Rory McSwiggan says he wants nothing to do with himself.
That’s probably a bit of a tricky one. But it’s the name of his hilarious stand up show which he’ll be taking to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month.
But the Rory you see on stage is probably a bit different to the one you meet in real life.
By day Rory is one half of R&D Media making videos and websites across the North West, but at night he transforms himself into a funny man gigging across the North West.
His poster for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival says it all: “For thirteen years, Rory McSwiggan has made other people look good as an editor at the back end of showbiz. Now, TV is finished and the confessional YouTube generation have come to the fore. McSwiggan’s a middle class, gay catholic from Northern Ireland who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about self harm, depression and nail art. But he’d still like to make you laugh. He trades his cutting room for a cutting edge in a series of bittersweet yet humorous ruminations, examining the absurdities of technology, war and sweets, bad acting and whether Sophia Loren or Judy Garland had the right idea.”
Hailing from Omagh, Rory first landed in Derry when he was 18, taking a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.
“My parents asked me what job they thought I’d get,” he said. “I think I probably thought I’d end up working in the U.N. or something.”
Life took a different turn however when Rory decided to take a multimedia course in the Nerve Centre.
“I’d never done any performance before but I’d always had an inkling to so some acting,” he said.
“Then I met James King who was doing a community drama in Magee.
“The kind of performance he did meant you could do anything you wanted and that really appealed to me. We met every Saturday morning and did street theatre.
“All sorts of things happened. One day we found a bit of rope and we decided to do a skipping contest outside Foyleside, people would come along and skip and try us give us money but we told them they we just acting. We called ourselves Bag of Tricks.”
Rory moved to London for four years but when he returned to Derry he met up with James again who persuaded him to give the open mic night at Cafe Del Mondo a try.
“I hadn’t done any performance in years,” said Rory. “In action theatre James and I would do this thing which was non stop talking, James and I got together and every week we went to Cafe Del Mondo to do it.
“One night a comedian came along and told us about a night that was starting in the Phoenix. I had been thinking about doing stand up for a while.
“I had bits of jokes written on a word document so I decided to go along and do my few minutes. It was more ‘well rehearsed’ than funny but I got a few laughs.
“Three guys had driven up from Dublin, one of them was the dub Gary Lynch who told me he really liked my stuff.
“Just to get that wee bit of encouragement really spurred me on. The next gig I did was in the studio at the Millennium Forum and I got a few more laughs there. It’s a totally different thing being up on that stage on your own. So different compared to improv.”
Rory’s now a regular on the comic scene.
Heckling has been the big word in Derry following the recent controversy at the Kevin Bridges’ show.
“There are people who are great craic in the pub and they could stand up on a stage and be terrible, but still be great craic in the pub,” said Rory. “There are other people who can do stand up but aren’t great craic in the pub.
“I always think of it like a contract between you and the audience. You are going to stand up and everyone is going to shut their mouths.
“I can understand the reaction of the audience not liking that sort of heckling. Last Monday I was in Belfast and the guy on before me was heckled. There was a woman who had been calling out bits and pieces of rubbish, and eventually she got put out.
“I was raging because I had my heckler put downs ready for her.
“Its not a good idea to do other people’s jokes but heckler put downs are always shared.
“I normally ask their name and slightly patronise the hecklers. One night I mentioned I was from Omagh and a guy shouted to me that Omagh was a s**hole. I asked the guy why it was a s***hole and he told me he was driving in Omagh one day and a pig lorry opened and s*** fell on to his car. Of course that story got another laugh.”
Rory will head to the Fringe in Edinburgh on August 6 with his own show ‘Rory Wants Nothing To Do With Himself.’
And from August 16-22 he’ll perform at the festival with Barbed - James King, Cara Park and Rory Murray where they will do improv, action theatre and music in a cabaret style show.
Rory will hold a preview night of his show next Wednesday night in Sandinos. And Eaman Craig who is also heading to the Fringe will perform his one man play Exit. For more on Rory log on to facebook.com/rorymcswiggancomedian or twitter @roryms