by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Mice Net : December 2008
Q&A q&a The comedian and the comedy writer: the set-up and the punchline In a shift from our usual Q&A spread this edition we decided to let two co-workers describe what it is their business partner does in their own words. Rodney Marks, 52, is a comedian (www. comedian.com.au) well known to readers in the MICE sector. He has performed his comic Hoaxes and Jokeses at business events all over the world for the past generation. Benjamin Marks, 21, is a professional comedy writer (www.comedywriter.com.au). He is Rodney’s son. Rodney and Benjamin work together from their Sydney Airport office in Mascot, Sydney. This is their story (so far) told from the other’s perspective. Rodney Naturally, we’ve known each other Benjamin’s whole life! He was brought up in showbiz, often travelling, and familiar with the backstages of performance venues: comedy clubs, other clubs, pubs, hotels and resorts, restaurants and all sorts of one-off spaces. He and his younger brothers would from time-to-time be part of the show. Benjamin is very smart, and went to a selective high school. He started writing when he was 15. He wrote serious articles sprinkled with humour. The topics ranged from education to politics, philosophy and economics. This continued through to university, where he briefly studied social ecology, before concentrating on writing exclusively. Together with Robert Spillane – a professor and former dean at Macquarie Graduate School of Management – Benjamin and I co-authored The Management Contradictionary (Michelle Anderson Publishing: Melbourne, 2006). 8000 copies were sold, making it an Australian best- seller. I bought 6800 of those, making me an Australian best-buyer. Benjamin has written and published numerous articles, and has written two as yet unpublished books and many other articles. Every day he writes at least 10 jokes for me, specifically for upcoming performances. Also, I am the quality assurance person for his own comedy writing. I assure his clients: “Benjamin’s stuff is really funny”. That’s my job, both as dad and as master-teacher. His apprenticeship is almost over. I reckon that in another 10 years, he’ll be ready to go it alone. Perhaps I’m a bit overprotective … or is that paranoid? Benjamin I write pieces for presenters to insert into their serious speeches. For instance, this year I’ve written for professional speakers whose topics include: negotiation, values, leadership, gender differences, work/life balance, deportment and image, customer service, passion, persistence and purpose, and rugby. I’ve also written links for a singer/songwriter in Nashville, for a motoring program on ITV4 UK, for a greyhound racing radio commentator, and for a magician and a flaming cocktail bartender. I’ve also written corporate pantomime. And, of course, I write for dad. Dad portrays characters to audiences in different industries, so I need to find different ‘voices’ for him. Sometimes he’s really fussy, and says that my material is too bold and more suited to comedy clubs. Mostly, he laughs out loud. We argue quite a bit about what’s funny and what’s not in my writing, and his, and then test it on live audiences. After an event, when dad has ‘processed’ the experience – which might take a few days – we evaluate what worked and what needed to be ‘saved’ by material from his repertoire. Sometimes we have video of a performance to review. We are homeless, so generally sleep at our offices in Mascot when we can’t find a better offer. We have unusual hobbies. Dad’s biggest hobby is losing and putting on weight. He has been featured on advertisements for Jenny Craig, Twisties and indigestion medication. I prefer the society of books to the society of people. mice.net 43