How to File an Insurance Claim

With the amount of driving your average comedian does, it’s likely that your car may get a bit pranged up at times. Earlier in the year, during that troublesome big freeze, I slid my car into a ditch on the way from my parents house to Carrickmacross.

It didn’t do that much damage, just dented the bumper a bit. I drove around with it for ages, but with the NCT looming (and those bastards fail you if you’ve left the ashtray open) I decided to fix it up. Figuring fuck it, why should I pay when I can claim it off the insurance, I got in touch with my insurance broker. They said making a claim was no problem, and sent me out a claim form to fill out. The usual things needed to be filed out; cost of repairs, time of incident, things like that… and one thing that kinda threw me a bit.

They wanted me to draw a sketch of what had happened.

I rang them to ask about this, and was told it was standard practice when making a claim; draw out a rough sketch of what had occurred. At this stage, I had decided to not bother making the claim, seeing as how it was going to goose my no-claims bonus for the rest of my life.

So this is what I sent them.

Ok, so I left my house...

... It was 2pm on the 10th of January. It was quite frosty!

The blue dotted line indicates my planned route. The red dotted line shows the route I actually took. Oops! What a spill!

Oh crumbs! I've had a fuckin mischief.

Since sending off this sketch, I have not heard from my insurance company.

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32 Counties, 32 Gigs part 2; Dublin

Dublin; now this is where it’s at. Nowhere else in the country has this much opportunity for a new comedian. You can gig every single night of the week; hell, you can do about ten or twelve gigs a week if you’re lucky enough to get the bookings. 32 gigs in 32 counties?  You could probably do 32 gigs in County Dublin alone.
So many gigs, you'll shit yourself

So many gigs, you'll vomit.

With so much comedy available in County Dublin, I’m not going to focus on any one gig in any one venue. Instead, I’ll just give my two cents on what I’ve learned about comedy in Dublin in the short time I’ve been here.

As long as every single person that reads this takes every single thing I type in the exact context intended, I'll be fine!

As long as EVERY SINGLE PERSON that reads this takes EVERY SINGLE LINE in the EXACT context intended, no-one will get upset!

With so many comedy clubs in Dublin city, it’s inevitable that some don’t make it very far. In the two short years I’ve been doing comedy, I count at least a dozen that have folded after a few short months; grand opening, grand closing. This hurts comedians like myself starting out; we need to play as many venues as possible to get an act together. The more that close, the more of us there are fighting for slots elsewhere. But clubs aren’t a community service; they need to make a profit and with the city saturated, that’s going to be tough.  Is there room for so many comedy clubs? I think there is. Clubs are spread out all over the city; it’s not like there was a cluster of comedy clubs and only the strong survived. There were clubs in areas that were highly trafficked, and clubs that were in busy pubs. What it boiled down to was lack of promotion and advertising. Unlike in small country towns where comedy might come to town once a month, there are PLENTY of things to do in Dublin. Cinemas, restaurants, nightclubs… all jostling for punters money.

From where I’m standing, a lot of clubs are losing out due to lack of awareness; many times, there won’t even be a sign outside to say comedy is on. People aren’t looking for it; you have to show them where it is! The most frustrating thing I remember before I moved to Dublin was driving all the way to Dublin only to find a night cancelled, and having to get into the still-warm car and drive home. It was maddening; especially if the club was in a room in a bar that had dozens of people in it. I remember distinctly going to a comedy night once, to find the promoter staring at rows of empty seats. I bit my tongue, despite having walked past dozens of people in the lounge who hadn’t been flyered, approached, or made aware by posters that there was a comedy night happening at all. As we waited for a crowd that never arrived, another guy wandered in, who ran a club of his own across town. The two promoters sat and wondered about how their clubs were doing so poorly; that there was “no room” for small-time promoters, and that there were other clubs that had the market “sewn up”. I bit my tongue near in half, thinking of these guys griping about their lot, knowing full well that they never bother to do any promotion outside of sending around Facebook alerts while Tony from the Battle of the Axe stands in the pissings of rain week after week, trying to get just one more punter into the Halpenny Inn.

