After blogging hundreds of jokes, anecdotes, videos, comedy war stories and funny case studies, I’m posting testimonial excerpts, in five groups:
- 2012-2016, +1 for 2017
- 1997-2001, and
As a freelance comedian, I’m always looking forward to the next performances! And sometimes I forget to sell.
It’s better to let happy customers speak on my behalf –
… … … … …
University of Sydney, HC Coombs Centre, Reserve Bank, Sydney, 14/02/2017
I really enjoyed your performance. In fact it’s been my favourite dinner speech on the course. There have been many discussions about it from quite different perspectives amongst the cohort.
Tim Scholes – Head of Software Architecture, Qantas Assure
Thank you again for working with us this year. Everyone was surprised and it got them all thinking. We’ll have to watch out for paybacks in future modules though!!
Lucy Commis – Program Coordinator, Executive MBA – Management Education
National Speakers Association of Australia, The Pavilion, Darling Park, Sydney, 8/12/2016
Rodney you are one of my favouritist people – thank you for a wonderful fitting (fitted?) performance and you got some great zingers in there … you should seriously consider comedy professionally …
Dale Rees-Bevan – President, SpeakersBank Australia Inc.
Community Colleges Australia, Dockside, Cockle Bay, Sydney, 19/10/2016
My organisation, Community Colleges Australia, hired Rodney to portray “Phil Umbridge”, a Texas oilman-come-film producer who now “loves” community colleges to be our “keynote” comic speaker at our annual Gala Dinner in Sydney last year.
He had us all – literally – in stitches.
Don Perlgut – CEO
Rotary – Queensland, Maryborough City Hall, Regional Qld, 15/10/2016
Rodney provided a great evening and my guests are still talking about it. An amazing talent.
Craig Winter – Rotary District Governor
UGL Engineering, Yarra Valley Lodge, Regional VIC, 27/09/2016
Was a great night and well played as usual. Everyone had a great night and had you have not done the outro, I think we could have carried it to the next day! Will be sure to keep in touch,
Anthony Ward – National Operations Bid Manager
Was great to be entertained and sucked in last night!
Alison Cukier – PA
North Sydney Boys’ High School, North Sydney Boys’ High School, Sydney, 16/09/2016
Thank you to – our MC for the evening, Rodney Marks, who did a fantastic job as always, and kept us entertained.
Neil Hunt – President
Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management (AITPM), Westin Sydney, Sydney, 27/07/2016
Thank you for your contribution to our conference. You were the icing on the cake.
Fred Gennaoui – Conference Co-convenor and Foundation President 50 years earlier (1966)
We got very positive feedback – well done!
Kevin John – Conference Co-convenor, and Immediate Past President NSW/ACT
They loved you – the whole event was a success and Fred even sent me a message saying it was the best conference dinner in all his (50) years – so for Fred I think that is something. Thank you again for doing a great job. Great to work with you.
Michelle Prideaux, Prideaux Entertainment – Event Producer
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Doltone House – Pyrmont, Sydney, 27/06/2016
Thank you again for playing such a wonderful role at our Network event.
Justine Ritchie – PA to Jeana Abbott, Head of People & Culture
Australian Marriage Celebrants, Holiday Inn Coogee Beach, Sydney, 18/06/2016
The feedback we have received regarding Monsieur Roland de Heye’s presentation has been outstanding!
Ann Dally JP – President
I agree, it was great – thank you so much – let’s stay in touch.
Chirs Hale – Vice President
Paragem, Sofitel, Melbourne, 6/06/2016
Good Morning Commissioner: We are back safely ensconced in our Sydney office ( still opposite each other the wrong way round ) and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write and thank you for your delivery in Melbourne on Monday evening. The whole evening turned out to be exactly what we had hoped for with a balance of refinement, wit and camaraderie. Your presentation and the sting were terrific and many advisers were still talking about the following morning. Without doubt it worked as we all wanted! Hopefully we will have cause to enjoy each other’s company again, if you are ever wandering around the city looking for a lunch companion let me know I’d love to keep in touch.
Ian Knox – Managing Director
Macquarie Bank, Offices of Macquarie Bank (Shelley St, Sydney), Sydney, 19/05/2016
We’re so pleased with how it went – it was perfect to end the day on a lighter note.
Helen Copp – Head of Communications and Creative Services, BFS Central
You were AMAZING! Thank you so much for joining us today. I get the feeling people will be talking about your presentation for quite some time. It was the most engaged I’ve seen that audience for a long, long time.
Simone Kilby – Internal Communications Manager
UGL, Château Élan, Hunter Valley, 17/05/2016
Thanks, Arlo. Team loved it! Particularly Ross (Taylor, CEO)
Emily Holborow – Group Marketing and Communications Manager, Corporate
EMC2, Crowne Plaza Terrigal, Regional NSW, 16/05/2016
Thanks for a fantastic performance Rodney, everyone enjoyed it immensely!! … It was a pleasure, both working with you and talking with you. You are a consummate professional who I’ll gladly recommend to anyone. The emails from the APJ execs are flying around this morning and are full of compliments for you and also for Clive and I for pulling of the big secret. Matt says he will never trust us again (ever).
