Eoin Butler's Q&A
Gift Grub comedian Mario Rosenstock on adapting his radio act for television
The ‘Mario Rosenstock Show’ is set to debut on RTÉ television. Just how pissed off are TV3?They’re not that annoyed, I don’t think. Obviously, I did the Vincent Browne sketches on TV3 and they were my first port of call with this show. But they just didn’t have a budget for what I wanted to do. So I sat down with RTÉ and, so far, they’ve been great to work with.
Gift Grub has been a massive success on radio for over a decade. Why has it taken so long for it to be adapted for television?I don’t know. RTÉ did initiate many meetings with me over the past 10 years. But nothing ever came of them. I suspect RTÉ were reluctant to promote me, given my association with the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, which is broadcast on a competing radio station and has consistently beaten them in the ratings.
What’s changed this time?I’m told RTÉ television and radio are not as intrinsically linked as they used to be.
Is Ian Dempsey still involved?Yes. We’re both very interested in television, and television comedy, and I really respect his judgement. We’ve also sought out other writers and actors to work with. Paul Howard has been a joy to work with. Colm Tobin [the Twitter funnyman, not the novelist] has also written some very good material.
On radio, you’re often able to impersonate half a dozen celebrities in the space of a few minutes. That feat might prove a little more difficult to accomplish on television. Are you a good physical mimic?We’ll find out soon. I like to think I can inhabit a character. But really, I just want the show to be funny.
Three of your most popular characters from the 2000s – Bertie Ahern, Jose Mourinho and Roy Keane – are no longer as prominent as they once were. Who do you see as fodder for the next decade?You never know until they come along. But I see there’s great mileage for satire and humour in the likes of Louis Walsh, Roberto Mancini and even David Guetta.
What about the current government? Joan Burton, I presume, a gift from God. Who else do you like?James Reilly, I think, is another gift.
When I spoke to you a couple of years ago, Keith Duffy was one of your personal favourites. He seems to have been supplanted in your affections somewhat by Daithí Ó Sé.Yes, I like to play Daithí as a kind of a wild, island inhabitant who doesn’t communicate in English. People seem to have taken to it and he’s been very gracious about it himself.
Obviously, RTÉ personalities are one of your favourite targets for ridicule. Will the new show be filmed in Montrose and, if so, is there anyone you’ll dread bumping into?No. It is being filmed entirely away from Montrose. But regardless, there’s no one I dread bumping into. I never deliberately try to offend people.
What about David McSavage? Your new show will rather step on the toes of his ‘Savage Eye’.I love The Savage Eye. It’s great that David has been able to work with people who were able to focus his considerable anger and he’s been a revelation in some of his performances. I’ve bumped into him on a few occasions and have told him so in person. I think he was pleased – or maybe he was just toying with me.
Are there any great gags or routines you’ve thought of after the event, when the story has moved on and it’s too late to use it?It happens all the time. But I immediately delete them from my memory banks.
Away from comedy, what do you do to relax? For God’s sake, please don’t say golf . . .I play a lot of tennis. I also play golf – sorry! And I like to give my son Dash his bath at night. Beyond that, I’m pretty much a robot.
Finally, you once performed in person for Roman Abramovich. Did he have armed bodyguards and a swimming pool filled with piranhas?No, no. I performed for Jose Mourinho while he was at Chelsea, not Abramovich. There were 30 people in the room – 29 multimillionaires and me! I did a few gags, sang a couple of songs. At 9.30pm, Mourinho sent the team to bed and he and I had dinner and a bottle of wine. He was totally charming. It was an experience I won’t forget!
The Mario Rosestock Show begins November 12, RTÉ2 at 9.30pm