Sky Cats Laugh In Kilkenny
Kilkenny’s Comedy Festival Hit The Heights
Kevin McAleer: managed to do his stand-up set in the Irish language
Some 25,000 people travelled to Kilkenny for the bank holiday weekend, ensuring that the revamped Cat Laughs comedy festival was able to put up the “Show Sold Out” signs for the first time in many a year.
Media giant Sky TV – new sponsors of the festival – brought a lot to the party, with many Sky TV comedy stars and conducted a talent search for exciting Irish comedy talent.
Glasgow comic Kevin Bridges wasn’t that impressed though as he wondered aloud if 200 drunk people at a comedy show in a hotel basement could really help take Rupert Murdoch’s empire “to the next level”.
Quality acts from Ireland, the UK, US and Australia meant busy box office with special audience praise being reserved for Irish comic Dylan Moran who thrilled with a sardonically grumpy set. Cult US comic Judah Friedlander – one of the stars of Tina Fey’s acclaimed 30 Rock sitcom – earned himself a new Irish fan club on the back of some delightfully eccentric performances. Such was his appeal that he had to schedule extra shows to satisfy demand.
The Sunday afternoon had a Cannes Film Festival comes to Kilkenny feel when Roscommon actor Chris O’Dowd had to work the big crowd waiting outside the city’s Watergate Theatre before going inside to screen the first two episodes of the second series of his Moone Boy comedy show.
Elsewhere, Kevin McAleer managed to do his whole stand-up set in the Irish language. German political theorist and economist Gunther Grun explained, if somewhat smugly, the reasons behind Ireland’s financial meltdown and Eleanor Tiernan displayed why she’s the fastest-rising comedy talent in the country.
It wasn’t all stand-up though. Kilkenny Exposed was a comedy narrative ensemble performance about the history and culture of the Marble City; a family-friendly mini-festival proved to be very popular, the stars of Channel 4’s Whose Line Is It Anyway did their improv best.
The Masters celebrated the work of old-school comics with performances by Jimmy Cricket and Sil Fox.
For the new festival director, Naoise Nunn, the involvement of Sky TV worked wonders. “They aren’t just the name on the logo; they’re contributing to the content of the festival. We had a much expanded programme . . . the shows were full,” he says.