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Hartley started stand-up as a way to get out of reading his poetry to of hundreds of people in Budapest, winter 2001. His first UK gig was the next summer in a heat of BBC Talent, by which time he still hadn't realized that reading out his act from bits of paper didn't look very professional.
His second gig was at the Comedy Store 'King Gong' show, where he dressed up as an old man and walked very slowly onstage to Eminem's 'Lose Yourself'. Even with these time wasting mechanisms in place he only lasted twelve seconds. He has been back and made four minutes, though he acknowledges that this was probably more due to confusion on his part over when to start his act, which people found quite funny.
Since then he has embarrassed both himself and other people at The Laughing Horse and Amused Moose competitions, done unexpectedly quite well at So You Think You're Funny and York, and been booed off by the Comedy Terrorist. He has also paid twenty-seven pounds fifty to travel to London on National Express for a meeting at Channel Four, so that they could tell him they quite liked his script but weren't going to make it into a television program. He's quite proud of that.
ran his own club in Cheltenham for a while and now he runs his own club
in Taipei, and it's doing quite well thank-you very much. He's back
gigging in the UK regularly and is happy to report that after seventy
performances, some people find him funny. And there's usually one woman