Fat Chancers... and funny too!

Roisin Burke talks to two comical comics heading our way soon.
Fat Chancers... and funny too!
Fat Chancers’ joint comedy tour of Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain.

THE long-awaited ‘Fat Chancers’ joint comedy tour of Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain is kicking off in Cork this January with slagging, messing and top notch humour sure to have audiences laughing from start to finish.

No stranger to television or radio fans, Bernard O’Shea is the co-writer and star of RTÉ2’s Bridget and Eamon with Jennifer Zamparelli, which is about to enter its fourth season and co-host of the RTÉ 2FM Breakfast Republic alongside Zamparelli and Keith Walsh.

Bernard also won the hearts of the nation by appearing on Dancing with the Stars earlier in the year while Karl Spain is a well-known name to Irish TV audiences thanks to his television series Karl Spain Wants A Woman and Karl Spain Wants To Rock.

Karl is also the host of Karnival, a new comedy club in Dolans, Limerick, and has performed extensively in festivals such as Edinburgh Fringe, Kilkenny Cat Laughs, Galway Comedy Festival, and Montreal Just for Laughs.

Bernard and Karl have been firm friends for the past 20 years since meeting at the RTÉ New Comedy Awards in 2000 in Cork. Karl said the inspiration for the combined comedy tour was inspired by the desire to simply have a bit of craic. “We just wanted to get out and do some gigs and have a bit of fun. So we said we’d go to small rooms around the country and do it as a mess and have a bit of a laugh. The idea grew out of that — but then Bernard went away and danced with stars — so now we’ve come back to finish what we set out to do.”

Speaking about the best and worst thing about being on tour Bernard said: “Travel is the worst and being away from the family is difficult as my wife has to pick up the slack. But the best thing for me is that, when I’m on stage and get going, I realise I love stand up.” Answering the same question Karl said: “The best thing about being on tour is probably the time on stage.

“I think I’ve been to most of the places we’re going on tour, although some I haven’t visited in quite a while. I’m looking forward to seeing people I know from around the country coming to the gig.

“The worst thing is having a six-hour drive ahead of you and, if you’re not staying the night, having a six-hour drive home. But no, I really enjoy it. It’s a lifestyle I’ve chosen and, as much as I might complain, I tend not to.”

Fat Chancers’ joint comedy tour of Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain.
Fat Chancers’ joint comedy tour of Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain.

As 2018 comes to a close Bernard and Karl both looked back at the year and plucked one event from it as a highlight and an occasion to remember.

For Bernard, it was the birth of his third child, Seán. which he felt the need to clarify, is not Karl’s and his child… “It’s me and my wife’s child…”

Karl said he did not have a particular one-off highlight. “I did lots of travelling and, if I’ve to pick a favourite trip that didn’t involve my girlfriend, it would probably be my trip to China in March with Kevin McGahern and Fred Cooke.

“We spent two weeks together and had a great time, so the pressure is on Bernard to beat that. Let’s see if Clonakilty and Cork city are as much fun as China.” Looking ahead to 2019, Karl and Bernard have very different approach to the age-old tradition of taking up something new or giving up a vice.

“My resolutions are to drink more, put on weight and become less active — you have to be realistic,” Bernard said, while also acknowledging a number of projects he hoped to find time to work on in 2019. There are a few projects I’d love to develop that I’ve constantly put off because of time pressure but, hopefully, I will get to work on some of them.”

Karl said he has the same New Year’s resolutions every year. “As of yet, I haven’t really honoured them. So just to get fitter, leaner, lose weight, become a better version of myself. Some years you do well with resolutions; others you don’t and start again in January. This year my resolution is to be as funny as I can in the first four months of the year.”

In terms of plans, Karl said he just wants to stay busy. “For 2019 I think my main plan is to stay busy. I am very busy for the first six months of the year, so I hope to make the second six months of 2019 just as busy. We came through some dark times in this country and I think we now deserve some light-hearted relief, so I hope to be part of a group of people that will make others laugh in 2019. The boom is back, baby.”

Discussing the first gig of their tour, which takes place in The Everyman on January 19, Bernard said he was looking forward to performing for a Cork audience.

“Cork is very different. The audience always reacts well to some of the more bizarre stuff too. It’s always funny to witness how much Cork people really, really, really love Cork.” Karl said he loves playing in Cork and enjoys the landscape of the city.

“I like the mixture of the old streets and the new. In many ways, it’s like lots of little villages put together. I’ve been coming to Cork since pretty much when I started my comedy career and, actually, Cork is where I first met Bernard so — yeah it has bad memories as well.”

Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain will be performing their comedy tour ‘Fat Chancers’ at The Everyman on January 19. Tickets at www.facebook.com/fatchancers and follow @fatchancers on Twitter.

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