I have never seen this man sitting down.

While there are plenty of venues that book acts sight unseen (because a new open mic comedian is bound to bring loads of his mates to see him perform the first few times), there are many that are more selective. Gigs in The Bankers, The International, Capital Comedy or even Battle of the Axe on a Thursday are harder to book. Now, if all you wanted to do was perform the odd gig here and there, you mightn’t bother pursuing these venues; for some people, it’s enough to do open-mics slots here and there. But most people in comedy are in it to get ahead; to play the bigger venues, to bigger crowds… like any addiction, there’s escalation of need. the old fix doesn’t do it anymore; you need something MORE. Sooner or later, every open-mic comedian has to go ask Aidan Bishop for a gig.

Now, when I was starting comedy, I got advice from a lot of people. And the one thing I kept hearing from a lot of people was that it was pointless trying to get a gig from Aidan Bishop. I was told that you’d be made to wait, or just ignored. That you’d be made to jump through hoops and if you looked sideways at him, you’d never see the inside of the venue again. So, with tremendous trepidation, i went in one night to ask for a gig. I danced around the subject a wee bit, then came out with it; I’ve been gigging for a year now, and i was wondering if I could have an open-slot sometime. He gave me his number and told me to ring him during the week, and he’d give me a gig.

And true to his word, he did.

And I went in and did the gig, and did well, and asked for another… And got one. And on it went, I did well, I got more gigs. then one night, I went on and didn’t do so well; not a death, but just not a victory either. Was I blacklisted? No, on the strength of good gigs done, I kept getting booked, and getting longer sets. No jumping through hoops, no tortures cruel and unusual.  It was not the hard slog I had been warned about, but then again, maybe I was just a bit naive. Maybe I’d just dodged the wrath? Maybe everyone else got the rough treatment, and I was being an innocent from the country? I got my answer soon enough.

I was talking to another comedian, and we were talking about getting gigs around the city. I had said how I was hoping to get gigs in The International soon, but they said, and I quote;

“I have no interest in playing there. I have no interest in kissing Andrew Stanleys arse to get a gig in the Mish-Mash”

And that’s just when I thought ok; there’s some ill-informed, bitter or just downright ignorant people out there. I’ve been listening to their opinions and basing my own on their experiences, not my own. When I had been told about Aidan, I went along with it because I had never met the man, but I HAD met Andrew so I knew I was being told a load of shite. Kiss arse? To get a gig in the Mish Mash? When the fuck has that EVER happened? I could tell straight away that I was talking to a very bitter, insecure comedian, unsure of their talent, unsure of their ability to play bigger gigs, unwilling to even try, and looking for someone to blame. I could see them, having played the Mish Mash once and died on their arse, and gave up trying to get back. Not wanting to accept their failings, they tried to claim that they didn’t get bookings because of politics or claim that they didn’t want them to begin with. Bollocks. Sell that shit elsewhere.

I had met Andrew, and gigged with him, and found him to be very good to new comedians, and very willing to give them stagetime. I had to kiss no arses to get gigs anywhere. There is, however, an alternative to being a Kiss-Arse, and I find it has helped me get gigs anywhere I looked for them. It’s called NOT BEING AN ARSEHOLE. If you can manage that, then there’s no-one in comedy that is difficult to deal with. If you can’t manage that, then I’ll leave you to your bitter half-baked conspiracy theories about the General Zod-esque “Gate-Keepers” of comedy who use the tears of open-mic comedians to gather energy to take over the fucking world, or some shit.

"KNEEL BEFORE ME!!"

