Deirdre O’Kane: On My Culture Radar
Comedian and actor on why she’s enamoured with Joanne McNally, Madrid and Marian Keyes
Deirdre O’Kane: “Comedic acting is never rewarded the same way that dramatic acting is, but it’s harder to make work”
Current favourite book?
I’m just finishing What the **** Is Normal? by a comedian called Francesca Martinez, who has cerebral palsy. It’s a biography. I laughed, I cried, it’s beautifully written. People think stand-up is a hard thing to do, and you can imagine how difficult it would be if you also had cerebral palsy. She calls it out, she calls herself wobbly, so it takes a lot of guts to get the point where you drag yourself up on the stage to entertain people. She’s a writer too, her family are obviously literary, so she’s incredibly talented. It’s a lovely read.
The Cookbook Café in Glasthule, which is my local. They have a lot of avocado there. Plus they play good music, and I can sit outside when it’s sunny. They serve an Ottolenghi plate with things like falafel, hummus, aubergine and pitta, which suits me well, I like tapas-style foods.
Joanne McNally is on fire; she’s emerging as a really great comic. Interestingly, she has a southside brogue, which I think is much maligned, and she manages to make that likable and very, very funny. She’s like a southside valley girl, but she has this dark, sassy edge. She’s very different, and different always stands out. Then there’s Aine Gallagher, who’s also different and doing incredibly well. I’ve also been impressed by the female comics who’ve played support to me recently, like Andrea Farrell and Laura O’Mahony.
I was recently playing a festival around Cork, and discovered an artist called Sara Roberts. She has the most beautiful ceramics I’ve seen in a long time. The two I was looking at in the gallery were seascapes. They were stunning, like paintings.
Madrid has taken my heart. I have friends living there so I went to visit recently and I adored it. I ate and walked and had coffee and then looked at more sights; every side street you go down is so beautiful. It was particularly good for fashion. I’m not a fashionista, but I like small, individual shops, and there were so many there. I already want to go back again.
How can I narrow it down? Andrew Scott is always brilliant. I didn’t see him in Hamlet, but I’ve seen him in many plays over the years. He’s one of our best. I just did a week on Bridget & Eamon, and I have to hand it to Bernard O’Shea and Jennifer Zamparelli, they’re brilliant. Comedic acting is never rewarded the same way that dramatic acting is, but it’s harder to make work. Their timing was exceptional, and it’s impressive that they’ve written it too.
I love Catastrophe. Like Bernard and Jennifer, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney are well matched. They play off each other really well, and the result is gold.
Social media profile
I’m drawn to humour on Twitter, and Marian Keyes (@MarianKeyes) is eternally funny; she always makes me laugh. She tweets like she talks, so you always think you’re in conversation with her. And she has this hilarious phonetic spelling too.
I loved Room. It was incredibly well made, all the more so because you think it would be difficult to film. I couldn’t imagine a movie at all when I was reading it, so I thought Lenny Abrahamson did an extraordinary job directing it. You do have to be a great film-maker to get the tone of it right.
Deirdre O’Kane performs as part of Vodafone Comedy Festival in the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, on Thursday, July 26th, to Sunday, July 28th. See vodafonecomedy.com for more information and deirdreokane.net for further dates