Tear Gas comedy tour

Jake O'Kane
Jake O'Kane

Belfast funnyman Jake O’Kane brings his irreverant sense of humour to the stage of the Alley Theatre in Strabane next Friday, December 2.

His stand-up show, ‘The Tear Gas Tour,’ which he describes as “a work of love”, has grown over the years as the politicians change and Northern Ireland reinvents itself.

The comedian reflects: “Things change all the time. There is a lot more in it than when I started.

“It is just stand up with a backdrop of where I came from, which is North Belfast, and I give everyone from Johnny Adair to Gerry Adams a touch. I try and make one side as annoyed as the other, just so it is fair and balanced.”

In his ‘Tear Gas Comedy Tour’, Jake tells the story of his upbringing on the streets of Belfast, where rioting with police, army and the ‘other’ side was a recreational sport.

Jake’s comedy provides plenty of belly laughs but it also offers unique insights into the corrosive effects of division and sectarianism.

O’Kane still lives in North Belfast, but admits: “It is entirely different now to when I was growing up. I was talking about ‘the army behind pigs’ to a neighbour and his son was trying to picture a soldier behind a sow.

“I knew then I needed pictures for this show and photographer Brendan Murphy’s work had everything I needed. I told him what I was doing and he let me take what I wanted which was more than good of him. All free and gratis so the show is his as well, if it fails,” laughed O’Kane.

Jake O’Kane’s’ Northern Irish tour comes to a close at The Opera House on St. Patrick’s Day next year: “Can you imagine that? They’ll be full, the first 20 minutes will be crowd control and nothing else.”

O’Kane is well trained on the comedy circuit. He was a regular at the Empire Comedy Club for a remarkable 15 years.

“I was never full-time in comedy so I always did my own thing. In that respect I was very fortunate.

“I’m a business man which allows me to say ‘no’ to gigs on a regular basis. I don’t have to worry too much, thanks to my day job.”

O’Kane’s career has blossomed recently with radio and TV appearances on ‘The Blame Game’. In fact O’Kane has just started recording a new series of The Blame Game but adds; “There’s buggar all funny in the papers. I’m looking through them now and don’t see anything, but that’s what they pay us for.

“TV is a gift, I always found it enjoyable, but it didn’t happen overnight. It progresses from a stand up slot to radio to guest spot.

“I’ve said no to a number of things. Some comics say yes to everything but that’s a way to getting egg on your face.”

To put a smile on your face don’t miss Jake O’Kane’s Tear Gas Comedy tour at The Alley Theatre Strabane on Friday December 2.