The Cat’s got the cream

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Séa­mas O’Reilly

KILKENNY CAT LAUGHS Ex­panded from pre­vi­ous, more stand-up-fo­cused it­er­a­tions of its past, Kilkenny’s Cat Laugh’s fes­ti­val is now a many headed beast, en­com­pass­ing ev­ery­thing from stand-up and improv, to the­atre, mu­sic, books and cabaret. With hun­dreds of things to catch over the week­end, here’s but a few morsels to get you started.

This year’s bulging bag of belly laughs is stuffed with Ir­ish stand-up tal­ent, with re­cur­ring ap­pear­ances from tra­di­tional ti­tans of Ir­ish com­edy such as Tommy Tier­nan, Dara O Bri­ain and Ja­son Byrne. There they’ll be joined by Colm O’Re­gan, Ais­ling Bea, Jar­lath Re­gan all of whom are lead­ing the line to be­come fel­low fixtures within the na­tion’s com­edy fir­ma­ment. These lo­cal he­roes will, of course, be ably sup­ple­mented by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards such as Phill Jupi­tus, Rich Hall, Adam Hills and Kevin Bridges.

A fes­ti­val de­but comes for hir­sute’n’haughty TJ Miller, an ac­tor and co­me­dian best known for his work on HBO’s Sil­i­con Val­ley. One of the most re­li­ably funny come­dies on TV, Sil­i­con Val­ley is cer­tainly the fun­ni­est of all the ones in which at­trac­tive and charis­matic ac­tors af­fect the traits of awk­ward IT dorks in what is, ef­fec­tively, black­face for nerds.

It’s just been an­nounced he is step­ping away from the show as Eric Bach­mann, the ob­nox­ious char­ac­ter he’s played for the past four years, so those smart­ing from the news will be de­lighted to find that his on-stage per­sona blends most of that char­ac­ter’s charm with a de­cid­edly less smarmy edge.

Mean­while, Satur­day sees Glaswe­gian gas­man Limmy meet the Kilkenny crowd for the first time. Con­sis­tently among the fun­ni­est hu­man be­ings on the planet, the ac­tor, writer and di­rec­tor be­hind Limmy’s Show Daft Wee Sto­ries, and a Twit­ter ac­count that sin­gle­hand­edly jus­ti­fies so­cial me­dia as an art­form, is tour­ing That’s Your Lot, his sec­ond book of short sto­ries. Ex­pect dis­cus­sions, a Q&A, and dra­matic, fully char­ac­terised live read­ings from the book it­self, at the Water­gate the­atre from 8pm.

Fans of mix­ing mu­sic and com­edy are also in for a treat as, hot from tour­ing sta­dia with Ed Sheeran, and belt­ing out tunes to 15,000 salty wastrels in Trafal­gar Square this St Paddy’s Day, Aban­do­man will be bring­ing their su­perla­tively pop­u­lar mu­sic-com­edy-improv bril­liance to sev­eral gigs across the week­end. Fans may also want to save a spot in the diary for The Rub­ber­ban­dits, who have a late show on Fri­day June 2nd. When they first burst onto the scene, few could have imag­ined these shirt­less, bag-headed troubadours with a pen­chant for rap­ping about pills and Wil­lie O’Dea would also have a dou­ble life speak­ing truth to Tubridy, and pur­su­ing their right­ful role as the beat­ing moral heart of modern Ire­land, but so has it come to pass.

While the flabby tedium of the na­tion’s me­dia land­scape gives such a claim the nag­ging scent of faint praise, the truth is any coun­try would de­light in satirists as rau­cously sat­is­fy­ing, and gen­uinely hi­lar­i­ous, as the un­miss­able Blind­boy Boat­club and Mr Chrome. Not for noth­ing, their gig in Or­monde Ho­tel from 11pm will be stand­ing – and leap­ing – only.

Kilkenny Cat Laughs, June 1st - 5th 2017. For more, see th­e­cat­laughs.com

Run­ner­ban­dits, Ais­ling Bea, Dara O Bri­ain and TJ Miller

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