Darren Reynolds – Head of Cloud Solutions, Telco and Service Providers
Robbie Waterhouse: Bill Whittaker Book Award, Restaurant – Drink Better Wine, Sydney, 9/05/2016
From your lunch mate Tim Storrier’s wife: “U totally got Tim. He said there was a very interesting Finnish academic and he is not believing me :-)”.
Robbie Waterhouse – bookmaker
You did a great job, fooled Tim Storrier!
Pennie Psaltis – Robbie Waterhouse’s persanal assistant
Clark Rubber, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth, 20/04/2016
The presentations went well. The team enjoyed them.
Eddie MacDonald – Chief Executive Office
Really enjoyed our time together. Great fun. Received many positive comments from our franchisees about Phillip de Poole. Thank you for helping us create a really positive conference.
Des Carroll – General Manager Sales
Speakers’ Club, Offices of Christie Offices, Sydney, 23/03/2016
AND…..how about Rodney Marks? “Thoroughly perplexing”, “Brilliant”, “Unforgettable” were some of the words used by members to describe Rodney and his “systems thinking” last night – thank you Rodney! Please book Rodney for your next conference.
Michelle Bowden – Founder
University of Sydney, University of Sydney, Sydney, 16/02/2016
Thanks again for Tuesday. The group is still talking about it.
Jane Lowther – Senior Facilitator
The CEO Institute, Four Seasons, Sydney, 29/01/2016
What a wonderful job, and thanks so much … a great contribution, very hard to top!
Yvonne Howie, Chief Executive – NSW
Hyman’s Valuers and Auctioneers, House – Warrawee, Sydney, 20/01/2016
Thanks for last night. Very well received.
Ian Hyman – Chief Executive Officer
Certus3, Restaurant – Centennial Park, Sydney, 8/12/2015
Special thanks goes to Rodney Marks for his inspired comedy set.
Melinda Young – Senior Consultant
Kashrut Authority, Inter.Continental Double Bay, Sydney, 2/12/2015
Your performance went down very well
Karyn Lemon – PPR
Ergo Asia, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 27/11/2015
We had a fabulous night, we weren’t sure what to expect but our apprehensions went straight out the window once you got up and people started laughing. It truly was an experience to remember.
Amanda Winton – Product Manager
Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA), QT Gold Coast, Regional QLD, 12/11/2015
That was excellent, thank you Rodney!! Well done! Some people said they worked it out with the Casanova joke! [“Casanova was the first big data.”]
It was indeed great fun and there were lots of laughs from the delegates the following day regarding your presentation!!
Apparently the Veda guy who asked you during the first question “is this presentation going anywhere?” really hadn’t worked out that you were a hoax speaker!
Rebecca Murray – Head of Member Services and Consumer Affairs
infOready, Restaurant – Targa, Regional NSW, 15/10/2015
Hi Rodney (Noel :)),
Thank you for entertaining our Infoready team at our annual retreat on Thursday night. I have heard raving reviews of how excellent your performance was. You had everyone in stitches. Cameron, Zoe and Eric still cannot believe they had lengthy conversations with you believing your character.
Tristan Sternson – Managing Director
Everyone had a really good time last night. It was great!
Emma Higgins – EA to the MD
University of New South Wales, Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney, 9/10/2015
Just wanted to give you a big thank you for MC-ing the Gala! It was a big success – we couldn’t have done it without your humour and ability to keep the crowd entertained all night.
— (Katrina Iannella – Student/Event Organiser)
A wonderful evening last Friday greatly enhanced by your skills in corporate observation and commentary.
— (Professor Mark Uncles – Deputy Dean (Education), UNSW Business School)
Dear Rodney Professor Lou Pole,
It was such a pleasure meeting you on Friday night at our gala event. Thank you for making us all laugh throughout the night – you did such a terrific job – and keeping the UNSW GSDO show on the road. Many of the attendees were raving about you at the end of the night, and couldn’t believe how well you convinced them that you were the Dean of Harvard Business School.
I would also like to thank you immensely for spruiking me in front of all our guests. I am not sure what opportunities may arise from the connections I made on the evening but I have lots of emails to send this morning, and I am sure something fabulous will come up for me! Thank you again, and I look forward to any opportunity where I will work with you in the future!!
— (Natalie Romaniuk – Student/Event Organiser)
Rotary – Crows Nest, Restaurant – Small Bar, Sydney, 24/08/2015
Just wanted to say thank you very much for your talk today, it was very enjoyable. It actually sounds like you’re having too much fun for a fellow ‘old bloke’! Enjoyed talking to you as well beforehand.
Mark Warr – speaker seeker
National Electrical Contractors Association, The Entrance Leagues Club, Regional NSW, 29/07/2015
It was fun and many thanks for coming along.
Eris McCarthy – Central Coast President, NECA
Charter Hall, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Regional NSW, 14/07/2015
It was great working with you at the Retail Conference last week.
