Thursday, 17 October 2013

The London Irish Comedy Festival

Published in The Irish World newspaper 16th October 2013

It is no secret that the Irish are nearly always up for having the laugh and no more so was this evident last weekend than at Camden’s London Irish Centre. Leah Quinn went along to see was there much craic afoot at their London Irish comedy festival.


The comedy festival ran through the weekend and showcased many of Ireland’s best loved comedians such as PJ, Gallagher, Maeve Higgins, Andrew Maxwell, Neil Delamere and many more.


This, the second only year for the festival, attracted a hefty response with many London Irish attending to hear some of their favourites from TV back home.


PJ Gallgher headlined Friday’s gig along with Aisling Bea, Neil Delamere and John Colleary on MC duty. PJ Gallagher had the audience in tears for most of his act with the usual energetic and endearing childlike performance for which he is well known. PJ’s opening joke about the lack of romance in modern day rap music opened the room to another level of laughter which echoed on two jokes later.


Speaking to PJ, from RTE’s Naked Camera show, he told me why he thinks the Irish are so famed for their comedy skills “It’s our thing really. We were always huge story tellers and writers and we haven’t had much going for us for hundreds of years except for music and culture and story telling and that’s what we are known for, which is good, it’s certainly better than being known for large cars and squeezy cheese.”


The festival featured another three shows on Saturday, one of which was Captain Gingerbeard by David Burke – a comedy show targeted at kids. Later in the day Jarlath Regan recorded a live interview for his podcast Irishman Abroad with actor and comedian Brendan Dempsey. Although this held more of a relaxed conversational quality than that of the gig the night before, it was still enjoyable and a nice prelude to Saturday nights comedy gig.


The festival began last year as the brainchild of Maria Schweppe, now the London Irish comedy festival director. She told me that preparation started nine months previous to the festival but is expected to start straight after this years event as the festival continues to grow.


“I think last year was very much about building a relationship with the agents and the comedians so as that is in place this year the festival has a very good reputation and the quality of the line up is obviously quite high. People came along last year and had such a good time they are coming back this year and bringing their pals so we are extremely pleased with this year’s response to the festival”.


Maria also added that there are many more exciting things to come for the future of the festival, some of which will be the return of the comedy tent in Trafalgar Square for London’s St.Patricks day celebrations, and a quarterly comedy club that will be hosted by a different comedian. Each act will have free reign of what they want to do within their slot, be it music, comedy theatre or the spoken word.


All in all the centre put on a thoroughly enjoyable and welcoming weekend filled with many the hearty laugh. Judging by the reaction from those who attended, I expect it only to get bigger and better in the coming years so if you didn’t manage to get tickets this time, mark it on your calendar for next year.















  1. John Cleese is one of the best british comedians and although I have only watched him on TV I would love a chance to see him perform live. He is just too funny.

  2. I love to watch irish comedians shows. Yeah they are very funny and their humor influences others to laugh. Tommy Tiernan is my favorite comedian. I like his jokes and the way he speaks itself is a comedy.