Golden balls

Mark Dolan's comedy debut was as a Child in front of some drunks. Yet Camilla Pia finds that a love of the audience helps drive him on

r there's nn rest l'nr the wicked. then .\lark l)nlan inust

he a very had man. .\'nt cnntent with writing. prnducing

and presenting l'nr hnth te|e\isinn and radin nn such successful cllnt'ts as Bulls u/ .S'Ii'c/ and the lli'c/t/y' Slum; the hespectacled cnmedian has recently decided tn return tn his stand-up rnnts. and alter a run nl' successt‘ul preyiews is hringing his dehut lull-length wnrk tn lidinhurgh. I'm Here In H('//).’ is designed tn make audience memhers lattgh and snn nut any prnhlcms they may haye; lrnm cats whn wnn‘t stnp urinating in kitchen cuphnards tn hair ncurnses and nyerly jealnus nther halyes. l)n|an has heard it all and is keen tn have a crack at mnre.

'l‘he w'ell—spnken. sell-deprecating and extremely witty chap seems genuinely excited ahntit his latest Venture. nnt least hecause it allnws him tn return tn Scntland‘s capital city.

‘lidinhurgh was where I started nut in shnwhi/f he explains animatedly'. ‘l was at uni there l‘rnnt l‘)‘)2 tn Oh and it was the mnst incredihle time nl' my life. althnugh I'm surprised I wasn‘t kicked nttt. I was studying pnlitics hut spent mnst nl my time at the Bedlam 'l'heatre inynlyed in an imprnyisatinn shnw. l rememher at nne pnint l was wnrking in a tea-rnnm in Victnria Street in the mnrnings and alternnnns. had a play nn at the (iilded Ballnnn at lunchtime and then had the shnw at midnight. l was drinking in-hetween and l lnnk hack mm and wnnder hnw all that was physically pnssihlc.‘

I'm Here In Help.’ is the result iii an idea which came tn him while nut jngging in 'yery shnrt shnrts and an ill-lilting tnp‘. lt iny'nlyes audience niemhers lilling nut a limit hel‘nrc the shnw detailing a prnhlem in their liyes. l)nlan then invites a few nn stage tn try tn snlye their prnhlems.

‘l was hesitant tn dn an hnur nl‘ straight stand-up hecatise my l'ay'ntii‘ite thing as a cnmedian is tn engage and interact with the crnwd.‘ he says. ‘And I didn't want tn dn a stretched yersinn nl‘ my circuit 2() minutes hecause I think



'I CAME UP WITH AN I“all gning well


that when it cnmes tn lidinhurgh ynu'ye gnt in make ll special. Alter years nt heing nhsessed with sell—help hnnks and agnny aunts. I came up with an idea my wile didn't ruhhish. sn I decided tn run with it and it‘s hecn gning really well. It‘s kind nl like heing an emntinnal detectiyc. ()tten ynu really haye tn prnhe tn get tn the rnnt nt the prnhlem. liundamentally nl cnurse this is cnmedy sn l’m unlikely tn get anything hnrrilically dark hut pc'nple can lrll\l me with anything.‘

llis lnye (it and ahility tn hnnd with an audience means that this might nnt necessarily he the nyerly-cruel shnw that it at first snunds. 'lt's nnne nl‘the things that it might seem tn he.‘ he insists. ‘lt‘s nnt a satire nn sell—help. it's nnt eycn ahnut sell-help. It‘s simply a cnmedy shnw where I try tn help. linr it tn wnrk. the audience hayc tn laugh illitl l haye [0 feel like l‘ye really helped snmenne with their liyes sn it's a twin challenge l‘nr me htit nne that I‘m really lnnking l‘nrward

in lidinhurgh. l)n|an eyentually hnpes tn he ahle tn cnmhine his current hrnadcasting wnrk and stand-up stints with an I'm Here In lli'l/i.’ tnur nt the l'ls'. llnweyer. alter dn/ens nl ndd jnhs thrnughnut his yaried career including eyerything l'rnm radin prnducer [0 selling pensions. telesales. pertnrming in lrnnt nl' drunk punters in his parents' .\'nrth l.nndnn ptih as a child and wnrking in a nightcluh where he ‘cnnstantly' wnre a thick tweed jacket and stuck nut like a snre thumh‘. he has recently set his mind tn achieying nne mnre majnr gnal. ‘l wnuld lny'e tn he ahle tn cnmhine w hat I dn liye with teley‘isinn and deyelnp a l‘nrmat l‘nr that. Sn what I‘m really saying is I‘d like In dn I'm Here In Help the TV shnw.’ Watch this space.

Mark Dolan, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, 5-27 Aug (not 7, 14), 6.30pm, 529-210 (£8-£8.50). Previews until 4 Aug, £5

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Think you've seen that person before? Then they're probably off the telly. Brian Donaldson picks five folk going from screen to stage

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