I am, however, not immune to frustration.  Despite gigging everywhere in the city, there was one promoter that was proving annoyingly hard to get to;  Simon O’Keeffe, who runs Capital Comedy in the Halpenny Bar. Simon wasn’t like other bookers who would just hand out gigs left and right. To be fair, he would give you a gig… you just had to wait a long time for it. I remember my first gig list looking something like this;

  • Tues 16th February; Battle of the Axe
  • Fri 26th February; Neptune Comedy Club
  • Sun 28th February; Angelic Banana Comedy Smackdown
  • Tues 2nd March; Comedy Dublin
  • Sun 20th November; Capital Comedy

Seven months waiting! At the time, I thought that was just how comedy clubs were run; they booked people for months in advance. Then I assumed that maybe Simon gave new comedians to see if they’ll stick it, or is comedy something they just want to try a few times before giving up. With this in mind, I was determined to prove myself. I’ve got seven months to wait for a gig? That’s fine; I’ll gig the crap out of myself around the city, get a rock solid set and go in there and blow the walls off the place! Of course, it didn’t work that way; I went in and died on my hole, and went back to the start of the waiting list. Determined to rock the place, I tried contacting Simon by phone, e-mail, on his Myspace, his Bebo, his Facebook… Eventually the planets aligned and I got another gig. Despite the fact that i was getting loads of gigs elsewhere, this was the one I really wanted… mostly because it was the one I couldn’t have (plus I was hoping to run into Simon’s sister at a gig, cos I’d seen pictures of her online and I thought she was pretty cute).

Here's a pint of Snakebite, love; put in a good word for me will ya?

So I waited for the gig, and when it came I did a little bit better than I had done the previous time. I asked for another and got another, and didn’t have to wait so long. I did better in that, got another one.  But it was slow, hard work, much slower than in any other club. But the harder it was, the more rewarding it became to do well. That was how it worked; I got gigs on merit. It was the same with Aidan Bishop in The International- start you off slow and promote you as you get better. A lot of the smaller clubs can’t afford big name headliners so it’s easy to move up quickly. I’d finished up gigs in other venues so when it came time to play The International and Capital Comedy, or The Woolshed or The Comedy Cellar or any of the bigger venues, it was frustrating to be back doing the open slot again, and to have long waits between gigs. I can see how people would get bitter about that and lose their tempers and patience, and start to grouse about how they’re getting “held back”. It keeps going back to the clubs that have staying power and the clubs that close after a few months; some book tried and tested acts that they know are going to give the audience a good time (and in turn the audience will spread good word of mouth). These clubs are rarely empty, and in no danger of going under, but like any other entertainment venture, they need new blood to keep people interested. They need new acts, so if you’re as good as you think, you’ll get your shot. It’s a pain in the hole going door-to-door looking for gigs, but no-one will do it for you.

As a performer, it’s a good indication of how well you’re doing when you get bookings for clubs. I’m still doing open spots in The International and Capital Comedy; but I’ve accepted that when I get booked to do longer sets, I’ll know it’s because I’m doing something right, that I’m moving forward. The guys that run these clubs get requests from comedians like you and I get spam e-mail offering Nigerian lotto money. The only way you’re going to get gigs in their venues is by earning them.. You can argue that there’s no such thing as one club being “better” or more prestigious than another, and if you’re finding it hard to get a gig in one venue then fuck it; there’s plenty more out there. That’s true to an extent, and I am appreciative of any gig I get, anywhere, but the fact remains that whenever I go trying to book gigs around the country, the first thing I get asked is whether or not I’m  getting paid slots in either The International, The Bankers or Capital Comedy. They won’t book you till you do well in those venues, and those venues won’t book you till you do well elsewhere. This may take longer than you would like, but like I’ve said about getting ahead in comedy a few times; it’s not hard, it just takes AGES.

I’ll have more to say about gigging in Dublin soon… probably to fill the long, blogless waits for gigs in Offaly and Leitrim.

32 Counties, 32 Gigs part 1; Meath

Speak to any long-in-the-tooth comedian, and he’ll tell you that THE place to gig years ago was Navan.  In fact, County Meath has given the world some of Irelands most lauded comedians, from Tommy Tiernan to Dylan Moran, to latter-day standard bearers such as Fred Cooke and Tommy Nicholson. I’ve never gigged in Navan town (except for an aborted attempt last year, that I’ll let Kieran Lawless fill you in on), so there was no better place to kick off the 32 county challenge. My first Navan gig took place in Johnstown, just outside the town. Bringing comedy to small towns usually works out pretty well; there’s fuck all else to do, most people all go to the same pub week in, week out, so a comedy night can go down a storm. Most small town gigs I’ve done so far are run by local comedians; in this case a guy called Harry McGarry. Given a small budget by the pub to run the night, Harry put together the following line-up;

Lock up your daughters...