Jade Cheetham – Events Manager
Chesterton Real Estate, Harbour 220 degrees, Sydney, 9/07/2015
Rodney (nee Ulysses) , Yes, we loved having you there and appreciated your effort . Lets keep in touch – I enjoyed our conversations ..although with your email below – I think you have too much time on your hands !!!!
Andrew Hunter, CEO
A lot of people wanted to speak to you after your presentation, as they thought you were hilarious – so I hope they found you!
Rebecca Lightfoot, Marketing Manager
Harvard Club of Australia, Union Club, The, Sydney, 6/07/2015
Veteran Australian comedian – Marks had the guests laughing as he shared stories about his work as a put-on artist booked for comic revenge.
‘Club News’ – page 5.
SwissCham Australia, Dockside, Cockle Bay, Sydney, 21/05/2015
As always, it was a great pleasure working with you.
Marcel Svatos – General Manager
Rotary – Lane Cove, Lane Cove Country Club, Sydney, 5/05/2015
Thank you for your entertaining presentation last Tuesday evening, Life as a Comedian, with examples. It was greatly enjoyed by our Rotary audience as you may have judged by the laughter generated and the many questions asked; a truly pleasant change from the educational but sombre talks we’ve had recently.
Frank Rule – Speaker Programmer
Sofico, Harbour cruise, or moored boat, Sydney, 19/12/2014
Thank you again for your performance last Friday. It was a great hit and everyone is still talking about it. We certainly pulled it off.
Koenraad Van Grimbergen – General Manager
That was so funny, I had to borrow my girlfriend’s puffer. I thought I was going to die!
Sue Johnston – Account Management, Support (email, 27 May 2015)
Cooper Investors, Restaurant – Trunk (The Rintel Room), Melbourne, 12/12/2014
Rod the day was a great success thank you. Have a terrific Xmas and a new year. And keep them laughing.
Peter Cooper – Managing Director
Gresham Partners, Pier One Sydney Harbour, Sydney, 11/12/2014
It was great. Everyone loved the session.
Charlie Graham – Managing Director
Certus3, Restaurant – Aqua Dining, Sydney, 3/12/2014
Thanks Rodney it was a wonderful evening and your performance was a great success. Very positive feedback from everyone.
Michael Devlin – Managing Partner
Avondale Golf Club, Avondale Golf Club, Sydney, 7/11/2014
The feedback we had was 98% excellent! Your session was extremely entertaining and most that I spoke to over the weekend said it took them to at least half way before they worked out that you were not what it seemed!
Paul Paterson – Chief Executive Officer
Hi Rohan, I mean Rodney, great to meet you on Friday night. Well done on your performance, it was thoroughly enjoyable! I’d be keen to catch up for a coffee one day to chat through what we are trying to do in Melbourne next year.
The CEO Institute, Offices of The CEO Institute, Sydney, 28/10/2014
What a great night!
Yvonne Howie – Chief Executive, NSW
Community Relations Commission, Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney, 16/10/2014
Thank you for a great performance yesterday. It was a pleasure working with you.
Rosa Stathis – Project Officer, Community Relations Commission
Bidvest, Château Élan, Hunter Valley, 18/09/2014
You were a hit Rod, everybody enjoyed your gig. Well, there were a few who still didn’t get it. That loudmouth from Canberra told Bernard: You were OK for a yank. Some people should just not drink.
Peter Crowe – General Manager, Marketing
Australasian Association of Distance Education Schools, Sydney Distance Education High School,
Thank you once again for the incredible contribution you made to our conference last week. Your talent and professionalism were extraordinary. I’m sure many attendees are still talking about your performance.
In fact I believe some of them may have even returned to their schools to announce an impending review of distance education.
Daniel Rattigan – Head Teacher Secondary Studies (Australian Curriculum & Engagement), Sydney Distance Education High School
Danny Beran, Hotel – Hughenden, Sydney, 31/08/2014
All the guests enjoyed the occasion richly!
Dr. Danny Beran
Matt Blatt, House (apartment) in Double Bay, Sydney, 20/06/2014
Your presentation on Friday was well received and set the tone for the meeting that followed. We try to keep our staff (and customers) happy, stimulated and open minded and Otto certainly helped to achieve this.
Adam Drexler – Managing Director
The ‘Mo’ Awards, Bankstown Sports Club, Sydney, 27/05/2014
Your comedy routine really set the fun atmosphere on the night. Thanks for the clever lines and the quick ad-libs.
Marty Morton (of ‘Marty and Emu’) – Producer/Director
SwissCham Australia, Swissotel, Sydney, 15/05/2014
You were great as usual and absolutely made the evening.
Brian Greig – Non Executive Director
ConTech: Confectionery Technology, The Pullman, Albert Park, Melbourne, 30/04/2014
[Follow-up survey: Overall, how would you rate the level of performance of the speaker?]
Very Good. He was authentic and well research. He was generous with his time, including attending the afternoon tea and onward at the conference. He truly had some of the audience fooled to the end.
