Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Des Bishop in Dolan's Warehouse tonight - recent interview

DES BISHOP has a cold. Or the flu. One or the other, he’s not sure.
On the phone to plug his latest show, Unbéarlable, Bishop’s health prompts the question as to what stand-up comedians do when they are sick and tired, and just cannot face going on stage to make people laugh.

“Well, it depends. For me, I never completely pretend. If I am really tired and sick, usually an element of that comes into the show, because I like to leave at least 20 percent of the show to the energy that is there on the evening.
I tend to keep things relatively loose in case things happen. But if a crowd is really rowdy and you are sick, you just have to pretend,” laughs the affable Bishop.
Bishop is now one of the foremost comedians in Ireland, thanks largely to a self-imposed, 12-month sojourn to Connemara to learn Irish. This journey was documented for his third television series, In the Name of the Fada, and in his last his stand up show, Tongues - both of which played to record numbers in their respective arenas.
Unbéarlable, is about life after that period. Maybe.
“Truth be told it is a title that has nothing to do with the show really. I thought when I titled it there would be quite a bit of stuff about Irish in it, but actually there is not,” he explains.
“It finishes with about 15 minutes of bad Irish, but it is fairly generic material about my life since the show finished. It was a pretty big experience, so it was natural that there was going to be a follow-on from it, but so much else has happened in my life as well, that it is material like anything else - a bit more stereotypical stand-up.
There is a lot of stuff in the show about intimacy and Irish people's problems therewith - obviously including myself- and a bit about struggling with emotions, but not in a cliched way, I try and explore it a little bit, I'm not trying to freak people out, I'm just hoping people will identify with me.”
Bishop describes Connemara as a “life-changing” experience, one that has refreshed him and given him new perspective on life, and his career. He is leading a charge to change the Irish curriculum being taught in schools, but that is a discussion for another day.
He is refreshed, and ready to entertain the masses with a new show, one that is “gag-heavy”, and allows him to renew his observations on Ireland. But, lest we forget, the native New Yorker has now lived on this isle for 18 years - which allows him the right to do just that.
“Yeah, 18 and a half! At what stage do you get to become somebody who talks about Ireland without the “you know us so well” tag,” laughs Des.
“This show is quite honest, there is probably a lack of honesty in comedy, and I hope people will think my observations are good, whether it is as an external observer or just good observation, I'd like to think people will engage with them in a way that is unique.”
Des Bishop plays in Dolan’s Warehouse tonight and Wednesday - a limited number of tickets remain for Wednesday's show.

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