So­many acts, so lit­tle time. Tony Clayton-Lea on­who to catch at the Voda­fone Com­edy Car­ni­val Gal­way

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SPECIAL REPORT -


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).

John Coop­erClarke

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.

The Rub­ber­ban­dits

“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

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