Northern Irish comedian, actor, television and radio presenter and all round funnyman Paddy Kielty is making his long awaited return to stand up comedy.
Mr. Kielty, who by his own modest omission is Dundrum’s greatest comedy export, is perhaps Ireland’s most successful comedy export, he is certainly working hard to lay claim to that title. “Well I’m doing a lot of press so hopefully by the end of the week everyone will be sick of hearing me,” he laughed.
The press interest is understandable, the actor, presenter and comedian has just returned to stand up comedy after a hiatus of six years. In that time he has toured Ireland and the UK with one man play ‘Stones in His Pockets’ by Marie Jones, presented among other TV shows Total Wipeout and Stand up for the Week and several BBC Radio 2 shows as a stand in.
“Well BBC Radio 2 is just like an exclusive golf club you have to wait until someone dies before you can be fully accepted as a member,” laughs Kielty.
The question then is why now?
“Going back to stand up is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so last year I started writing and doing a few warm up gigs in comedy clubs.”
It is common knowledge that Kielty’s comedy career was kickstarted at The Empire in Belfast and The Delacroix in Derry.
“Everyone on the circuit remembers playing the Del. I meet people later in my career and each and everyone of them has a story about The Del. There was a lot of English comedians coming over and they were quite nervous. They all jumped at the sound of the first breaking glass but they always ended up having a great time. That’s what Derry people are great at, telling people why Derry is the best place in the world.
“This is part of the reason I’ve called the show ‘Home.’ I’m playing in the places I feel most comfortable, Derry and Belfast. It is the type of thing I’ve always wanted to do and if it goes well I might book some shows in England and call them ‘Away.’”
Kielty says part of the reason he hasn’t made it back on to stage was because: “I quite like travelling around the world and seeing how the rest of the world view us and how the rest of the world compares to our little island. I called the show home but it’s not about home in the Michael McIntyre sense, it isn’t about what cutlery goes where in the drawer. I think home is a state of mind. It is where you are happiest. I can always say that Ireland is where I’m happiest. I never did call England home, just yesterday a friend from England phoned me, I told her I was home and she said ‘I’m at your door, you’re not.’
“Despite having lived there for years Ireland is home. I’ve always felt it important to keep a home here. This is where I feel most comfortable and also, where the audience will judge me most harshly.
“It is a good yard stick, a touch stone as Irish people will come and see me thinking; “Right so you think you’re still funny then...”
“It is that challenge which keeps the comedian coming back to live stand up.
“Stand up is always a challenge, any comedian who tells you different is lying.
“No matter how good you are there is always someone in Ireland prepared to say ‘You’re not as good as you used to be’ but at least they do so to your face.”
It is for this reason that there is some trepidation in Kielty’s return to the comedy circuit.
“I can honestly say I wasn’t as nervous walking out on stage on BBCs Live at the Apollo as I will be walking out on stage at the Millennium Forum.
“I’ve less to prove to those people. The English audience know me from the TV but Irish audiences know I was a stand up comedian first and foremost. It is the power and danger of nostalgia, ‘Is he as funny as we remember?’”
The audience at the Millennium Forum on Friday and Saturday April 6 and 7 will certainly hope so.
Tickets from the Forum box office on 71 264455.