Mark Olver: ‘I’m used to prisoners and thugs’

Mark Olver: at the Wedge tonight.
Mark Olver: at the Wedge tonight.
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Bristol-based comedian Mark Olver has toured with big names like Russell Howard and Lee Mack.

He runs his own gigs in Bristol, including the legendary Olver’s Student Comedy Night.

He is also a regular TV warm-up for shows including Have I Got News For You, Deal or No Deal and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

When did you first realise you were funny?

I can’t remember when I knew I was funny, but I knew from a very young age that I was a bit different. I was always a show-off, dancing stupidly at family parties, but then would also spend a lot of time on my own reading books and making up stories, which is pretty much exactly what I do now as a stand-up comic.

What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?

I was a careers adviser before I became a stand-up comic (oh, the glamour) and I do miss it a bit sometimes. I worked in prisons and young offenders’ institutes. Comedy audiences can be challenging but they are easy next to prisoners and little thugs.

Tell us about three things that make you laugh?

People falling over, people walking into glass doors, and kids who get a massive ice cream bought for them which they then drop, or even better, the ice cream bit just drops off the cone. Why? There is nothing funnier in the world than that momentary bit of pain and discomfort when you know that actually it’ll be okay really.

Tell us a joke?

Like most comedians in the world, I am rubbish at actual jokes. I think I have written three actual jokey jokes in my career and none of them is suitable for publication – mainly because if people read them it gives me one less joke to do on stage.

Who’s your hero?

Nurses and teachers. People who do amazing jobs looking after people but don’t get the recognition and money that other jobs get.

I’m glad I get paid for talking rubbish because it is pretty much my only skill. My heroes are those people with real skills in helping people, who do it for love not money.

· See Mark on stage tonight at the Wedge Comedy Club, Southsea, alongside Carey Marx, Paul Myrehaug and compére Dinga. Doors open at 7.30pm. There’s food until 8.45pm and a disco until 2.30am. Tickets: £8 on the door, (023) 9286 3911 or