Jennifer Thompson – Technical & Regulatory Manager, The Australian Industry Group
Visiting Belgian professor of neuro-psychiatry, Dr Emmanuel van Hoof MD, took some of the audience hook, line and sinker. However, others were a little sceptical from the outset. For the scientists in the room, he performed to perfection, baffling colleagues. But did you ever think to check online and look this guy up, check out his credentials and scientific papers? Whilst he fooled many into having a good time, Sydney comedian, Rodney Marks, kept the audience entertained to the end.
Confectionery Industry News, June 2014, page 1.
Private function – wedding, Claire Wivell Plater and James Kirby, Hungerford Hill Winery, Regional NSW, 12/04/2014
It’s been a delight working with you on this grand project – thanks for taking us on and making us laugh!
James and Claire
Thank you so much for last night! It was the best wedding I’ve had! I think Claire would say it was one of the best she’s had. We’ll definitely catch up when we get back from our honeymoon.
We’re back from our honeymoon, but still floating on air! The wedding was all we hoped for and more … Thank you so much for all your help … we knew what we wanted to achieve, but we were really struggling with how to go about it and your humour, creativity and guidance were a major factor in making it so wonderful.
AMSRO: Association of Market and Social Research Organisations, Restaurant – Flying Fish, Sydney, 20/03/2014
Quick note to thank you for making the forum dinner such a highlight! Not surprisingly, we received rave reviews today. Everyone loved the Dr. (Plus quite a few thought you were the real ABS thing! Hilarious!) Hope you enjoyed it (and my apologies for having to battle with the noise coming from the back room.)
Sarah Campbell – Executive Director
Bluestone Global, Parkroyal Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, 17/03/2014
Big success – thank you Richard (Rich Vane).
Stephen Sasse – CEO
B’nai B’rith, B’nai B’rith Centre, Sydney, 16/03/2014
Many thanks for the wonderful entertainment you gave us yesterday. It was most appreciated and very much enjoyed by all. I believe you are off again to night to another gig. You deserve an AOM for the time you give to the Jewish community.
Cancer Council Australia, Austrian Club Sydney, Sydney, 11/03/2014
“Bernd Eggenberger” was a major success on Tuesday 11th at our Gala Cancer fundraiser. So many guests have been in touch to rave about you (though some admonished us for introducing a paid political announcement). The funds raised were excellent too..we’re still counting. Thank you so much,
Fergus, Trevor, Jim (& Smiley, of course)! – the honorary event organisers
DIC Australia and New Zealand, House in Castle Hill, Sydney, 12/02/2014
Thanks for an entertaining evening, it takes a fair bit to get my lot rolling around the floor, but you certainly had them going.
Private function – Bar Mitzvah, Yossi Doron, Restaurant – Cipri Italian, Sydney, 9/02/2014
You were hilarious, seriously you put a smile on everyones face, I’m still laughing at how well you tricked Troy (the butler) into believing you were a rabbi!!
QBE, Restaurant – Dedes on the Wharf, Sydney, 3/02/2014
The team and myself enjoyed having a man of your standing at our event. Let’s hope you can be our guest again soon.
Echidnas – Australian Order of Comedians, Cardinal Freeman Lodge, Sydney, 6/01/2014
Rodney went close to social and legal limits on his great impromptu ad libs.
Doug McLaughlin – Treasurer
Rodney kept the pace of the show moving with his usual clever anecdotes.
Alan Dale – Secretary
Harvard Club of Australia, House in Surry Hills, Sydney, 12/12/2013
Great job on taking off academic jargon. It’s just as much of a phenomenon in theology and philosophy — and educational research — as business, albeit with significantly more syllables in theology and philosophy … if you can believe that!
Tomago Aluminium, Hexham Bowling Club, Regional NSW, 5/12/2013
Thanks again for a great evening, your spot was amazing (how do remember that stuff??), I thoroughly enjoyed it and there has been plenty of talk at Tomago about you.
Tony Camps – Sourcing Advisor, Tomago Aluminium
Rubik, Offices of Rubik, Sydney, 4/12/2013
I’m still in disbelief at how many of our clients truly believed you were a psychiatrist working for Rubik … even after Wayne thanked you using your real name. Amazing … It was lots of fun so thank you again!
Alex Mercer – Account Manager
Nulon, Marriott Sydney Harbour, Sydney, 30/11/2013
Just wanted to say a big thank you for helping to make the party last Saturday night a huge success. I think it all went off very well and everyone seemed to have a great time. They really enjoyed the roast. I hope you enjoyed the night,too. Once again, thanks for your comic input! It was spot on.
Heather Hackett – Executive Assistant to the CEO
Datacom, Restaurant – Prime, Sydney, 28/11/2013
Most people I spoke to were fooled in the first 5-20 minutes. This includes a number of staff. I think Wally mentioned one of our GMs was close to resigning that night as he had spent the day interviewing candidates on a deadline. Had a lot of positive feedback, thank you.
