There’s nothing us Irish love more than a good slagging. Leave it to Tommy Tiernan to gather over 3,000 of us into a tent and lead the mockery of just about every aspect of life in Ireland from the state of our politics to our passion for GAA.
Ireland’s funnyman took to the Marquee stage in Cork wearing a colourfully embroidered shirt and bowler hat, but what caught the audiences’ attention was the replica of a large animal skull which hung behind him.
Nobody questioned the fact that a 30-foot carcass was the backdrop to his opening material, before he explained the meaning behind it.
“By the way, ye are probably wondering what’s going on here behind me,” he said.
“This is a piece I have in commemoration of my mother,” he paused, “It’s her uterus and fallopian tubes,” he said as he was met by bellowing laughter from the crowd.
The comedian’s effortlessly conversational comedy covered a range of topics from the goings-on in Northern Ireland, religious beliefs, being raided in a Dublin-based comedy club and his preferred choice of an RTÉ programme such as Nationwide over Netflix on any given day of the week.
Although conversational in style, Tiernan’s comedy is not such so with his audience. He is simply comfortable with the mic and confident that his material alone will carry him through a full length show.
But leave it to him to think on his feet and handle hecklers in a professional yet comedic fashion when he is forced to do so.
It wasn’t until a heckler in the front of the crowd attempted to steal the spotlight, declaring herself a proud traveller, that he addressed an audience member directly.
He conversed briefly and had all the answers for her, some of which saw him walking on thin ice, but he managed to reign it in just before the ice cracked from beneath him, calling it a bit of “harmless racism”.
A jack of all trades, Tiernan has recently branched out into chat-show hosting, as well as acting, with a recent credit in Channel 4’s comedy Derry Girls, a post he said he is regularly recognised for when out and about.
“This auld one came up to me and said, “are you on the TV?” I said, “no this is real f***ing life, love”.
Tiernan was a good match for his Leeside audience, with every mention of Cork geography receiving a small “whoop” and mockery of the distinct accent met with laughter.
Unafraid to delve into the issue of nationality and identity in Ireland and the current state of our political parties and legislation, Tiernan quipped about the Irish border and the differences between Catholics and Protestants.
Taking the audience to even the darkest of places, touching on important issues as well as relatable scenarios, including the death and funeral of his own mother, he managed to bring the crowd back to a place of ease and amusement which resulted in loud laughter and even snorting which could be heard from across the Lee to as far as Lower Glanmire.
Witty one-liners and the occasional bravery in pushing the boat out with his audience, earned him a standing ovation at the tented venue, proving him a true showman who we hope to see here again very soon.