Jarlath Regan’s Spotify playlist: ‘I cry easily. I’m a big wet’

Check out the comedian and podcaster’s playlist of songs he’s been listening to lately

Jarlath Regan: I’ve introduced my 10-year-old son to music, and the amount of extra family time during the past year has been a revelation

Jarlath Regan: I’ve introduced my 10-year-old son to music, and the amount of extra family time during the past year has been a revelation

 

The pandemic has been a huge challenge for me, as stand-up comedy disappeared. But I know that there are people in worse situations. I was lucky to have a second job in podcasting, and it wanted me for itself anyway. So I doubled down on it, and that’s really taken off in the past year.

An Irishman Abroad used to just be one big interview on a Sunday with a legendary Irish person. I diversified it into an America podcast with Marion McKeone on a Friday, then added a running podcast with Sonia O’Sullivan on a Tuesday, which has attracted people who are voracious in their need for good vibes in their ears when they’re running. Then, just the other week, I added a cultural podcast called The Selection Box, where Tom Dunne and Kevin Gildea give recommendations, because there’s too much to know what to watch or to listen to.

Rocky Took a Lover was the first dance at my wedding. I went out for dinner with my wife-to-be one night, and that song came on. We didn’t even say anything – we both started laughing, because we knew that was the song

Lots of new people have started podcasting in the last year, but I understand that it was out of necessity. It was the only place that they could realistically earn from their creativity. And I’ve always just been of the opinion that the more legitimate podcasting becomes, the better. It’s a very crowded place to exist, but I’ve been there a long time.

I was on the road all my life prior to the pandemic. It’s bananas how much driving and listening I did, but music always transported me out of the loneliness of that life. Rather than it being a solitary enjoyment, we now have a Regan family disco once a week.

I’ve introduced my 10-year-old son to music, and the amount of extra family time during the past year has been a revelation. It’s an opportunity to know them in a way that I never would have if this hadn’t happened.

Putting the playlist together uncovered how much I enjoy Irish music. I hadn’t thought of myself as somebody who specifically gravitated towards it, but there’s people on there like Niall McNamee, who popped up a couple of times when I went through the list of my most-played songs.

I was conscious that some of the choices were less focused on great tunes, and instead were the ones that punch me in the chest with memories. I’m a big wet, really. I will cry easily – I have to work to keep that in check. That Maroon Five song? Forget it. Game over. It’s like instant red wine.

Rocky Took a Lover was the first dance at my wedding. You struggle over a lot of decisions around your wedding day, but I went out for dinner with my wife-to-be one night, and that song came on. We didn’t even say anything – we both started laughing, because we knew that was the song. If the song for your relationship is right, it should also be a way of repairing any difficulty that you might be having, or moments where the two of you are a bit fraught with your situation. That song will always take us back to that day, and reminds us of the 21 years we’ve spent together.

My wife has always pointed out that music should be fun – she’s a big fan of Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters. I never understood why music should be part of comedy, but that’s definitely gone in by osmosis

Some songs I’ve selected are motivational songs that get me off my ass. Being a writer at home without a boss, you need to have something that lights the match. And so many of the songs do that for me, like Big Shaq’s Man’s Not Hot, and Freaky Friday by Lil Dicky.

My wife has always pointed out that music should be fun – she’s a big fan of Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters. I never understood why music should be part of comedy, but that’s definitely gone in by osmosis. Now I have a deeper appreciation for the Sultans of Ping and those kind of songs.

In a year that could feel claustrophobic and bleak, those silly billy pogo songs still work. And when you’re trying to write comedy, or create entertainment for other people, you need access to that.

Looking ahead, I’m optimistic that people will want to come out to shows, and realise that they’ve missed that a lot. I am concerned with how long it will take people to return to normal because of the anxiety that they – and I – will feel.

I know I’m going to be anxious returning to a sweaty room where the band plays really loud and we jump into the arms of strangers. My friend Kevin Gildea is of the opinion that people will just forget six months from now if things go well. We’ll go back to normal after restrictions end, in the same way we adapted to the restrictions. And I hope that’s the case. – As told to Shilpa Ganatra

Jarlath Regan’s stand-up special Notions Eleven is on RTÉ Player; jigser.com has details of his podcasts

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