Kimmy Lawrence – NSW Administration Manager
Rodney was engaged to make an ‘appearance’ at our annual client Xmas function. His piece in our evening took a nice evening &made it memorable with lots of fun & chatter continuing well through the evening & for some days afterwards. An absolutely fabulous performance which had everyone in hysterics and set the tempo for the balance of the evening. I would thoroughly recommend Rodney for any & all corporate events that would benefit from a ‘change-up’ and lots of good fun & laughter!
Kevin Leighton – General Manager, Managed Services NSW
CRC Business Solutions, Q1, Regional QLD, 31/10/2013
I’m taking the unusual (for me) action of congratulating you on a superb effort last Thursday evening. I haven’t laughed so much this century. I would have emailed earlier but muscle spasms from excessive laughing have only eased this morning.
Nelson Wockner – Managing Partner, Wockner Lawyers
(The band) ‘Busta Hyman and the Penetrators’ thought the General was absolutely fantastic!
Danielle Webb – Mainstay Business Management
AGL, Country Place Retreat, Regional VIC, 22/10/2013
You were a hit!
Marc Barrington – Head of Energy Services, AGL Energy Limited
Family Drug Support, Winbourne, Sydney, 19/10/2013
Thanks again for a great session.
Tony Trimingham, OAM – CEO
Mirvac, Doltone House, Sydney, 16/10/2013
Diana (Diana Sarcasmo, National Sales & Marketing Director, Development Division), Marie (Marie Hughes PA to Diana Sarcasmo, Development) and I want to say a HUGE thank you for the amazing job you did on Wednesday night.
You made the night!
We could not have achieved such an outstanding result without you pulling it all together.
Golf Management Australia, Royal Sydney Golf Club, Sydney, 2/09/2013
The plan worked a treat, and I will stay in touch for some possible gigs in the future.
Stuart Fraser – Chief Executive Officer, Golf NSW
A pleasure to watch you perform, they were all talking about you (in a good way) all day Tuesday. It would be fun to work together again, hopefully that will happen.
Andrew Daddo – actor, author and television personality
I loved your ‘speech’ to the GMA at Royal Sydney last week. I have to say you had me for a bit, I was thinking finally a politician with some wit! Plenty of mileage was made at Stephen’s expense throughout the week. I also loved the way you handled Jack Newton at the end of the questions. Very professional.
Tony Rodgers – General Manager, Kogarah Golf Club
You were absolutely hilarious. I really enjoyed the brief time that we had together. I will keep you in mind for our event next year in Melbourne. I would like to stay in touch.
Jim G. James – Senior Director, Club and Hospitality Operations, Augusta National Golf Club
NO CHANCE HE’S SERIOUS
If you were deceived by Evan Chance last night, you were in the majority.
Evan (aka comedian Rodney Marks) perpetrated one of the most successful hoaxes in the history of Royal Sydney, posing as the Shadow Federal Minister for Sport, Housing, Immigration and Tourism to a packed room of GMA members.
Some got it quicker than others when Evan spoke of reducing golf courses to nine holes and building bus depots, detention centres and shipping terminals on the compulsorily-acquired land.
Others were not so quick on the uptake.
Stephen Pitt, CEO of Golf Australia, spent half an hour sitting next to Evan lobbying funds for a high performance golf academy.
Heath Wilson from Kingswood spent time cajoling the ‘shadow’ minister too, before confiding in resident scribe, Michael Davis: “You’ve got to get the government on side.”
Davis and his photographic cohort, Michael Court, were not immune to the ruse either. Both keenly embraced Evan’s pre-dinner overture to consider joining the government media team.
GMA Daily News – the conference newsletter
You were fantastic, so we will certainly keep you in mind for future events.
Jessica Riches – Professional Conference Organiser, EMG Events
Roxbury Hotel, Hotel – The Roxbury, Sydney, 1/09/2013
Review written by Lloyd Bradford (Brad) Syke
Rodney Marks is something of a chameleon. Possibly the most personable comic you could ever hope to meet, he is the very picture of respectability, in pinstriped suit, fastidiously-pressed business shirt and old school tie (though look carefully, the traditional-looking emblem thereon may bear a trap). But when the jacket is removed, colourful suspenders betray a hint of mischief and eccentricity. Which means The Farewell Tour of Sydney’s Longest Serving Public Servant should be approached with some caution, lest you become snagged on one of countless barbs, or fall into another of the traps he almost compulsively sets. This is to be expected, because Marks is a professional practical joker.
Any lengthy address by a senior public servant in the context of The Roxbury Hotel, in Glebe, on a Sunday afternoon, has to come under scrutiny and suspicion as a hoax. But the genius of Rodney Marks, MBA (Master of Bullshit Artistry), is that his comic monologue, to the unsuspecting or uninitiated, may not be immediately recognised as such. After all, he embraces all the buzzwords that would make him sound the part. He looks the part. And his sober demeanour does nothing to dispel one’s reflexive credulity. The address is even flooded by an apparently earnest Q & A. Under the skin, though, his Farewell Tour ‘is, as you might imagine, a clarification, elucidation, explanation and illumination of waffle, piffle, double-talk and bureaucratic nonsense’. So steeped are we in such, however, so bombarded by evasive, non-specific polliewaffle, we become susceptible to falling, haplessly, hopelessly and helplessly, into unwitting, sympathetic complicity with his ‘self-referential parody and self-deprecating satire’, which are ‘underemployed and so is Rodney, hence this season’. Our compliance constitutes the comic elegance. Even having realised what we’re in for and up against, we must remain, at all times, vigilant, so as not to have the parody do a one-eighty and bite us on the face.