A nice collection of up-and-comers, with me to finish out the show. With gigs like this, I never like to say “headline”… I’m not headlining, I’m just going on last. A headliner is a known name, a draw; someone who sells tickets. With a small budget gig like this one, it can be hard to get a big name interested. This is where guys like me step in; we’re at it just a wee bit longer, we’re happy of any payment, and someone thought enough of us to think us capable of finishing a show strongly. At no time, however, would I think finishing a small town gig is means that I’m an actual headline-quality act;  after all, rule #3 says Don’t believe the hype.

NOT THE CASE

Whether I consider this a headline job or not, they want me to finish the show for them. It’s always nice to be considered capable, but in the run-up to a gig like this, I always get a bit nervous. When finishing a show, there’s a pressure to finish it well. If you’re on in the first half and you have a bad gig, someone on later in the night will probably cover it for you. But when you finish up a show, you’ll be the one people remember as they drive home. If you were good, then they had a good night. If you died on your hole, then they think that the whole night was a let-down. So I always feel a sense of responsibility when I’m finishing shows for people, and as such an extra bit of pressure. Especially on a night such as this, where it’s the first night of comedy in this particular pub. If I stink the place up, then Harry will have a hard time convincing the manager to let him run another night.

Luckily, I’ve always done pretty well in small-town audiences. Maybe it’s because I’m small-town born and bred myself, and share many of their sensibilities. There are comedy styles that will and won’t fly with a lot of small-town audiences. I’ve found they like simple material; jokes about sex (but not overly smutty), jokes about drinking and revelry (but not so much so about drugs) and above all else, some good old casual racism. That may seem like I’m painting rural Ireland to be full of hicks and rednecks, which is not my intention; no crowd will (or should) tolerate blatant bigotry. I’ve just found over the years that lines that get frowned upon in Dublin, go over easier in the country. Say for example, I have a joke about the toilet attendant in my local nightclub, who happens to be a black guy. Even the mention of this in Dublin gets a few stern looks and the occasional “that’s racist” heckle. In the country? Not a problem. They just seem to accept it for what it is; a good natured crowd pleasing effort that  happens to involve a black guy.

Like the Italia '90 squad.

So I went to the gig expecting something akin to a gig I played for Ben Buckley in his hometown earlier in the year; a raucous but fun night in a jam-packed local pub with plenty of people out for the laugh. What I got, instead, was anything but. Some pubs seem to think that comedy is like karaoke; all you need is to stick a mic in the corner and away you go. The comedians can get up and tell their funnies, and everyone can listen over the PA system. Why, we don’t even have to turn off Match of the Day on the big tellys at the back! My heart sank. Many of the comedians reading this will have played the Kinsealy Inn in Swords; this was its rowdier younger brother. In fact, Johnstown Co. Meath has such a population of Dubliners living on the commuter belt, that it might as well have been Kinsealy. I’ve played Kinsealy, and done well (in fact I’m itching to get back now that I have the measure of the crowd, to either rock the shit out of it or die with my boots on). But at least in Kinsealy, they can hear you at the back. At least in kinsealy, they turn the Disco lights off so that the stage doesn’t look like the comedian is engaged in a Pokemon battle. After all his hard work to try to get a decent comedy night up and running,  Harry was crestfallen.

Harry seemed happy, anyway.

Forget it Harry, it's Chinatown.

The killing thing about all this was the fact that the mic and PA was desperate; static and hiss and feedback marred set-ups and ruined punchlines. There wasn’t even a mic-stand. In times like this, I would encourage people to just jettison the mic; throw the fucker away and let rip. Most venues are small enough for your voice to carry, and even if it’s a big roadhouse like last night, those in the back might just quiet down or move up front to listen. Getting rid of a mic is great to help with your performance, because you’re free to move more naturally and gesticulate more energetically without worrying about knocking shit over or tripping on wires; any time I can, I always do gigs without the mic.

