Tommy Tiernan staunchly declaims his licence as a comedian to say the unsayable and embrace the unpredictable. The suggestion of danger and the unexpected is regularly alluded to and having generated controversy in the past the possibility exists here.
“I just keep talking until people start laughing,” he explains at one point. While introducing the show he playfully wonders: “what could go wrong?” Citing the late visionary philosopher John Moriarty’s habit of climbing Mangerton Mountain to greet the sun at dawn every morning, a commitment made on behalf of those in hospitals who were unable to do so, Tiernan insists he is here to perform a similar function for us.
However, these extravagant claims aren’t met by his series of true-life tales involving encounters with enigmatic hitchhikers in the North, elderly women in churches and a ‘mad’ friend’s attempt at running a marathon. Invested with a surfeit of detail, these anecdotes are at best merely diverting. If a stranger cornered you with these you’d be scanning for the nearest exit.
A ten-day retreat he took at a Buddhist centre was disrupted when he noted the woman in front of him was wearing a thong, of all things.
“Why don’t I just whip out my lad?” he bawls. Whatever, Tommy.
Tiernan’s better when dealing with spontaneous remarks from the crowd. And stronger still on more quick-fire musings such as his hatred of old people, his preference for losing his sense of sight over smell (“I’ve seen it all!”) and the excessive cash amounts kids receive for their First Communion.
“€800?” he explodes. “No wonder the refugees are swimming to get over.” He loves Cork, of course, but not Youghal. “And Dunmanway can f**k off as well,” he quips. “The only place where animals live inside the house and the people outside.”