Last year Marlon Davis was crowned FHM Stand-Up Hero. He’s now quit the day job and hit the big-time. As the 2010 search for the UK’s best new comedian hits top gear, could you be our next discovery?

“I’m funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you?” That’s Tommy from Goodfellas talking there, and of course the irony is, he wasn't funny. He'd be a terrible stand-up. Shooting hecklers is not the way to build a fanbase. But you’re funny, aren’t you? You make your friends laugh. So why don’t you put on a man suit and prove it, because for the second year running FHM is holding its world-famous Stand-Up Hero competition, the search for the nation’s funniest new comedian. It’s open to everyone – even complete novices – but with the fine people at ITV 4 and Baby Cow Productions (that’s Steve Coogan’s business, that is) helping us make the competition bigger than ever before, winning is going to be tough. So is it really worth it? We caught up with last year’s winner Marlon Davis to find out…

Marlon, how’s your year been since you won FHM Stand-Up Hero?
It’s been crazy. I’ve got into the bigger clubs, I’ve been overseas and I’ve played at some of the biggest festivals around. I’ve just signed to one of the biggest agencies in the country - they look after Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee and Lee Evans. These are people I’ve looked up to and now I’m on the same roster… I’ve been able to leave my office job, I’ve been on Radio 4, I’ve taped a set that’s going to be on Comedy Central. The competition has helped a lot. I was a comedian, but Stand-Up Hero has put me in the spotlight over night. Comedians are talking about it now, not just because of the money, they've seen what’s happened to me.

And how was the competition itself?
It does get competitive. That’s one of the hardest things, seeing that you’re competing against people you think are really good. When you’re hanging around backstage, you’re talking to people, then you wish them well before they go on, but not too well...

Did you have a killer bit that you think won it for you?
I did a good bit about my mum and dad. I think everyone can relate to it. My strength is my likeability. People can look at me and say, “ know someone just like him”

Have your parents seen you perform?
They’ve seen me a couple of times. My mum saw me once and I died on stage ¬ even she heckled me to get off.

When did you decide you were funny?
It was early, in the playground, I had big buck teeth, which isn’t nice in the playground. So you had to survive, you had to be wittier than them with your comebacks. I saw comedy as something I wanted to do, it was a secret ambition. The parents being parents wanted me to go to university, so I did, then as soon as I was out, I went, “hat’s it, I’m becoming a stand-up,”and my parents said, “What about what you wanted to do?” and I said, “This is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

What advice have you got for this year’s potential heroes?
Comics are quite superstitious. Some people have little things they do before a show ¬ some might have a drink, others like a meal, or maybe – their own space. Me, I wear odd socks, that’s what I do. But the main advice I’d give would be to get yourself a notepad and a dictaphone, try and get five minutes of material. But most importantly, be yourself and make sure you’re having fun.

THINK YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A STAND-UP HERO? ENTER HERE...

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