'When it comes to investing, I'm the drunk heckler yelling at the stockmarket'


Tracksuit-wearing Sydney-based comedian Daniel Muggleton found the paperwork too hard for JobKeeper last year, so he kept busy with The Running Joke - a comedy club that has gone online during lockdowns. He also hosted the Nowhere Comedy Club, an online comedy event based in the US.

Thriving on the live aspect of comedy, he mostly performs with a live audience, supplementing his career with a bit of radio and some copywriting for a mate. Comedy became his full-time gig in 2017, although he studied law at the behest of his parents before turning to stand-up. Muggleton claims he's probably more honest on stage than off, and he's never lost to a heckler.

He says his best possible outcome from COVID will be his marriage continuing, neither parent dying, and Adidas bringing out tracksuits in new colours - they currently only have black and red available here, he says.

daniel muggleton the running joke comedy club adidas tracksuit

What was your first job?

I think technically I don't think it counts because I didn't get paid, I worked one shift at Oporto's in Burwood Westfield food court, and I never got called again. It's the only time I've ever been ghosted in my life. It's like the shift didn't happen.

Then I worked in a bottle shop once school ended. I realise there's a thread of alcoholism in every job I've had - bottleshop, bartender, pub trivia host and stand-up comedian.

What's the best money advice you've received?

I had to be begged by many friends to get an accountant.

Jeff Drake and Samira Ali were begging me because they were like, "How much money have you earned, have you done a tax return?" And I said, "Not for a bit, but nobody seems to have noticed so I don't think it's a problem."

They begged - "for the love of God, get someone else, you're not going to do this, it's beyond you."

What's the best investment decision you've made?

This was made not by me but by my father. He loves wine. He bought the original vintage of Penfolds Grange 1951 (that was the year his dad was born). It was bought in my name for an investment; it was $17,000 when he bought it and I thought it was too much money.

He then sold it recently for a significantly higher sum. It was the best investment I'd ever made but I had nothing to do with it.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

Pursuing a career in the arts. It's horrific. Don't do it. Nobody wants to pay us.

Any other profession people feel comfortable paying - people will pay $4.10 for a coffee and that's not even a large, just a regular, and that's acceptable.

But I'm like, "Do you want to pay $15 for an hour of comedy?" and they just say, "No, you suck, I'm going to Netflix."

I like doing it. I don't like doing anything else. I work a lot as a comedian. I work hard and I work long hours. It doesn't feel bad that I work that hard because I like the result.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

Apparently there's this thing called cryptocurrency - it's kind of like this online currency that we invented initially for doing arms deals and buying marijuana but now it's become quite lucrative.

But I don't know what to put it in and there's a lot of people who know a lot better than me, so to put money into anything, I'm the schmuck. I was thinking about buying dogecoin - I'm an idiot.

On stage with a heckler I'm in charge, I know what's going on better than they do, but with investing, I'm the heckler drunkenly yelling at the stockmarket, "Why am I poor? I don't want to be poor anymore!"

What do you like to splurge on?

I'm pretty boring in that I tend to put any extra dollars towards buying the best version of any tech I need to upgrade my home recording studio.

Australia doesn't have enough Adidas Originals tracksuits for me to splurge on them (and I get to write them off on tax anyway, so I don't think that counts?).

Last year I bought my wife a pair of sneakers that were expensive enough to warrant their own 'story' tab on the company's website - is that more fun?

What would you do if you only had $50 left in the bank?

I have had that in the UK previously.

You buy a train ticket to your next gig, you buy a coffee and a sandwich, and hope that someone gives you drink vouchers while doing the gig and then you wait for someone to pay your invoice and it always takes longer than it should.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

Yeah, I think so because I'm an only child so by default I'll be left an inheritance and I think it would be a bit rude to dip into it all.

Is there anything that's funny about money to you?

I find it really funny when rich comedians pretend they don't have money. On stage they're like some poor person and then they go in their jet to their next gig.

Would you like to see any changes with the way people look at money post-COVID?

I think everyone settled down a bit in terms of buying stuff.

They're saying they don't need much, we just need to be able to go outside, but you've got to hate that in a pandemic - the worst year in human history - that rich people got really, really, really rich.

Rich people had enough time to accumulate enough wealth to go into space where there is no pandemic - that sucks. What do you need $130 billion dollars for?

Finish this sentence: money makes...

... no impact on the simple fact I'll never be able to afford a house in Sydney.

Buy tickets to The Running Joke's online comedy show

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.