If you’ve ever been to a convention, conference, congress, colloquium, seminar, tutorial, brainstorm, workshop or breakout session, you’ll have something to laugh at, somewhere between the mission and vision statements, white papers, what-have-you. Marks covers all this ground. In his public service persona, he’s a man of many words. Most, utterly and intrinsically meaningless which, of course, is as it should be. Much time is spent on linguistic assessment and analysis; because semantics matter.
As a child, I had the Professor Branestawm books. One of the good professor’s revolutionary theories, as best I recall, was that if you go double your speed travelling between points A & B and keep doubling it, pretty soon you’ll get to B at precisely the same time you left A and, should you go even faster, you’ll get to your destination before you even left for the same internal logic seems to apply when Marks appeals to us, as follows. ‘Perhaps if I talk for five minutes and you listen for five, we might both finish at about the same time. If you finish listening before I finish speaking, perhaps just sit quietly and think privately to yourself until I catch up; it would be most appreciated.’
And, of course, Marks is every bit as clever as Branestawm. By way of but one example, he’s been able to put into a system he’s developed the framework of a structure for the activities he describes. Well, something like that. We ‘free radicals’ can’t be expected to penetrate such sophisticated modelling at first byte. Much of the modelling, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, proceeds from a semiotic and pragmatic viewpoint, as well it should. I mean, is there any other way of looking at it?
What’s more, when Marks shares something (as he’s only too pleased to do, being nothing if not generous with his knowledge, such as it is) off-the-record, he does so in the utmost confidence, moving the meeting into camera, so that what goes on is as discreet as it would be if it took place under a cone of silence. In the era of Assange, Manning, Snowden and wholesale identity theft (which, at least, is cheaper than retail), it’s damn reassuring.
Just as a car that yes like greased lightning is likely to be automatic, systematic and hyrdromatic, Marks’ thinking system, ‘based as it is on systems thinking, isn’t so much circumlocutory, annular, or radial, as systemic and, ultimately, cyclic; albeit in a roundabout sort of way’. In terms of process, I’m sure you’ll be as relieved to learn, as I was, that ‘the system itself is part of its own feedback loop’, somewhat akin to ‘the snake in Taoist philosophy, impossibly swallowing its own tail’. Inputs are input as input and then, as throughput, transformed, cunningly, into output, which is then measured; ‘initially, qualitatively and, ultimately, quantitatively, against a plethora of hierarchies, an aggregation of continua and a collection of assessment criteria’, before being put back into the system as refined input.
Marks even deigns to discuss the emerging popularity of research into the subject of deferred gratification, but promises ‘more of that later’.
The co-writer (with his son, Benjamin) and performer is best summed-up, methinks, in his own words. ‘Rodney performs mostly at business events for the corporate, government and non-profit sectors, so this is a rare opportunity to see him expose himself in public’. Except, in truth, he lays bare much more. As a result, I’m a Marksist.
‘Farewell Tour of Sydney’s Longest Serving Public Servant’
Rodney Marks and Benjamin Marks
Venue: The Roxbury Hotel | 182 St Johns Rd, Glebe, NSW
Reference: The Farewell Tour of Sydney’s Longest Serving Public Servant | Rodney Marks. 2013. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.australianstage.com.au/201309106521/reviews/sydney/the-farewell-tour-of-sydney-s-longest-serving-public-servant-%7C-rodney-marks.html. [Accessed 15 September 2013]
Rotary – Sydney CBD, Menzies – All Seasons Premier, Sydney, 19/08/2013
Last night was such fun, thank you for the laughs it made my day. I’ll be recommending you!
Yve Lavine – Committee Member
ClubsNSW, Dockside, Cockle Bay, Sydney, 17/07/2013
It was great to work with you. I know the audience enjoyed it too.
Samantha Engel – Event Coordinator, Member Services & Marketing
Private function – Bar Mitzvah, Guy Suttner, Bonnie Doon Golf Club, Sydney, 23/06/2013
People have been reporting back they found Sunday evening very refreshing, and that they enjoyed very much your portion of it.
Immanuel Suttner, father of the bar-mitzvah boy
People loved your jokes and thought you were a hired proffessional (sic). Which you kind of are. This can only mean that you are very good at your job.
Guy Suttner, bar-mitzvah boy
Adjudicate Today, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, 31/05/2013
People loved the hoax. We really had them going in the beginning.
Bob Gaussen – Managing Director
Svitzer, Radisson Hotel, Chinatown, Sydney, Sydney, 23/05/2013
We enjoyed your performance.
Mark Cox – Director, Human Resources
It was a privilege to watch you work.
