John O’Brien, of Moodiesburn, used to work in a local warehouse with gigging as a mere sideline to his real job. But last summer, faced with the choice of voluntary redundancy or a 25 per cent pay cut and transfer to a different premises, he took the package in order to become a full-time comedian.
“It’s been going well so far,” said John (38) who uses the stage name Obie, a contraction of his real surname. Indeed Obie has a number of bookings lined up in city centre pubs. He also has another string to his bow. John has a trained memory and holds occasional clinics helping others improve their memorization skills.
“I got into memory training when I was in university,” said John. “At the time guys like UK memory champion Dominic O’Brien were getting quite a bit of coverage in the media, so I was inspired to read a few books on memory training techniques and teach myself. I’ve occasionally done it as part of my act as well.”
Over the years Obie has also made several appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, but this will be the first year he has played the Melbourne Comedy Festival, another of the world’s biggest comedy festivals. “I think Melbourne offers more of a chance for a guy like me to get a bit more exposure,” he said. He has three gigs in Melbourne lined up for the end of March.
To help raise cash for the Australia trip, Obie is taking donations via his website - www.obiethecomedian.co.uk, where you can also view clips of the man in action.
“Everyone who puts in some money will get something back, from a CD upwards. For £200 I’ll come to your house and do an hour’s worth of material,” said John.