Building Comedy Unlimited Vol 1


It was about this time a year ago that I started to feel the need for change and as the old saying goes, ‘If nothing changes, then nothing changes’ The change that I’m referring to though is broad, and isn’t just for me.

I’ve been in the comedy industry for nearly 14 years and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to have been mentored and befriended by some of the funniest and most talented people in the country.

The comedy industry in Australia consists of, as I see it, 5 diverse groups of comedians.

  • TV & Radio performance & writing                  (Full time professional)
  • Corporate                                                         (Full time professional)
  • Comedy Club, Cruise ship, Festival & Clubs   (Full time professional)
  • Comedy Club & Festival                                   (Part time professional)
  • Open Mic                                                          (Part time amateur)

The interesting thing is that all of these groups are in a constant state of cross integration.

TV & radio comedians regularly perform at comedy clubs, festivals and corporate events, while club acts also secure the occasional TV, radio or corporate gig. Everyone however, started at the amateur level before moving into part time and then full time work.

Like most people who pursue a career within the arts, working for free at the start to prove your worth is simply a given.  The wonderful thing about where we are now is that with the aid of modern technology ‘all’ comedians are now able to film and produce their own comedy content and distribute it globally via the internet. This is a very positive thing as it encourages creativity and offers the opportunity to raise one’s own public profile.

For the lucky few who are able to make the transition from amateur to full time professional the rewards can be great,  but all too often they can also be short lived.  I’ve seen way too many instances of extremely talented comedians having to source other avenues of employment to simply pay their bills, and in my view, that’s real tragedy.

There are thousands of tradespeople, office workers, hospitality staff, etc. etc. etc.
But how many comedians are there?  You can be trained in any of the above fields of employment, and while you can undertake a comedy workshop or course as many people do, does that guarantee you a career as a comedian, of course it doesn’t. 

I don’t deny the fact that it will help, some of my friends run comedy courses and I’ve seen first-hand the amazing results they achieve with their students, but it takes so much more than that to actually become a full time professional comedian.

Australia has a population of over 20 million people, with somewhere in the vicinity of between 200-300 people who work full time across the various comedy mediums. Obviously these figures fluctuate and are an estimate, but you get the general idea.

The broad change that I’m referring to here is twofold:

1.For the comedians to gain more income security by maximising their earning potential.

2. For comedy to be a driving force that can instigate positive change across all of avenues of society.

In April last year all I had was a desire to help initiate this change across these two fields. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to go about it, let alone where to start or even if it was possible.  

Twelve months on that desire is still very much there, although now, I’m learning every day the right ways to go about it, and that change is possible.

These blogs will document the journey over the past 12 months and where we go from here. Building this business has raised all sorts of challenges, and there are a lot more to come.

The main thing though, is to keep the big picture in mind and know that I'm working on creating something that a lot of people will benefit from.

 For those of you that are interested, these blogs are for you. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, ideas or even offers of assistance. If I've learnt anything thus far, it's that building a trustworthy team is paramont.

So, spread the laughter, it's good for you......


Mark McConville


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