At a recent comedy night for ReachOut.com we spoke to the performers about how they got into stand-up and how they get through tough times.
When did you first do stand up?
Jack: The first time I did stand up, a friend of mine booked me into a local comedy club and didn’t tell me. It was the most mortifying thing. And the date loomed closer and closer, but I didn’t want to bottle it, I didn’t want to tell him I wasn’t going to do it.
So I put together about five or six minutes and went down. It was the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done, but it was the most rewarding. It gave me a career. What was plan B? Jack: There was no plan B, I don’t even have a Leaving Cert. I didn’t turn up for most of the Leaving Cert.
I think it’s one of the greatest tragedies when you hear a kid committing suicide because of exam pressures. I always followed Mark Twain’s advice of never let your schooling interfere with you education. One I left those front gates of the school, I never needed an exam. Never. So no, no plan B. Plan B was to make sure plan A worked!
Who supported you to get into comedy?
Jack: I had a couple of friend who were magicians. One guy in particular was really interested in sword swallowing, a fellow magician by the name of Quentin Reynolds. He was my mentor and always encouraged. I suppose, I came from a family where my father was an accountant. It’s one thing to turn around and say I wanted to be a comedian, but it’s another to say I wanted to do magic, and I wanted to be a sword swallower! It was too much for any poor parents to have to weather.
I think if you’re getting into any business, particularly an unusual one, you need a mentor. You need someone who is going to help you out, and you need to find an opportunity to pay them back as well.
How do you get through tough times?
Jack: I share my problem, I tell a friend. The one thing is that everything changes, everything moves on. You know, sometimes you can’t see the wood from the trees. Is that it? Or the trees from the woods? I don’t know what that stupid saying is, but it catches. You can be so busy and so involved with the problem, so if you could step back and take a more distant perspective, you’ll be like yeah, this is no big deal.
All things roll on you know? Time moves on, it’ll be forgotten about.