How Toronto-based comedian Marc Hallworth achieved his dream

Photo provided by Marc Hallworth Photo credit: Marc Hallworth

Imagine coming out to a crowd with one goal in mind – to make them laugh. Now imagine doing that 4113 times. That is exactly what Toronto based comedian Marc Hallworth has done as of October.

That many gigs throughout a career doesn’t happen without hard work and dedication.

From a young age, Hallworth had a passion for comedy, falling in love through the bloopers of the Seinfeld finale where he saw the crew work so hard to create the show.

“Everybody works so hard as a team to make this thing what it is and I was so enamoured by that, I was so drawn to that,” Hallworth said about seeing behind the scenes of the sitcom.

“I want that kind of community.”

As a child, he went to see community theatre at the Saint Peters Players, based out of a church. Here he learned about what he wanted to do.

“I had no interest in leading men – who was way more interesting was this kind of secondary character that’s super funny. The story doesn’t exist without them,” said Hallworth.

Though he always had comedy in his mind, he was in school in Calgary in the engineering program. He “hated every minute” of it.

He found out Humber College offered a program in stand up comedy and this is how he found out people could make money through comedy.

Hallworth finished his degree in engineering but also went through other career ideas such as drumming and skateboarding. However, he never gave up on his dream of being a stand up comic.

“Do weird jobs or whatever just to survive,” said Hallworth, “but that doesn’t take away from your real focus and your real career.”

Hallworth’s three “weird jobs” included a data entry specialist for a gun silo, a theatre usher and a Toronto tour guide.

Being a data specialist took away from Hallworth’s real career due to the busy schedule and being an usher meant he was cancelling his night gigs to sit in a theatre watching other comics do what he wanted to do.

The tour guide worked the best for Hallworth during his journey. He never had to take his work home with him because “the city was just the city,” so when he finished his shifts he was able to focus on his jokes and scheduling.

“That was November of 2014 and since then I’ve never had to do a minute of anything I didn’t want to do,” he said.

He enjoys every part of the job and thinks the eight years of full time comedy comes with his willingness to do any job as well as his “cheap lifestyle.”

Having have been in the field for so long, he passes his wisdom and experience to new and aspiring entertainers.

Callum O’Neil is one of those people. O’Neil works with Hallworth doing “shows together every now and then.”

“I definitely learned just from watching him, I learned how important it is to have structure in your set,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil also notes the document Hallworth has kept since the start of his career.

“He has a system that I’ve never seen any other comedian have,” O’Neil said. “He has like a huge document of all the jokes that he’s currently working on and everyday he cycles them out rather than just working on them chronologically.”

Hallworth has one piece of advice for new improvisers: “Listen.”

“If I had a word for standup at least, and maybe like sketch and improv, just think, like just think, man.”

He thinks new stand up comics need to evaluate why a joke or a set may have bombed and to take that as a lesson to use for next time.

“How about next time you hold the mic properly,” he said jokingly.

The experience, hard work and love for his craft is what got Hallworth to where he is today. Following his advice like doing “weird jobs” without losing focus of the goal and thinking about how mistakes can be fixed can lead to living the dream just as he lives his.

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