Last week my year of comedy crossed the pond and I went all international! I said hello Ireland, hello Kilkenny and more specifically hello to the Cat Laughs comedy festival. When I realised the wonderful and beautiful medieval city of Kilkenny (that's mum's shorthand) was in its 21st year of comedy festivities, I thought it would just be rude not to pop in and say hi. Oh, and it also coincided with a trip to see family (I guess you figured mum is from Kilkenny) and a bit of a road trip. The festival runs over the June bank holiday weekend (the Irish one, so don't get confused) but we were just there for Saturday night, so it was exclusively reserved for laughter and a few ciders.
If I'd had my way I would have crammed in around four different sets, but the boyfriend was more measured in his approach and I was told unreservedly that two was more than enough. What he actually said was 'do not book any more for god sake'. Naturally I dutifully agreed to curtail my insatiable comedy appetite. So, down to business. First up was the Ormonde hotel (very nice it was too) with gags provided by Rich Hall, Bernard O'Shea, Maeve Higgins and Fred Cooke. The room was packed and the crowd in a great mood, so we were off to a good start. All the acts were on top form, Cooke kicked off proceedings with guitar in hand, backed up by fellow Irish comedians, O'Shea and Higgins. The gags flew thick and fast, some lost to my ears through my own and others laughter.
I can't deny though, that Rich Hall was the biggest draw of the night for me. His deadpan, hangdog delivery wins me over before he even begins. With his guitar, Trump jokes and some first class audience banter (yes, I have used the word banter), I was mightily impressed.
Obviously, as always happens with comedy gigs, we started late and over ran. That seems to be the general rule of thumb, I haven't once had a gig start or finish on time. This doesn't bother me (the boyfriend on the other hand quietly has kittens whilst glancing at his watch every few seconds.) Lets face it, we both knew it was going to be a tight race to the next venue but to be fair I didn't expect it to be quite as tight as it was.
We had minus three minutes to get to Cleere's on Parliament street. Legged it is an understatement. Clutching our crushed little tourist map in our mitts we raced out of the Ormonde, knocking people flying as went and flew in to Cleere's panting and wildly waving our tickets. No need to worry, they were running late (obviously!) So next up was Glenn Wool, James Acaster, Igor Meerson, Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy. Phew, I was starting to get a bit confused by this point; comedy was beginning to merge. Acaster was excellent, turning the gags on himself and the English sense of pomposity and righteousness. Meerson, a Russian comedian, played his nationality to the hilt and got a good response in return. Home grown lads Murphy and Gildea are accomplished hands and equally had the crowd in stitches, whilst Wool (a Canadian, wild Jack Black) had me laughing and shaking my head simultaneously. A good combo.
When it all eventually wrapped we were hilariously exhausted and stumbled out of the heaving bar, just wanting a warm bed and a nice cup of tea (rock and roll). It was a well accomplished evening so now it was just a case of which way was home.....
Slept at Newpark Hotel