HAVE you heard the one about the actuary who walked into a Glasgow pub? The one who told a record number of jokes in the space of an hour?
That’s exactly what financial firm worker Donald MacLeod did last night – ratlling his way through 580 jokes at the Park Bar in Glasgow.
The 39-year-old from Lewis had to tell at least one gag every six seconds, or at least ten a minute, in order to clinch the title.
And last night he said he was “delighted” at smashing the record, which had previously been held by Not Going Out star Tim Vine. Until last night’s effort, it was held by Australian comic Anthony Lehmann, who had managed to tell 549 gags in 60 minutes.
Mr MacLeod said that the poor quality of his own material – all of which was original – had given him an upper hand over his predecessor. “My secret weapon, the one that gives me an advantage over Tim Vine, is that when he did it, he had to wait for the laughter to subside between jokes”, he said.
Speaking after his big moment, he said: “It went really well, minimal heckling, but minimal laughter as well. It was brilliant, we had a great time.”
Despite specialising in groan-inducing gags, friends, family and colleagues from Scottish Friendly, where he is head actuary, have helped Mr MacLeod raise £9,000 so far for four hospices in the Western Isles.
Mr MacLeod told The Scotsman about his inspiration for the stunt: “Every day for the past two years, I have put a joke on Facebook, usually a terrible joke. A year ago, I went on holiday, and didn’t put anything up for a few days, and when I got back I found all these messages from people complaining about their absence.
“I thought this was interesting, and I wondered what I could do with it, so I gathered together about 300 jokes, terrible ones, and put them into a book, which I sold to raise money for hospices.” A second volume followed last year, but the time and effort it took to compile then sell them pushed Mr MacLeod to look for a more effective way to raise money: “I noticed Tim Vine had held the record and I thought that looked a good wee challenge and a good night out as well, so I decided to give it a go.” Having never taken to the stage as a stand-up before, he decided to group his material by type, rather than as a structured act: “I’ve organised the jokes into similar categories – I’ve got loads of ‘doctor, doctor’ jokes and loads of ‘What do you call a man…?’ ones – which will hopefully help with the remembering, but I had the jokes with me in case I needed a hand.
“But the main thing was trying to raise money for the hospices rather than get my name in the Guinness Book of Records.”
Though no one from Guinness World Records was on hand to count, Mr MacLeod enlisted the help of several friends to time him and count the jokes.
And last night they said he had managed an incredible 580 gags in the allocated time.
However, Mr MacLeod insisted that he will be back studying the actuarial tables today: “I have no ambition to be a stand-up comedian. It’s all in a good cause – it’s not the start of a new career”.