Life On The Fringe? Not for comedy genius Neil

NOT many people can say they met Naked Leader founder David Taylor while they were busy being somebody else.

Neil Mullarkey
Neil Mullarkey

Well, one of the founder members of record-breaking improv troupe, London’s Comedy Store Players, Neil Mullarkey certainly can.

Neil was being his hilarious alter ego, the Self Help & Management Guru L. Vaughan Spencer – The Gangsta Motivator.

This quirky character has earned rave reviews (“Borat meets The Office” SUNDAY TIMES, “Brilliantly breathless raps, twisting language until the laughs cascade”, EVENING STANDARD), while his show ‘Don’t be Needy be Succeedy’ won the Fringe Report Award for Best Satire at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002.

Neil’s other credits include Whose Line Is it Anyway, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, QI, Have I Got News For You and two Austin Powers movies.

Neil has largely moved away from showbiz, focusing now on his leadership development practice, bringing the skills of theatre and especially improvisation to some of the world’s biggest organisations, including Microsoft, Saatchi & Saatchi, Unilever, UK Sport, Ernst & Young and Vodafone.

His communication and creativity work has taken him to China, India, USA, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Norway, France, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, Turkey, Ghana and, um, the Isle of Man. He trained in executive coaching at Ashridge Business School. He is a regular speaker at the London Business Forum and a Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School, City University. His forthcoming book on Soft Skills (or should we say People Skills – or something else, even?) will be published in October 2017.

You can catch him improvising with Comedy Store Players on many a Wednesday or a Sunday. And Mullarkey is his real name.

His top three tips in business and beyond? Simple.

They are to Listen, Smile and Keep Learning – something he has managed to do throughout his successful career.

Neil recalls his meeting with David: ‘I was given David’s first book and really enjoyed it. I spoke at a tech conference (as my satirical alter ego, L. Vaughan Spencer) at Reading Football Club.

‘David was on during the day. He was funny, he had a clear and simple message and it made sense. Some years later, I met him in real life at a London Business Forum event and felt a connection once again. Then he volunteered to be one of my scratch improv team for an LBF charity event at the Comedy Store. He listened, he learned quickly and he shone on the night. Now I read his weekly emails and smile and think, “I wish I’d said that”.

He is teaching an open workshop (something he rarely does) at Westminster Business School on March 5 next year.

His association with Naked Leader is a rewarding one for David, who said: ‘Neil has taught me so much – to trust my own intuition, how to move a culture from ‘yes, but’ to ‘yes, and’, plus above all the confidence to do improvisation at the Comedy Store in London. The single best training and experience, ever. Thank you Neil.’


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