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Chris Kent in Vicar Street: The Cork comedian’s relaxed style handles darker material with ease

Kent weaves a range of subjects together seamlessly from the housing crisis to feeling uneasy at luxury hotels

Cork comedian Chris Kent: Photograph:

Chris Kent

Vicar Street


Cork comedian Chris Kent is on an upwards trajectory. Apart from on the property ladder, that is. His new show Back At It is currently touring across Ireland and the UK, and marks the biggest run of his career to date.

Kent has added a third show at Dublin’s Vicar Street this April, something he admits is “making my arse go in and out a bit”. On stage at Vicar Street on Friday, the comedian is introduced by surprise guests: his two children, Jack and Evelyn. A sentence like “ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage, our daddy Chris Kent” is a tough act to follow. But 15 years of hard graft means he is unlikely to be upstaged by these two young whippersnappers.

Kent immediately asserts his comedic prowess with some quick-witted and seemingly spontaneous crowd interaction. He wastes no time in explaining why he’s here: Kent is “back at the comedy” full-time. He had returned to life as an electrician to try to buy a property, but it didn’t work out. It’s a relatable tale.


The former electrician has not had an easy route to selling out venues like this. Much of his darkly tinged material comes from that recent period when he was doing 50-plus-hour weeks on building sites and then driving across the country to gig at weekends.

He claims he got so tired he gave a petrol station cashier his Pin for his bank card out loud not once but twice. Kent also tells the stories of breaking into a car he thought was his own in a supermarket car park and being terrified of losing his no-claims bonus after a “little car crash” after he lost concentration. (No one was hurt.)

But there’s no self pity here – just gratitude to still be doing what he loves to do, and playing to bigger crowds than ever before.

Kent is a master storyteller, allowing him to weave any manner of subjects together seamlessly, from the housing crisis to feeling uneasy at luxury hotels (“the Groupon gaze”, he calls it).

And no matter how dark the subject, it’s always funny. The darker the funnier, in fact. His recent attempts to get on the property ladder provide ample material in this respect. Kent says his desperation reached a peak when he started to tell estate agents he “actually liked” a gaping hole in the floor of a bathroom. While there might be the standard embellishments here and there, there’s a definite ring of truth to it.

Estate agents don’t even need to try any more, he points out. “There’s a subsidence issue,” one reportedly told him. “It means it’s sinking. Is that all right?” He replied it would depend on how fast.

And there is much to mine elsewhere too when it comes to the darker banalities of everyday life.

His wife repeatedly told him he should go back to comedy full-time until he eventually handed in his notice at work. “Do you believe in me?” he asked her. “I do,” she said. “And we also need someone for the kids during the day.” If there’s a moral to any of this, it’s not to give up on your dreams. And don’t be afraid to call up your insurance company - you can build that no-claims bonus back up.

With his relaxed Cork style, storytelling nous and ability to think on his feet, Kent has proven with this new show that he’s a cut above your average circuit comic.