Tony Latimer – Master Executive Coach and the conference’s facilitator
Leaders’ Soundbite Breakfast, The Royce Hotel, Melbourne, 22/05/2013
I loved your bit at Ricky’s breakfast.
Dr Jack Jacoby
It was so much fun and everyone really enjoyed your presentation. A couple of people didn’t even realize at the end you were a hoax (including) my poor daughter who gave me grief afterwards!
Ricky Nowak – Founder/Director
CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining, Energy Union), Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Regional NSW, 18/04/2013
The way you managed to take on the role of Phil reinforces just how clever you are even though that is a bit scary. I would have no problem recommending you for any comedian role and will definitely keep you in mind.
Lorraine Usher – District Secretary, NSW Energy District, CFMEU
Domain Principal Group, Royal Pines, Regional Qld, 22/03/2013
Overall grading: excellent. An ultimate professional. Such detailed background work undertaken. Everyone was fooled and thought the act was very clever. Rodney was a pleasure to work with.
Sheridan Woodcroft – Executive Assistant to Managing Director
Emma Azzopardi – ICMI Speakers & Entertainers
Rosanna La Martina, Managing Consultant – ICMI Speakers & Entertainers
Catholic Care, Parliament House, New South Wales, Sydney, 18/03/2013
The afternoon was a great success and I have some great feedback on your piece.
Bernard Boerma – CEO
Association of Australasian Diesel Specialists, Marriott Gold Coast, Regional Qld, 17/03/2013
You did a great job, and it lightened the morning’s formalities – my client was very happy with your performance. It was a great way to finish off the conference.
Daniel Evans – Event Manager, The Association Specialists
SGA Property, Ivy, Sydney, 6/03/2013
Thank you for a wonderful night – your team input made the night go swimmingly and gave the party goers something different and something to talk about. The few that I have seen, ( so early this morning) have all mentioned your great show and interviews way before the beer and Wagu burgers.
It has been great fun and so easy to work with you all.
Keep up the good work.
Roger Webster – Non Executive Director
Barwon Water, Deakin University Management Centre, Regional Vic, 21/02/2013
Enjoyed it thoroughly. Great to see our Board do something different, and great feedback on your performance from those I’ve seen since.
Seamus Butcher – Manager Corporate Strategy and Regulation
Australasian Humour Studies Network, University of Newcastle, Regional NSW, 7/02/2013
Next time you see Hugh Moore tell him that I now have to stifle a smile every time I use the word ‘system’. “A thinking system built upon systems thinking” – Damn, you’ve just written my PhD!
Michael Meany, Conference Co-convenor and Senior Lecturer, School of Design, Communication and Information Technology, Faculty of Science and IT, University of Newcastle
Michael Ewans – Conference Co-convenor and Conjoint Professor of Drama, University of Newcastle
Great Synagogue, Great Synagogue, Sydney, 1/02/2013
Many thanks for joining in at such short notice as a compere and moderator for our Law Service Dinner. At least half of the guests have not yet filed suit and some of the judges have even confided that they agree with your assessment of many practitioners!
The feedback we have had on the evening has been very positive and your role in keeping it warm and on track was invaluable.
With all best wishes and looking forward to future collaboration,
Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence – Chief Minister, The Great Synagogue, Sydney
Western Sydney Business Connection, WatervieW in Bicentennial Park, Sydney, 7/12/2012
“Dr Phil”: Great work yesterday. Much good feedback and some are still scratching their heads – making it even funnier. I suspect the poor AV guy is seeking therapy.
Whitney Rousham – President
Hilarious session at lunch today Rodney … thank you.
Anthony Moss – Deputy Chair, Sydney Hills Business Chamber
Fantastic work. Just wanted to thank you for a highly entertaining lunch at the Waterview today you certainly fooled our table. I’ll certainly keep you in mind as I quite often require talent for our clients.
Jerome Ballard – Sales Manager, ANZ Stadium
Donington, Restaurant – Italian Village, Sydney, 6/12/2012
Everyone is still laughing about your keynote.
Jane Paech – Business Operations Manager
What an intervention! After your speech on Thursday night, the next day was spent by most of the participants convincing each other they really did smell a rat! Yet all agreed that you had them completely fooled, even some of our most experienced and worldly wise were completely taken in. What a triumph! Personally, I shan’t forget General Ariel Lieder in a hurry.
There is no doubt that the 10.30 pm billing on the Thursday evening was the correct slot as your speech and thoughts capped off a most enjoyable evening, and gave our celebrations a wonderful climax.
Monica and I were, as always, delighted to spend time with you, even if it meant that we had to play our part in the subterfuge! Monica certainly enjoyed it as it appealed to her wicked sense of humour and love for drama.
Very many thanks from us all. It was a pleasure to work with you, as always, and you can be assured that you left with our group a lasting impression and a wonderful memory.
Geoff Officer – Managing Director
Fairfax Holdings, Offices of Google, Sydney, 26/11/2012
Everyone absolutely loved last night’s speech. Most (but not all) admitted to the penny not dropping until about 15/20 minutes into proceedings. I thought that if anyone twigged as to your status yesterday, it would have been Tim Mannes, who was on your table … but you even had him fooled (apart from a couple of instances where he sincerely doubted that you knew what you were talking about!!)