Known in the industry as "Going Goldsmith"

But even that wasn’t going to wash with this gig; there was too much noise from too small a crowd.  So you were stuck with a mic that was only audible if you stood in EXACTLY the right spot. I have to admit, there was a time that I was thinking fuck this; I’ve been paid upfront, so what the fuck do I care. I’ll get up and phone in ten minutes and get the hell out of this camp and get some fucking chips. It’s times like this when you gotta remember Rules 2 and 3; you’re only here on the strength of past performances, and if you think you’re a big enough draw to do whatever the hell you want when you get to gigs, it won’t be long before they start to dry up. I was paid to do a job, so it’s time to sack up and do it. I got up and swung for the fences, and whatever rocking there was to be done, I did. I don’t know what I was worried about; compared to some of the audiences I’ve played for, these guys were grand. What I couldn’t see from the back was that there was a corona of attentive people around the front of the stage, and as long as you played to them, it was fine. If you tried to engage the back row, the people who actually were there to listen felt alienated and ignored. So don’t waste half your gig trying to shush the back row; play to the people that are listening and you’re sorted. In the end, you couldn’t get me of stage; I did 25 minutes and could have kept going.

Gigs like this are a wake up call; you gotta know that not every gig is going to be Tuesday night in the International. Not every gig will be all you hope it to be. I knew getting onstage that no mater how good I did, it didn’t matter. there would probably never be comedy in the pub again. But should that influence your performance? Are you gonna spit out the dummy because the Lilys in the dressing room aren’t white enough, or are you gonna lead by example and get out there ? You’ll get far more respect for making a bad situation good then for sulking and going home, griping that everything wasn’t up to your exacting standards.

What.... Too soon?

No Punchline

The thing I find hardest about telling a joke is the start; as in, the first joke of the night, the introduction. Every other joke, every other story, they all flow together or are linked in some often tenuous way, but to start cold, from scratch… This is something I don’t find that easy. Turns out, it’s not just when I’m on stage, it’s also when I’m starting to write something, such as this blog. I’ve been staring at a blank screen for two weeks, wondering how to get this show on the road. I know once I’ve got this first paragraph out of the way, everything else will Tetris into place, down to the last paragraph. All I have to do is get through this opening, and then we’re off.

So, for those of you who don’t know me,  that’s me up there. My name is Gerry McBride; Straight Outta Monaghan. Two years ago, I took to the world of stand-up comedy for the first time. The first year, I didn’t do much; the odd gig here and there, finding my feet, learning the ropes. In my second year, I set myself a goal of doing fifty gigs in one year, and set about it with such fervour that I had done fifty gigs in five months, along the way winning several comedy competitions, playing in some of the biggest venues all over Ireland. Starting 2010, I had gotten myself into the mid-leagues of Irish comedy; not troubling the top flight comedians of the country but safe from relegation for a few seasons, enjoying the occasional high-profile victory but also the occasional crushing defeat.


I'm Stoke FC.

I used to think that getting ahead in comedy was impossible; now I realise that it’s not. It’s really easy, it just takes a long, long time. Initially, I was like a lot of open-mic guys; I wanted everything all at once. I wanted gigs in venues that wouldn’t give them to me, so I got frustrated and pissed off. I yelled conspiracy and shenanigans, that the whole comedy circuit was a sham, and it wasn’t what you know but who you know. A couple of years down the line, and my attitude has all changed. Those venues that told me I wasn’t ready to gig with them? Turns out they were right, which is something I learned on nights when I jumped in at the deep end and suffered painful death in front of a demanding crowd. When I returned to the same venue a few months later, with a pared down set and a less cocky attitude, I rocked.

