EP 01 – Hils Jago (Founder of Amused Moose Comedy Clubs)

Ask The Industry Podcast Comments

EP 01 – Hils Jago (Founder of Amused Moose Comedy Clubs)

Total run time: 2 hours 44 minutes.

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About Hils Jago…

Hils Jago has been around comedy since she was 14. A former teacher, she started in comedy helping run her friends clubs. After a few years she founded her own club – Amused Moose (name that because TimeOut used to list clubs in alphabetic order and she wanted hers at the top).

She’s been running the Amused Moose club since 2002. Her empire has expanded into a national comedy competition, a stint as a manager for some acts, producing several Edinburgh shows as well as founding one of the original comedy courses.

Here are a list of the questions we covered… 

Amused Moose Clubs / Comedy Industry Advice

  1. How do you get a spot at Amused Moose?
  2. What happened to my Amused Moose discount card?
  3. Does she believe women can be funny? Does she have a policy of women being on the bill? And what is her opinion of women in comedy is it as bad as some think?
  4. Knowing what she knows now and with all the experience she has..what advice would she have to people starting out in comedy including doing festivals like EdFringe (that isn’t the blinding obvious like.. Gig lots of open mic circuit etc)
  5. Its long been said that this business has a long apprenticeship. In your eyes how long do you think this is?
  6. Do you scout acts yourself? Do you visit other venues or is it purely word of mouth?
  7. What can acts do to raise their profile?
  8. What has made Amused Moose survive while other clubs/brands have gone?
  9. What does the progression ladder at Amused Moose look like? (open spot to paid etc)
  10. What level of interest do you put in a performers social media audience? If they have a large base are you more likely to book them? Or do you not take that into account?
  11. How to start in comedy today vs how you used to start out.
  12. Advertising comedy nights / TimeOut and social media.
  13. What happened to Amused Moose Moonlights and what the future of the clubs looks like.
  14. Her thoughts on pre-show rituals.
  15. Advice for people who want to become comedy writers (not performers).
  16. Advice for people who want to do something on TV (sitcoms / panel shows etc)
  17. Why you should have a 5-year plan.
  18. What’s the minimum your online presence should have?
  19. Why you should never burn a joke.
  20. What Hils does in Edinburgh – (what she goes to see / what she looks out for).
  21. When an agent / producer wants to see you, how do you get them a ticket to a show you’re on?
  22. Where Hils thinks the comedy industry is heading.


  1. What does ‘star quality’ actually mean?
  2. Besides entering the Amused Moose comp, how do newer acts get on the radar for spots at her clubs?
  3. What’s the thinking behind the 60sec competition heat? Do you not think it rules out certain types of acts and puts off decent acts who maybe don’t live in a major city.

Amused Moose Comedy Course – link.

  1. How does a course that she runs today differ from the very first course that she ran? What has she learned along the way?
  2. What are your thoughts on Doug Stanhope’s article entitled “All Comedy Courses Are Scams”
  3. What are her thoughts on the accusations that all comedy courses are a scam and that “funny” cannot be taught?
  4. Why is Logan Murray the tutor?


  1. What would her advice be to someone just starting out?
  2. Someone who’s been going a few years?
  3. Someone who is just breaking into tv?
  4. If you don’t have an agent / management what would be the best way of applying for a spot at one of the Amused Moose clubs? Do you only take acts with management?


  1. How often do you read reviews of acts before booking them?
  2. When you’re in Edinburgh what is your reasoning for going to one show over another?
  3. If you get invited down to someones show, what are the chances you’ll come and watch?


  1. How did she get into comedy?
  2. Who were her favourite comedians growing up..,? And who are her favourite comedians now?
  3. How often does she go to watch comedy for pleasure?
  4. What was the last thing that she went to see that wasn’t in a professional capacity?
  5. What’s her best and worst experience with a producer? ..And what would she recommend a (international) novice producer, towards artists?
  6. Jack Whitehall or Jimmy Carr? Who would she pick to go and see?
  7. Any tips for people who want to get into the non-performing side of the comedy industry?
  8. What is her view on discounts for comedy nights from websites like ‘groupon’ are these damaging the industry or helpful in gaining new audience?
  9. What are the major changes to the industry she has noted since starting Amused Moose?
  10. Do you manage any acts? If not, would you and if not why would you not?
  11. Advice on running your own club?

Some of the comedians / clubs / books mentioned…

Steve Best
Logan Murray – How to be a great stand up (Logan’s book).
Jack WhitehallLive stand up.
Jimmy Carr
Don Ward (Comedy Store)
Mike Wilmot
Scott Capurro
Russell Brand
Mark SteelRunner bean book.
Marcel Lucont
Mark Restuccia
Milton Jones
Chris Head (& comedy course)
Holly Walsh
Mike Leigh
Sally Holloway’s “A Serious Guide To Joke Writing” book.
Barry Ferns (Angel Comedy)
Bob and Jim
Tommy Tiernan
Tom Deacon / Chris Turner 1,000,000 hits on youtube
Stand Up and Deliver (The Amused Moose Comedy Course)
Downstairs at the kings head.
Bill Dare

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Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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