Fresh off the plane from New Zealand, having spent two weeks doing stand up in Wellington and Auckland, Jarlath Regan is now kicking back in preparation for the long weekend that is ahead - the Carlsberg Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.
This is the beginning of the comedy season in Kilkenny and with the new box office now open on Patrick St tickets are already beginning to fly out the door for the more popular comedians. However, the great thing about the Cat Laughs is that you will always get a well known comic billed with a not-so well known act and more often than not this is an excellent experience.
Regan is a pro at this stage having spent four of his June bank holidays in Kilkenny to date as a performer and many more prior to that as a member of the audience admiring the comedians, who have since become his friends.
Regan spent his pre-comedian days working as a graphic designer until he became a product of the downturn and was let go from his job. Having spent his night time hours doing a little stand up, Jarlath decided that it was now or never, and if he was keen to make a go of it - this was his chance.
“I just knew that I had been bluffing in my day job as it just never felt right and so when I was let go, I came home that day and said I’m going to do this. And you know when you put your mind to something - it often works out.”
Beginning like almost every other comedian at the International Bar in Dublin, Regan found his feet and began taking his hobby seriously. It became evident that he was a serious contender on the comedy scene when he was a finalist in the BBC and Channel 4 new comedy awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today he is recognised as the “one to watch” in the new generation of exciting comedians emerging from Ireland. Every Cat Laughs festival is like the first for Jarlath as he gets excited about the event weeks in advance.
“There is so much laughter in Kilkenny - there must be so many endorphins released which is probably a factor in why people are so happy in Kilkenny and love the festival so much, I really believe that!” he laughs.
“On a serious note, comedians do feel privileged to be invited to Kilkenny for this festival and when you see the international comedians and the high profiles that they have, you really do feel lucky. It makes you work hard throughout the year.”
Regan is very excited about the new programme for 2010 which he thinks ‘has a vast variety of quality comedians along with the rock solid regulars that always deliver.’
He compliments Rebecca Austin, the new festival director this year, following the departure of Eddie Bannon to pastures new and the departure of Richard Cooke - festival founder.
“Rebecca is a great person. I can’t wait to see what this year brings. Already as I look at the programme I am very excited about the two sketch acts which are new to Kilkenny. The Pajama Men and Idiots of Ants are going to be a huge hit I think - they are something different and if that’s what you’re after - these two are the perfect acts to see.”
Regan, although high up on the list of people’s preferences in the line of stand up, also has another string to his bow. He is a talented animator and cartoonist and he has already published one book of greeting cards How To Break Bad News - which was the seventh best-selling humour book of 2009 in Ireland. Now to top that he is working on his second book with much-needed input from his new wife - What Not To Do When You Get Married.
“This is another fun book with tips and hints for couples thinking of marriage. It’s full of fun advice and comic drawings. I think it’s fun and my wife has been helping me with this one - so it should be out in the foreseeable future.”
So how does Regan find the success of comedy?
“It has been great for me. The trick is really not to be seen to be trying too hard. If you look like you are uncomfortable, the audience will definitely feel that and feel uncomfortable too. You want to look like you are having a good time and the people who love comedy have a good time and go far as a result.”
So keep your eyes peeled for Jarlath Regan who will be in Kilkenny for the Carlsberg Cat Laughs comedy festival starting on the Thursday night of the June Bank Holiday week in five different venues check out www.Carlsbergcatlaughs.com or call into the box office for tickets.