Gigging as much as possible in as many towns as possible taught me things that I didn’t know when I first started comedy. I wrote material to suit different tastes, so that if something wasn’t working, I could switch to something that might. Nowadays, I’m more open to criticism if a promoter doesn’t book me, or tells me I’m not ready for his club, so be it. maybe he’s seen something in my set that he doesn’t like, or knows that the room he runs might not suit my comedy. there’s no sense in losing sleep over it; just go off, get better, come back and rock the place. What I’ve learned over my two short years of comedy can be condensed into three simple rules;

1: Let Them At It

Let them at it; that’s what I say. Nothing anybody else does with their comedy career is going to affect yours. Some people get bent out of shape about other peoples acts; some get angry at guys that steal material off the internet or tell crappy jokes that we’ve heard in pubs ten years ago. I say LET THEM AT IT. Anyone that steals material or does shit jokes won’t be taking food of your table anytime soon. It’s just some guy who wanted to try comedy but doesn’t have the ability. I used to get really annoyed at this, and many other things that I noticed comedians doing, but now it doesn’t faze me at all. Things like people getting up and doing boring material, or trying to be overly “dark”  used to piss me off, because I felt that comedians doing shit boring comedy gave everyone a bad name; that if someone would go on a night out to a comedy club and leave with the opinion that all comedy was like that.

Now I just say LET THEM AT IT. Your shit act is not going to cost me one booking. All I have to worry about is my own material and my own act. Sure, if I’m on a roadtrip to a gig with a couple of guys to a gig down the country somewhere, you can rest assured there’s going to be more than one comedian with redhot ears, but you’re definitely not going to find me on the stairwell telling some guy where his act is going wrong in an overly condescending, patronising way; I hate that shit. Help and advice is always welcome in this game, and there are times when I’ll actively seek peoples opinions, but to the guys that we all know, the ones that think they know everything, I say I’ll mind my set, you mind yours.


My LET THEM AT IT attitude extends also to other peoples politics. I spent the first few years listening to every opinion I could. That’s good, in a way, but it leads to you never really making up your own opinion. It’s only in the last six months or so that I’ve shrugged off any preconceived opinions that I’ve had, and started forming my own. By and large, I’ve found pretty much everyone to be easy to deal with as long as you approach them the right way. There’s a lot of new comics that are walking around with opinions based on half-stories and gossip, most of which is about things that happened years before any of us started comedy and as such, really isn’t any of our business to begin with.

Nothing to see here, move along.

2: Dance with the Girl that Brought You

My set hasn’t really changed that much in the past twelve months; I’ve added sketches, lines, removed bits that didn’t work, but by and large if you come to see me do a gig, you’ll see my intro about being from the north, my carsex sketch, my bit about rural Ireland nightclubs and then the Tayto routine. Thats my twenty minutes, that I go from town to town with. It rarely changes. Some of it, I’m completely and utterly bored of; I’ve been doing the Tayto sketch for nearly 18 months and it drives me crazy.

PLEASE KILL ME.

But here’s where rule number 2 comes in; DANCE WITH THE GIRL THAT BROUGHT YOU. I’ve booked nearly all my gigs on the strength of that Tayto routine. Sure, I may be sick to the back teeth of it, but just because I’ve done it a hundred times doesn’t mean everyone’s seen it yet. Pretty much every time I’ve done that routine, it’s gone down a storm. As have the other bits that make up my whole act. When you get booked to do a gig, you get booked on the basis that you’re going to go out there with your A-material. That’s just good business.

This leaves a comedian in an awkward situation; sure, we want to keep audiences and promoter happy, but we want to be able to work on new stuff, and express ourselves onstage. I’ve started introducing new bits here and there, in what I consider to be friendlier clubs (where the promoter won’t blacklist you for not sticking with the tried and tested). Sometimes, you’ll look out and see a smaller than usual crowd, maybe a few familiar faces that’ve seen the act before, and I’ll introduce a few new elements. Sometimes I’ll OK it  with the promoter beforehand, and do a whole new set. But by and large, my rule is DANCE WITH THE GIRL THAT BROUGHT YOU.

This comes into play especially at one-off gigs around the country, where people are paying in. Times are hard these days; money is scarcer than ever. So if someone is at a comedy club on a Friday night, maybe that’s it for them- that’s their weekend. Do they want to pay their hard-earned money to watch me practice some ghastly new bullshit onstage, or do they want to hear the best material I can give them? As entertainers, comedians have a responsibility to ENTERTAIN the audience. Some people turn their back on this, not wanting to be known as “crowd-pleasers” or “Joke-blowers”…. well, I say see Rule 1, let them at it. In hard times like these, I’m going to do my best to be a crowd pleaser, by doing the material I know works best.

