IT’S all about the numbers, says online sketch comedy creator, Daragh Twomey, whose new video series, Cafe, is available to watch online.
The series began on Friday, August 13, with a new episode being released every week, up to September 3, after which he hopes it can be binge-watched.
Daragh, 26, originally from Carrigaline and now living in Cork city, says: “All distributors really care about is how many people you can draw in before they’ll invest in you.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest screen-writer or the best actor of all time nowadays. Once you’ve proven yourself, then you’ll be able to open up pitch meetings.”
Daragh, whose day job is in customer service for a multi-national, has more than 7,000 followers on Facebook. He joined Tik-Tok in 2019. By late 2020, his videos started to go viral and he now has 485,000 followers on the app.
“I’ve been doing sketches for a few years now. It’s a case of don’t get your hopes up,” he says.
“You have to absolutely love what you’re doing.”
With a BA in multi-media from CIT (now MTU), Daragh works as a freelance videographer on top of his call centre job. His passion lies in making comedy.
“I’ve been making sketches on my own and with my best friend, Steve Collins, for years. About a year ago, when things started going well for me on Tik-Tok, I knew I wanted to make something bigger and better in the sense of hiring a crew and actors and being on an actual set, rather than pretending to be on one in a bedroom or a kitchen at home. I wanted to make a series.
“Obviously, Cafe is low budget because I’m making it with my own money. In the grand scheme of things, I want at some point in my life to get to the stage where I’m producing a TV show or a Netflix show. But you don’t just get lucky to achieve that. You need to work hard. Making a series like Cafe is part of the challenge. I just want to start making stuff on a bigger production scale.”
What can viewers expect from Cafe, which is set in Alchemy on Barrack Street?
“It’s about two millennial upstarts who are working in a cafe. It’s fairly straightforward. There isn’t any grand narrative. Myself and Steve play the two fellows. People love watching workplace drama. The US Office is as relevant as ever. With my two characters, you throw in the bit of conflict which is that they’re terrible at their jobs.
“In each episode, there are scenarios like running out of coffee beans and not knowing what making an order is. The characters try to work their way around problems but it’s a disaster every time.”
The series was filmed over a couple of hours outside business hours. Daragh, who is a fan of Monty Python and the Scottish comedian Limmy, says his comedy generally includes “silliness and a bit of chaos. But with the Cafe series, it’s a little more straight, more middle-of-the-road. It’s not too surreal or cerebral. I didn’t want to go straight into madness. I wanted to make it accessible, to attract a wider audience.”
A fan of local sketch comedian, Tadgh Hickey, Daragh reached out to him and succeeded in getting him to play a character for one of the episodes. The character is that of a nice guy who spends a lot of time in the cafe.
“He’s not buying anything but the guys can’t kick him out because he’s too nice. Tadhg was an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Daragh also likes the work of Catherine Tate, Mitchell and Webb and Brass Eye.
“I didn’t necessarily grow up with these acts but since my early twenties, I started to find them and knew I wanted to make that kind of stuff. I’ve really been inspired by Aunty Donna. They’re on the more crazy absurd side of things.”
Looking back at his days in primary school, Daragh says he was always trying to be the class clown.
“Whether I was or not is debatable. I was always really interested in comedy. It wasn’t a goal for a career path. But I suppose when I was wrapping up college, I had been in a band called Wasted Space and I naively thought we would make it. When the band started to wrap up, I needed a new creative outlet. I started to move towards YouTube vlogs. That led to sketch comedy. I like to have a creative outlet, whatever I’m doing. It’s my number one priority.”
Asked if he has made any moves towards getting on TV, Daragh says: “No. It’s kind of the case that I wouldn’t really know where to start. All I know is online, but you’d never know. I’ve been online for years. It’s kind of the place to be. But it’s a stepping stone, I would hope.
“If Cafe does well, maybe the next series I do, or the fourth or fifth one, will get funding so that I can hire a cast and crew rather than just having friends involved.
“To be able to get on the likes of Netflix or Prime, it’s all about the statistics.
“I would hope that in years to come, I’d have a number of productions under my belt. Even if I don’t make it on TV, it doesn’t matter. I want to be able to look back on this period and be glad to have got to create good stuff.”
You can follow Daragh on social media at: