GARY Eck might have a university degree, but he's happy he never had to work in the "real world".
His first full-time comedy gig was writing for the 2Day breakfast crew, and he couldn't believe he was getting paid to make people laugh.
Since then he's travelled around the world doing stand-up, directing commercials and he even co-wrote the screenplay for Happy Feet 2.
The comedian is making his way to the region this week and had a chat with Pulse about his career.
How did you get into comedy?
It's an unusual vocation to do, it's not encouraged at school. Teachers don't really say "Gary, keep mucking up, there's a career in that for you." They tend to squash the idea of being funny. (Comedy) isn't something I even considered at school, I grew up in Canberra and a new club advertised for local acts to get up for comedy. I rang the guy and he said "You're the only one who's rung, so you've got to do it." I came up with a routine and performed. I had never seen live stand-up before, so it was an insane introduction to that world.
When did you realise you could make people laugh?
I was doing theatre sports at school and uni, and that's when it occurred to me that when you do or say something silly, people laugh. That inspired me to get into stand-up. You don't really ever question whether or not you're funny.
You have a BA in marketing and advertising from university. Did you ever use it in your career?
I finished my degree but went straight into comedy and got a full-time comedy gig with the 2Day breakfast crew. I did that for a few years and was earning a living from comedy. I was lucky in the sense that I never had to enter the real world. Having said that, I've since made a couple TV commercials that I wrote and directed, so it's come back to haunt me.
What's the best part of stand-up?
I always love stand-up; it's a true art and expression of who you are. It gives you a chance to have your own voice and opinions. If you can generate laughs from that, it's a bonus. Films are a different beast, there's so many other people involved and it takes much longer and there's no chance to keep refining something. With a joke, I can refine that for years. With a film, once you make it it's done and the audience judges it then.
Do you have any upcoming projects in the future?
I've got about four irons in the fire, and just hoping the fire doesn't go out. I have another live action feature film I'm working on, a few TV shows I'm developing. You just don't know what's going to take off.
You've entertained audiences in Paris, Scotland and even New York. What is it like performing overseas?
To be honest, if something's funny it's funny across the world. There might be cultural or language things you have to change, but most of my stuff is accessible to everyone. Sometimes the tourists enjoy it the most. Audiences just want to laugh.
Comedians Gary Eck and Paul Brasch
When and where:
Allenstown Hotel, Rockhampton: July 4
Keppel Bay Sailing Club, Yeppoon: July 5
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