STAND UP ON EVEREST
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.