"Cheer up lads, I hear that McBride chap is in town on Friday"

3: Don’t Believe the Hype

When you’re doing well at comedy, people will tell you so. You’ll finish your set to a huge applause, and get backstage to be told you did a good job. Maybe, like me, you’ll win a few competitions along the way, and start to believe all that’s been said; that you’re doing a fantastic job, you’re the next big thing… DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE. Don’t listen to it, don’t acknowledge it. No-one is the next big thing. no-one, no matter how good they are, is immune to a bad gig. Everyone loves to be encouraged and congratulated, but if you listen to it too much, it will start to affect your attitude and your performances.

Me, pictured a week after my ComedyDublin competition victory.

The worst deaths I’ve died onstage have happened when I swaggered into the venue thinking yeah, this one’s in the bag. I’m Gerry McBride; I’ve rocked gigs like this before, this’ll be a piece of piss. WRONG. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE. Every gig is different, every gig needs to be treated with respect. Hit each stage like you’ve never stood in front of a mic before. Assuming that you know your audience before you get onstage is the road to no town.

Worst than believing the hype about you, is believing your OWN hype. We all have a comedy CV; a list of accomplishments that we send to promoters to try to fish a gig out of them, as if they’ll read your e-mail and jump out of their seat, yelling at people to book this guy, quick.

"You mean to say there's a comedian with dancing tits and we haven't booked him?!? You're fired!!!"

Now, you’d really just want to read my CV; a flurry of half-truths and embellishments that have only the most tenuous link to reality. The worst sin would be for me to believe that which I have written about myself; DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE. We all say from time to time the big gigs we’ve done, and big names we’ve played with, but there is a difference between being the comedian that knows he played an open spot before some big name, and the one that truly believes that he’s that guys support act. Believing the hype leads to believing you’re at a level you aren’t, which leads to not giving every performance the respect it deserves. You want to get ahead in comedy? Then DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

There's even a song to help you remember.

So where do I go from here? Getting ahead in comedy is the one thing I’m deadly serious about. I do all my joking around on stage; when it comes to gigging, there is no punchline. I intend to work hard and get known. Last year, I had set myself a very definite 50 gig goal, and it helped having something like that to aim for. It meant that I always kept my foot on the pedal, always had an endgame in sight. So this year (and indeed it may take longer) I’ve set a new task for myself;

Play a Gig in Each of the 32 Counties

This is something I know a lot of guys are trying to do, and in actual fact, it was something that I’ve been trying to do for sometime myself. But to set it as an actual goal, and announce it publically as my intention, means that now I’ll start to pursue it. What I plan is to write 32 blogs for 32 gigs that I’ve done in 32 counties and post them all here. Given the nature of this task, they probably won’t be weekly, but I’ll be posting some other stuff  in between too. Writing about these experiences has become something I’ve loved, and really missed since I finished my last blog. Keeping a diary like this about my 32 county task will help me actually accomplish it, as I’ll always want to write a new blog for a county that I haven’t played yet (as well as the fact that I’m very conscious of what people would say if I fail)

"Stupid cunt couldn't even get a gig in Laois!"

Rather than just 32 reviews of gigs, these posts will be my take on comedy in Ireland; on how people in different communities react to different comics, how hard it is to get known in Ireland, interviews with comedians, plus plenty of other random funny shit too. I’m throwing out any gigs I’ve done so far, so you won’t be reading about a gig I done in Westmeath last year; I now have to go get 32 brand new gigs to write about. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but hey; nothing worthwhile ever is. Hopefully you’ll stick with me as I travel the country creating a carbon footprint for myself the size of Croke Park, gigging to whoever, wherever, whenever I can. Given that I’ve never heard of comedy happening in an awful lot of counties means that this task is gonna take a while… I mean, is there even any gigs in Laois?!?

You're a Thorn in my Side, Laois.