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Long Live The Hing: Michael Hing Reveals His Ultimate Advice For Aspiring Comedians

Watch Michael Hing's stand-up special 'Long Live The Hing' on 10 Play.

Speaking to 10 Play over the phone, Hing recounted one of the first jokes he ever wrote. "It's so f**king bad," he said, describing the bit as "an obtuse mashup of 1940s magicians and the story of King Solomon cutting a baby in half".

"There's no universe where people would enjoy hearing that joke, and yet I remember writing it as a 19-year-old being like, this is it! This is what comedy is," he laughed.

For anyone trying to get into comedy, Hing said his biggest piece of advice is quite simply: "You will be f**king terrible at this for three years".

"Even if you get a couple of laughs and you think you're doing well -- you're bad and you'll be bad for three years," he continued. "You have to come to terms with the fact that this thing you love -- stand-up comedy -- that you've always wanted to do, you will actually be really bad at, and for a minimum of three years."

Having performed stand-up around the world, Hing is now one of the panellists on The Project, has hosted a handful of shows and podcasts, and recently wrapped up his time hosting the Triple J show alongside co-host Lewis Hobba, Hobba and Hing.

"Wrapping up the radio show was a really emotional time, it was such a big part of my life for three and a half years," he said, adding, "It was my life for three and a half years."

Last month he also married his partner after they had been together for nine years, but the act of proposing was somewhat of a mission -- one he dives into fully in his special, Long Live the Hing, a show he lovingly described as "an hour of jokes and humiliating stories".

From an aggressively amorous acupuncture appointment to the ins and outs of amateur Turkish oil wrestling, a terribly timed bout of food poisoning and inheriting cancelled heirlooms, the show follows Hing as he prepares to pop the question, all the while navigating obstacles like mouthguards or a flooded music festival.

Hing explains that the show takes shape across four days of work-in-progress shows which he affectionately described as an "extremely boring process". He collates any thought he has into a book, records everything and once he's happy with something he'll transcribe it -- leaving approximately ten percent of the show for scheduled spontaneity and connect with the audience.

"For most comedians in Australia you're doing an hour-long show, you're doing it maybe 40 or 50 times -- maybe more for some people. So when audiences heckle you, they're usually not very good heckles and it's just drunk people trying to get involved, but it breaks up the monotony of it," he said.

During COVID, many stand-up comedians had to turn to social media to maintain a connection with audiences, and as they began to share clips of their shows or past performances online, they began to run out of content.

"They didn't want to burn their current material and put it up, so now every comedian films themselves doing crowd work, crowd interactions and puts that up on Instagram and TikTok," Hing explained. "That's fun to watch, but it has fundamentally changed the audience's expectations of what a show is... that has been a really big shift in the art form.

"I'm finding now, more and more, audiences want to get involved. Audiences want to be part of the show and they think that's what you want to do as well as a comedian," he continued. "That's true, I do love doing that, but I've also written jokes that I'd love to tell and I think you'll really enjoy them if you let me tell them!"

Across his many jobs -- from radio to TV to stand-up -- Hing explains he only ever stays in jobs or is attracted to a job that he thinks would be fun to do.

"Following that fun is the thing that has led to all these really cool things I've been able to do, but I think at the end of the day, if I tried to do some of the standup while I was at the desk on The Project people would be like, this is insane," he laughed.

Watch Long Live the Hing on 10 Play, and see more of Hing on The Project.