From standup comedian to auctioneer extraordinaire 

Profile headshot of Apollo Auctions

18 Jul, 2023

By Apollo Auctions

Auctioneers often have varied pathways into the profession, but few have been quite as unique as Lisa McKay.

That’s because over the years she has been a French antiques dealer, a stand-up comedian, bridal dress sales rep, a cabaret performer, and even an Elvis impersonator at a comedy club.

Today, though, Lisa is a successful sales agent with Atlas in Brisbane’s inner south and is Apollo Auctions newest auctioneer.

Starting real estate in 2011, it’s no stretch to say that Lisa had a fascinating background before she realised that real estate, and auctioneering in particular, combined all of her passions into one career.

Brisbane born and bred, Lisa’s love of performing took shape when she worked at a comedy club in Brisbane while studying fashion marketing at university. Her main characters at the time were none other than Elvis Presley and Queen Elizabeth II.

During that time she also became a standup comedian, in part because a short-lived boyfriend (as it turned out) told her women couldn’t be funny.

“He basically turned around to me and he said, ‘Lisa, women aren’t really funny, especially, if they’re a little bit attractive. They’re not really very funny.’ So, that was like a red rag to a bull,” she recalls with a laugh now.

While living in the UK with her then-husband, the pair started an online French antiques business that would prove to be very successful over the years – until the day, when deciding whether to continue with the business after relocating back to Brisbane, their website was taken over by the Nigerian Cyber Army. 

“I opened the website one day and it said, “You’ve been taken over by the Nigerian Cyber Army’, so, the decision was made for us to close the business,” she says.

A career in real estate beckoned, with Lisa moving from admin to sales, to auctioneering over her 12-plus year career.

Having studied interior design while overseas as well, real estate was always a sector that had appealed to her over the years and, as an auctioneer, allowed her to utilise her love of performing as well.

Lisa says her main goals when helping vendor clients is to make the sales and auction processes as stress-free as possible – especially for singles and couples who may be going through a relationship breakdown.

“I try to keep it really calm because it’s can be a very stressful situation. I seem to get quite a few elderly people and single women who are going through a divorce. Often, they haven’t done all this by themselves before,” she says.

“I feel that I bring my performing and real estate experiences together to not only help buyers and sellers, but also the agents as well.

“There’s definitely performance in an auction and I can also make people laugh, which helps to break the tension and diffuse a lot of stress.”

Lisa says she was motivated to join the Apollo Auctions team to improve her own auction practice but also because she long been a fan of the agency.

“I really respect Justin and how he works,” she says.

“Apollo has such a great foundation. They’ve got really good models to give auctioneers the tools we need to be ready for, not only auctioning, but also speaking to agents about why they should consider auctions.

“It’s also the little things, because I watched an auction that Justin did, and it wasn’t an expensive property or anything like that. One person bid $100, and Justin gave him the same respect as if it had been a $100,000 bid. Everyone should be treated with respect and Justin does that.”

Oh and before we finish what is surely one of the most fabulous pathways into real estate ever recorded, Lisa has also created a cabaret persona – Mercedes DuLuca Jones – who she says is a mix of Mrs Bucket from Keeping up Appearances, Patsy from Ab Fab, and Gina from the Real Housewives of Melbourne and, clearly, is available for charity auctions as is Lisa, too.