STAND UP ON EVER­EST

Outer Edge - - Contents - by Shane Downey

Ear­lier this year, Michael and three other world class co­me­di­ans, Aus­tralian born Lon­don based Wayne Deakin, Tom Wrig­glesworth from Sh­effield, Eng­land and Martin Mor from North­ern Ire­land suc­cess­fully at­tempted the gru­elling nine day trek high into the Nepal Hi­malaya to Mt. Ever­est’s Base Camp.

There they per­formed on a pur­pose built stage to their fel­low trekkers and any climbers await­ing their turn to sum­mit the World’s high­est moun­tain, all in the name of char­ity (Save the Chil­dren).

I caught up with Michael after their suc­cess­ful world record for the high­est ever stand-up gig. They per­formed at Mt. Ever­est base camp, at a height of 5365 me­tres.

Michael Dwyer. (Mickey D). Stand-up Co­me­dian, Ad­ven­turer, Above Av­er­age Arm­chair Ath­lete. Apart from be­ing a world fa­mous (and now a Guin­ness World Record Hold­ing) co­me­dian, a star in Chan­nel 4 UK’S ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’, Aus­tralian born ad­ven­turer Michael Dwyer is a fam­ily man, and also a mul­ti­ple marathon and ul­tra­ma­rathon run­ner.

Michael Dwyer’s stage per­sona “Mickey D” is quite an ac­tive man on the global com­edy scene, head­lin­ing at the world’s largest com­edy fes­ti­vals, and per­form­ing for thou­sands of peo­ple ev­ery year, in­clud­ing the World Record break­ing at­tempt this year, of per­form­ing at Mt. Ever­est Base Camp.

He burst onto the com­edy scene as a 17 year old and made an im­me­di­ate im­pact, storm­ing the na­tional fi­nals of JJJ’S Raw Com­edy, in Aus­tralia. For 16 years Mickey has been a well sought after co­me­dian, and this Multi Award win­ning co­me­dian has per­formed across the UK, through­out Europe and the States and ac­quired an im­pres­sive list of TV and ra­dio cred­its. The life of a co­me­dian can take its toll on the body, and Michael says that this was his in­spi­ra­tion to start run­ning in his early 30’s.

“After a decade of solid par­ty­ing it was time to get back into shape” he says. “With com­edy, I travel a lot so run­ning is a great way to keep fit. It’s a trans­portable sport and also a great way to ex­plore and dis­cover new places”.

Mickey has been run­ning marathons, hik­ing and clean for over three years now, and fea­tured on Chan­nel 4 U.K.’S ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’, where ex-spe­cial Forces sol­diers recre­ate the SAS’S se­cret se­lec­tion process and put 30 men through it, in the ul­ti­mate test of their phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal re­silience.

Mickey is hooked on ul­tra-run­ning now, and com­pleted the Ade­laide marathon in Au­gust this year. He tells us about his favourite ex­pe­ri­ence in a marathon to date.

“We were 35km into Marathon 3 of 5, dur­ing ‘Hell of a Hill’ chal­lenge in the UK. The tem­per­a­ture was 2 de­grees Cel­sius, and winds were a gusty 80km/h. We were fully ex­posed to the el­e­ments on top of the course, and I was hud­dled be­hind my mate like a pen­guin, and we took turns at­tempt­ing to draught one an­other. As the side­wards hail be­gan we broke down laugh­ing”.

To give you an idea what the ‘Hell of a Hill’ marathon is like: here is the de­tail from their web­site: The 5 Tough­est Marathons in 5 Days, 5,000 feet Plus of El­e­va­tion Gain Each Day, 26.2 Miles of Tough Stone and muddy Trails in Cold Win­ter Months, 6 Laps over the Mighty Riv­ing­ton Pike Each Day,9 Hour Time Limit Each Day. Be­ing a marathon run­ner and a keen hiker, his diet is pretty spe­cific. Michael tells us that he starts ev­ery day with a green smoothie.

“I com­bine spinach, broc­coli, lemon, gin­ger and spir­ulina… and a lit­tle ex­tra lemon zest helps take the Gah­hhh! taste away.” He says “Ba­nanas are my “go to” en­ergy booster. They’re the best.”

Early this year, Michael re­ceived a call to see if he was in­ter­ested in an in­ter­est­ing show, per­form­ing on Mt Ever­est.

“I was ac­tu­ally a last minute re­place­ment to be in­cluded“he says “I found out right in the mid­dle of the Ade­laide fringe fes­ti­val, which was only about 4 weeks out from the event. I was in train­ing for an ul­tra­ma­rathon at the time, so I was fit and ready and said yes.”

With only a month to pre­pare, Martin Mor and Mickey D be­gan hik­ing the Ade­laide hills with weighted packs to sim­u­late the load of car­ry­ing their kit.

“We had about 18kg in our packs and we’d hit the trails for about 4 hours each ses­sion. It was tricky get­ting reg­u­lar ses­sions in dur­ing the Ade­laide fringe fes­ti­val, but we man­aged 4 or 5 hilly hikes, where we pushed a good pace with the packs on” he says.

The idea for ‘Stand Up on Ever­est’ came from Jeremy Banks from the UK, who is and event or­gan­iser for ‘The Aid Fundraiser’, which hosts and pro­motes ‘Laugh Till It Hurts’ for sev­eral na­tional char­i­ties such as Save the Chil­dren.

The Aid Fundraiser has be­come es­tab­lished in com­edy event or­gan­is­ing, plan­ning and man­age­ment of some of the big­gest events in Lon­don and has built a rep­u­ta­tion for rais­ing aware­ness for char­i­ties, while work­ing along big the big­gest acts in the UK and World­wide.

“The big­gest chal­lenge was that we knew that we had to keep climb­ing higher, and it was be­com­ing tougher with the al­ti­tude. Be­ing short of breath per­form­ing was tricky as well. It was hard to get the usual rhythm to bang the jokes out” Mickey says.

“There was a crew of around 30 peo­ple that came along for the trek, and on the day, the crowd were great! The set­ting was epic and the au­di­ence was from all over the world. I had a train of yak walk by dur­ing my set.

You could tell which peo­ple were set to climb to the sum­mit, fit look­ing steely fo­cus and very grate­ful to have some­thing to dis­tract them for a cou­ple of hours. Climbers are usu­ally wait­ing up to 2months at Base­camp for their win­dow to sum­mit.” Michael says he would def­i­nitely like to climb Ever­est again, and it has given him new in­spi­ra­tion for new chal­lenges.

“I’d like to take my fam­ily to Mt Ever­est next time, to show them just how stun­ning it is” he says.

Now that he has suc­cess­fully gained a Guin­ness World Record, Michael is busy mak­ing plans to tackle an­other long stand­ing Guin­ness World Record. If you’d like to fol­low Mickey on his ad­ven­ture jour­ney, his Twit­ter han­dle is @ad­ven­turemick.

Climb­ing Mt Ever­est it­self comes with its chal­lenges, but per­form­ing a com­edy rou­tine at that al­ti­tude had its dif­fi­cul­ties, even for the best co­me­di­ans in the busi­ness.

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