek help. There are more people out there then you know feeling the same way as you.

RIP Robin Williams July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014.

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.


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