‘First time I did standup I thought I’d have to call an ambulance

Comedian Stevo Timothy - aka Farmer Michael

Stevo Timothy - aka Farmer Michael

Stevo Timothy - aka Farmer Michael

"I took some silage down in Loughrea, to show the farmers I'm no fool. I got plenty money in the bank, I got a new slurry tank and I'm sitting at the bar on a stool."

The lyrics of Stevo Timothy's - aka Farmer Michael - parody of Mike Posner's mega hit 'I took a Pill in Ibiza', which has taken the Westside native's cult figure status in Galway to a national level overnight. But the 34-year-old comedian is no one hit viral video wonder. He has been breaking the internet and entertaining the social media masses for the past 12 months with hilarious Farmer Michael sketches, brilliant reinterpretations of popular songs, calling out UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor, and starring in the comical short film Try Hard with Irish rugby international Simon Zebo as well as performing live standup here in the city.

With the events of the past year, one could be forgiven for assuming that Timothy has been readying himself for the comedy scene from a young age but according to the man himself it was not a path he intended to take. "Did I want to become a comedian? It is a hard one to answer I suppose. The lads used to say I was funny, the usual stereotypical thing. I used to rap in a farmer accent and one day I thought I would just go for it and I recorded myself doing it. It blew up and I guess I kind of went along with it."

Painter was Timothy's vocation before an unfortunate motorbike crash left him temporarily paralysed. "About 11 years ago I lost control of my motorbike in Mervue and damaged my neck and back; mostly spinal injuries. I broke a few other bones as well but they're not important," he chuckles with an upbeat tone. "I still use crutches and I would have to use a wheelchair the odd time. There will always be that after effect."

After recovering Timothy went to NUI Galway where he studied philosophy and arts and obtained a Master's in ethics and culture. "I was planning on becoming one of those elderly lecturers who roam around the hall talking to himself. I was going to do a PhD. I had a proposal ready but that's on the back burner for a while. I don't know if I could hack doing another four years."

'Ah will ya F-off?'

Timothy's character of Farmer Michael; an elderly farmer who has a hatred of anyone and everyone that is not himself; is the Galwayman's most successful comedic routine to date, as videos of the farmer giving out about everyday life have amassed tens of thousands of views on the comedian's social media pages. "He is not really based on anyone," states Timothy. "I suppose he's an amalgamation of friends' dads, my uncles, and a bit of my dad thrown into the mix there. He has formed himself over the years I would say."

One of the tirades saw the farmer call out Conor McGregor, who Timothy eventually met in Galway. "It was well received but I'm not sure if he ever saw it. I met him in the town and that went viral. I said to him I made the video calling you out to which he responded 'Ah will ya F-off?'. I wasn't too sure what that meant," he laughs. "But I'm sure some of his people have had to have seen it because it was published by JOE.ie and a number of other websites."

Notwithstanding how well Farmer Michael's rants have been received, the covering of Posner's number one tune and the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air among others, has seen Timothy's notoriety hit new heights with more than 650,000 hits on the video for "I took some silage down in Loughrea" alone. But the success of the video came as a surprise to Timothy as he says the video was made on impulse after hearing the song on the radio. "I think I was driving up the road to collect a friend or someone. I did a 10 second first version and around 400,000 people watched that. But people were messaging me and certain media outlets were asking for a full version to share so I went back and put a few words together. But the original was really off the cuff."

He continues to reinterpret songs in his own colourful way with the aforementioned Bel-Air tune modified for 'The Prince of Ballinasloe' and 50 cent's 'In Da Club' remixed for 'In Da Bog'. "I'm probably going to do a version of 'Stan' by Eminem. It just has to be done," states Timothy.

The popularity of the skits even led to a cameo alongside Simon Zebo in Elverys take on Bruce Willis' Die Hard. "The guys from Elverys just watched some of my videos and they said they wanted to reach a younger audience so they rang me one day and dragged me up to Castlebar and that was it, I was in Try Hard. It was exciting."

His work has been officially recognised with nominations in 2015 and 2016 for the OMiG (Online marketing in Galway ) awards. "I don't know how seriously I'm taken but I guess it's a kind of recognition. It's cool to be recognised and to be against local businesses." However, despite the opportunity to win an award, Timothy gladly threw his lot behind another candidate. "This year there were 10 finalists and they were all local businesses except for me and ACT for Meningitis. I put an ad up on my page saying that 'I'm honoured but I couldn't accept it. Please vote for ACT for Meningitis', but unfortunately they didn't win."

However, with a stand up career bubbling along nicely and an ever popular satirical news site 'Galway Daily News' to run, the comedian may regulate the amount of Farmer Michael videos he produces. "If they are in demand then it makes sense to do more videos, but I do not want to do too many because people can become sick of them and I don't want to be known as the guy who does the Farmer Michael music videos."

Just blame the crowd

Driven by the success and support of his online antics, Timothy made the leap onto the stage and performs stand up comedy. "I have only started to do stand up gigs in the last five or six months," he reveals. "It's a lot different to the videos as you can imagine. It's a totally different game really. There is definitely more pressure on the stage."

And what about the live audience? He laughs, "Obviously you fear that you might not get any laughter but it happens and if a show does pan out like that you just blame the crowd."

It may come as a surprise that despite doing stand up, Timothy is a rather shy person. "I wouldn't be a naturally confident person. The first time I did stand up I nearly had a panic attack. I seriously thought I'm going to have to ring for an ambulance. I suffer panic attacks and anxiety. I'm not exaggerating when I say I genuinely thought I was going to die on stage I was that nervous.

"And standing up as well. It's quite tricky in its own right for me," he quips, making light of the fact he needs crutches from time to time, "and my dislike of social situations on the whole. But I guess I'm stubborn at the same time because it's something I enjoy."

Now behind every good man, there is a good woman and Timothy credits his girlfriend Sinead with pushing him to do comedy. "She's very supportive. To be honest I wouldn't do the videos or the stand up without her encouragement." Sinead herself does stand up as well and both of them appear on stage with friend Andrew Collins at Monroe's 'Laughter Gaff' on a monthly basis.

Although the live routine is going well for the Galwayman, he unsure if it is something he wishes to pursue long term. "Live at Apollo? Oh God no. I'd sh*t myself. I don't know what I want, to be honest. I haven't really thought that far ahead. I suppose I would like to have a few more successful videos and hopefully make a living out of it."

Check out Stevo Timothy's sketches on his Facebook page: Sir Stevo Timothy or see him live at Monroe's Laughter Gaff June 19.

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