Somany acts, so little time. Tony Clayton-Lea onwho to catch at the Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway
We know O’Hanlon as the man behind one of the most-loved and oft-quoted characters in contemporary comedy. But there’s so much more to the Co Monaghan-born comedian/actor than Fr Dougal McGuire. O’Hanlon’s stand-up is astute and imaginative, and never takes the route of cheap digs or easy laughs. Go see him before he becomes too enmeshed in UK television shows such as the Channel 4 drama Cucumber (the latest TV project from Doctor Who/Queer as Folk writer Russell T Davies) and Sky’s comedy show, After Hours (directed by Craig Cash, of Royle Family fame).
Salford’s Cooper Clarke has been one of the die-hards on the UK comedy scene for almost 40 years. When he first started, back in the pre-punk days of the mid-’70s, he was viewed as the perfect fit for the shabby oddness of the times. His career, as such, has witnessed peaks and troughs, but over the past 15 years he has experienced the polar opposite of indifference. Now 65, Cooper Clarke still plays a mean pinball, and he continues to write funny poems and deliver sparkling one-liners. As the man himself has said, “I still can’t imagine life without me being in it.”
Cage rattler? Comedy agent provocateur? Say hello to David McSavage (aka David Andrews Jr), a man for whom very few topics are off the agenda. McSavage began his comedic life as a street performer. Many of us recall him cracking jokes we didn’t always understand on Dublin’s Grafton Street, selling copies of his DVDs whilst semi-naked (he got arrested for that, by the way). Latterly, however, a more appropriately attired McSavage has taken to television to broadcast his singular talents. He can be very, very funny, but we know some people who view his skills at twisting the comedic knife as far too uncomfortable for them.
What must it be like for a once-arena-performing comedian to tread the boards again years after, albeit on much smaller stages? This English comic has been there. Now he’s back, slightly older, greyer, wider and, presumably, wiser. Bringing his acclaimed Fame: Not the Musical solo show to Gal-
McSavage can be very, very funny, but we know some people who view his skills at twisting the comedic knife as far too uncomfortable for them
way, Baddiel ponders on the notions of what was for him (and his 1990s touring partner, Rob Newman) the once certifiable rock’n’roll lifestyle of tour buses, roadies, tiaras, tantrums and groupies. In that order, pretty much.
One of comedy’s smartest and busiest writers and performers, Rich Hall – Virginia, USA-born, currently living in London – has the honour of being the inspiration for the character of Moe Szysiak in The Simpsons. Not only that, but his comic creation of Otis Lee Crenshaw (a fictitious uncle, dissolute convict and a country music singer) highlights a level of harsh comedy that Hall himself possibly couldn’t get away with. Which means what, precisely? Sharp intakes of breath alternating with fits of laughter, that’s what.
He likes a challenge, does Des Bishop, born in New York some 38 years ago, and now more Irish than the Irish themselves (well, almost). Over the past 10 years Bishop has used his talents for comedy scenarios as much as social experiments, from 2004’s
Des Bishop Work Experience to his latest socio-comic wheeze,
Breaking China (wherein Des, having spent a year in China, returns home to tell us all about his adventures). Bishop imparts information with honesty and insight. He’s never been one for the lowest common denominator, either – we like that.
“Comedy hip-hop” may not be the most accurate way to describe Limerick’s Rubberbandits. But if you can find something more appropriate, be my guest. Describing The Rubberbandits as “a trio carved from the funny bone of Ireland” (via the Scotsman) isn’t any better. So perhaps the best advice is simply to sit back and allow this bunch’s brand of comic/satiric songs (sample titles include I Wanna Fight Your Father, Liar Liar Danny Dwyer and We Need a Black Man) to hit you on the head and run away before you can catch them.
‘Never one to shy away from controversy’ might be considered the stereotypical opening words to a profile of many a comedian, but we mean it when we’re describing Simon Amstell. His acerbic worldview first came to light when he co-hosted the Channel 4 music show Popworld, (2000-2006), and continued throughout his hosting of Never Mind the Buzzcocks until 2009. It is as a stand-up comedian, however, that Amstell really shines. Expect, then, brilliantly funny and often provocative insights into his dysfunctional self.
Rich pickings One of comedy’s smartest and busiest writers and performers, Rich Hall