The Cat Laughs Louder

THIS time last year we were wondering what the words "Kilkenny" and "comedy" had in common, but soon put our cynicism aside after…

THIS time last year we were wondering what the words "Kilkenny" and "comedy" had in common, but soon put our cynicism aside after the inaugural Cat Laughs comedy festival proved to be a resounding success. No doubt about it, Kilkenny put Ireland on the international comedy map and the hordes of comedians who appeared at the festival all went back to their respective countries and spread the evangelical word with the net result that this year the festival organisers had to "beat comics away with a stick" such is the demand for a slot down Kilkenny way.

This year's Murphy's Cat Laughs festival, which takes place from May 30th to June 3rd, features 50 comics doing their thing in 10 different venues. Ostensibly the star attraction is U.S. comic actor, Bill Murray but anybody who knows anything will tell you to place that second or third on your comedy shopping list and instead be prepared to fight/ kill for a ticket to the one off gig by the King of Comedy, Eddie Izzard. All we need to say about Mr. Izzard is that if he doesn't make you laugh till you choke, you should check your pulse, because you're most probably dead. Other acts well worth leaving the bar for include a trio of great Irish stand ups in the shape of Ardal O'Hanlon, Sean Hughes and Owen O'Neill.

Other "must see" acts include a gaggle of top notch American comics including Wil Durst, Kathleen Madigan and Dom Irrea, while big name acts making the journey from London include Mark Lamarr, Boothby Grafoe and the very wonderful John Shuttleworth. In recognition of the sterling work carried out over the years by Dublin's Comedy Cellar venue (the launch pad for both Ardal O'Hanlon and Dylan Moran), a special Cats Comedy Cellar featuring the very best in new Irish comedy talent is being staged nightly.

Such was the success of last year's delightfully laid back and chilled out comic festivities that the organisers expect almost double the attendance this time out. The number to ring for ticket inquiries, and you'd better hurry, is (056) 63738.