An Oscar-winning performance, and I hope we cross paths again some day
Lenore McCotter – EA to Chief Executive & Managing Director
You were hilarious. I thought it was great, and (CEO Greg) Hywood said you actually went easy on us…although Allan Browne might debate that 🙂 I’ll look forward to catching you again
Jack Matthews – CEO, Metroplitan Media
Your “McKinsey” performance was terrific. We were still talking about it the next day
Margaret Easterbrook – Editor, The Saturday Age
Private function – wedding, Liliya Dutch and Tim Donahoo, Northbridge Golf Club, Sydney, 25/11/2012
It was a great day and thanks to you for adding to the occasion. Many commented on how well you ran the show and your ability to string words together so cleverly
Tim Donahoo – the Groom
State Emergency Service Volunteers Association NSW, Bankstown Sports Club, Sydney, 24/11/2012
I really enjoyed your presentation . . . I haven’t laughed that much in ages and was trying to hold it back, but then ended up laughing so much I was crying. Thanks for the laugh and fun
Therese Cook – Executive Officer
Thanks again for brining suych a perfect “end-note” to our conference! Love you work
Camille Valvo – Master of Ceremonies, www.emcee.com.au
Rotary – Chatswood, Roseville Returned Servicemen’s Memorial Club, Sydney, 7/11/2012
We had all been had . . . Every gullible one of us but none more so than those who rose to their feet and in asking a question showed that they had be taken in: hook , line and sinker! It was a most entertaining evening.
Wayne Kearns – Past President
Thank you to Con deWitt for his wonderful Yes Minister presentation where he said an awful lot about absolutely nothing and then shared some more.
Michael MacQuillan – Rotary newsletter editor
That was great fun last evening. You had them in on the act, but also managed to weave in some v funny pointers to the art of speech writing. The Q&A was especially a laugh . . . I’m stilled being ribbed for this great hoax!
Richard Gilbert – guest speaker liaison
Gentec, Offices of Gentec, Sydney, 25/10/2012
. . . it was a great night . . . You did a good job relaxing the group.
George Joukhadar, Founding Managing Director
SydneySiders Express – Men’s Barbershop Chorus, Abbotsleigh School, Sydney, 20/10/2012
Very polished, a true pro, let him off the leash next time; he’s a great performer.
Written feedback received by John Unsworth – Concert Committee Chairman
Van Leeuwen Pipe & Tube, Crowne Plaza Norwest, Sydney, 24/09/2012
It was such a fantastic performance that I’m sure all participants will remember for many years to come!
Katherine Cole – Executive Assistant
Department of Defence, Harry’s Bar, Honiara, 14/09/2012
We have just returned from the Solomon Islands. Thank you to Tori Darke, Tom Diesel & The Girl, Mick Neven, Gary Eck & Rodney Marks for two awesome performances over last weekend
Mark Langley – Artist Liaison Officer, Department of Defence
Private function – 70th birthday, Glen Bowden, Milton Park Country House Hotel, Regional NSW, 8/09/2012
Your performance was very successful on Saturday night and many of the guests were taken in … even the ones who then remembered seeing you on another occasion. Thank you, it certainly added to a most successful evening.
Veterinary Manufacturers & Distributors Association, Lauriston House, Sydney, 16/08/2012
Thank you very much for a highly successful evening. Very good feedback coming in already! Sally was taken in, hook line & sinker and very much appreciated the ‘flea colony’ plug
Alan Pyefinch – VMDA organiser
Rotary – North Sydney, North Sydney Leagues Club, Sydney, 2/08/2012
Nothing short of brilliant.
Brendan Walsh – Program Director & Paul Harris Fellow
North Sydney Boys’ High School, Luna Park, Sydney, 28/07/2012
Master of ceremonies Rodney Marks (class of 1975) ran proceedings smoothly with his witty observations and introductions that kept the audience engaged and entertained.
Tim Donahoo – President, Old Falconians’ Union (the School’s alumni association)
AUC (Apple Universities Consortium) X World, Imax Star Room, Sydney, 4/07/2012
Mate it was a pleasure working with you tonight. Awesome feedback from the client and the guests – I am really chuffed with the event and without embarrassing you, I was privileged to be working with you professionally. … A great gig tonight, I was in awe and I was so pleased to see you own that room and leave them pleased to be so owned!
Steve Hoskins – comedy MC
Independent Education Union, Mercure Sydney, Sydney, 22/06/2012
I want to point out your comedic mastery. Thanks for being part of our conference and starting us off with such tremendous intellectual fire.
Daniel Long – Organiser, IEU
Your session was a lot of fun.
Tara de Boehmler – Communications, IEU
Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE, Regional QLD, 15/03/2012
Grand performance, congratulations!
Greg Johnson – Chief Executive Officer, Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce & Industry
… … … … …
I’m an Australian comedian, comedy hoax speaker and corporate impostor. I present comic hoax keynotes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.
Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.
For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.