Funny business for Bernard at Fota

Comedian Bernard O'Shea tries to turn Cork wildlife park staff into stand-ups in his TV show
Funny business for Bernard at Fota

LAUGHS: Bernard O’Shea at Fota Wildlife Park for Bernard’s Working Comics

HE admits the closest he usually gets to animals is feeding ducks in the local park, so it’s fair to say comedian Bernard O’Shea wouldn’t make a great zookeeper at Fota Wildlife Park.

But the question in the next episode of Bernard’s Working Comics on RTÉ2 on Monday at 9.30pm, is can the Cork park’s zookeepers do his job — and perform a successful stand-up act?

We’re about to find out, as he heads to the East Cork attraction

“My experience to date of working with animals is feeding ducks in the park,” he admits, “I just hope I don’t get eaten by a lion — although, there are a few people who might think that hilarious”.

Bernard may well be scared of the lions, but the zookeepers at Fota are just as afraid of dying on stage when they attempt stand up comedy. Fiona Walsh, 30, of Cork, works with the primates team and is one of Fota’s newest members of staff.

“When you’re working with monkeys, gibbons and lemurs, there’s never a dull moment,” she says. “I’m sure that with Bernard’s help, I can turn that into a stand- up material. I really hope I don’t bomb.”

Bernard is encouraged by the banter among the staff, so he invites a few of the zookeepers to take part in a comedy workshop.

Liam McConville, 32, of Dublin looks after rhinos and giraffes at the park. He says: “I’ve always wanted to do stand up comedy so I’ll be picking Bernard’s brain for his top tips, then I’ll hand over the shovel to see how good he is at picking up rhino poo.“

He is keen to get across his personal view as a carer of precious animals that are endangered. However, Bernard encourages Liam to let his hair down and be more irreverent about the work he takes so seriously. “I just hope I get laughs, rather than get laughed off,” admits Liam.

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