Out with the old and in with the new for Mario Rosenstock

‘I’m not Mr Right-On, lefty-liberal who believes all Governments are s**t’

Impressionist Mario Rosenstock begins his new RTÉ television show on Monday night with a new gallery of characters.

Out, for the most part, will go old favourites such as Bertie Ahern, Roy Keane, Daniel O'Donnell, and Vincent Browne.

In comes Alan Shatter, Marty Morrissey, Davy Fitzgerald, Pat Kenny, Dr Eva Orsmond from Operation Transformation, John Delaney and Steven Gerrard with a welcome return for Chelsea manager José Mourinho now that he is back in the Premier League.

“I wanted it to be brand new. I wanted it to look brand new with all new characters,” he says of his new show. “The old characters are going to be very light on the ground. The emphasis is on developing a whole new palate. Last year I was caught between a rock and a hard place because I tried to do people that people liked to hear me do on the radio.”


The timing of Giovanni Trapattoni’s departure has been propitious as far as getting in a farewell sketch to the man who has been a gift for impressionists for the last five years.

His expected successor Martin O’Neill is smart and articulate, good qualities for a football manager, bad ones for an impressionist.

“I remember trying to do Martin O’Neill six or seven years ago and it got no reaction from people because there was no comedy in it. He’s seen as an intelligent, sophisticated person. You need something funny to happen to people to go on. Getting comedy out of him will be the real problem,” he said.

The last few years have been fertile ground for satirists, but Rosenstock has no time for being an agitprop or agent provocateur.

“I’m not interested in demonstration and ramming it down people’s necks,” he said, “I’m not Mr Right-On, lefty-liberal who believes all Governments are s**t.

"One of the problems I have with is the satirists duty is to slam every Government. Even before the Government comes in, they have slammed them. We're all Lenny Bruce, we're all Bill Hicks. All marketing people are a******s as are people who wear a shirt and tie. That's where a lot of satirists come from. I want to take things where I see them.

“Will we always say that everything is shit or will we ever say that things are improving? The media largely creates the negativity because it makes for good copy. Nobody wants to read about people being happy. It’s all about conflict. People love conflict. It seems to me that a lot of satire is only a product of that kind of negativity.”

The series runs for six episodes with a hour Christmas special which it is hoped to film in front of a live audience.

The Mario Rosenstock Show begins on RTÉ Two at 9.30pm on Monday night.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times