Love him or hate him, Tommy Tiernan has become one of Ireland’s most successful stand up comics over the past decade. While controversy has occasionally followed him in his career, Tiernan has continued to pack them in across the country and world-wide. In the lead up to Christmas he has just released his new DVD Crooked Man, filmed in City Limits in Cork, and is on a nationwide tour which will have its last pre-Christmas stop in The Royal Theatre, Castlebar, on December 22.
While the new DVD is a laugh out loud trip through the mind and experiences of Tiernan, the current Poot Tour is a new show packed full of new material. Tiernan took some time out from his cross country travels to talk to the Mayo Advertiser ahead of his gig in Castlebar in two weeks’ time. Coming back to Mayo and being among the people is something that Tiernan enjoys, as he explains. “I do get a great comfort in Mayo, its people and its big sky, thinking you only have to go out and have a look around the place to see it. It's like Galway but without the pressure you could say. The Tiernans come from Mayo in the past, it's somewhere that I feel like home.”
The 12 date tour across the country will take Tiernan to the four corners of the country, and even in these dozen dates each show will see it change from one to the next he says. “The tour will start off in one way but over the course of the tour it evolves and becomes something completely different by the end of it. Touring Ireland is great, the crowds are good, it also lets me get home between the shows which is great too, unlike when you’re touring in the likes of Australia or the USA.”
Every stand up comic has to put up with a few hecklers in the crowd, but sometimes, as Tiernan admits, the lines they come out with can be as funny as the punch lines he is delivering on stage, as he retold one recent experience. “I did a gig in Cheltenham in England on a tour there a while ago. It was a good show, we got about 600 people into the theatre which was a great crowd and it was a great show. But the promoter for some reason booked a 3,000 seater theatre. If you put 600 people in a theatre designed for 500 it's looks amazing, but when you put 600 into one for 3,000 it looks a bit sparse. So I was going on with the show and doing my thing, asked was there many here from Ireland. A big roar came up from the crowd. So I asked how are ye getting on over here. I could see this one fella looking over and back in the crowd and he goes “Better than you by the looks of things.” It was a great line and a real Irish thing to say.
With Ireland in a different place economically since he first rose to fame, Tiernan thinks that the wash of money that was flowing through the country during the Celtic Tiger sat well with people, and that there was a tinge of guilt in the Irish consciousness about the extravagance that was going on during those years.
“I wouldn't say that we've lost our innocence, but it's we had our time when everyone had money and we went mad. Everyone enjoyed themselves, but it sort of didn't sit well with the Irish people, we're more used to having other people being in charge, be it the British or the Church, we sort of like to have other people take responsibility for us. But times are tough for people, there is no doubt about that, but it's important that we don't let ourselves get depressed about it, but the Irish people aren't like that, we're a great race of people who will always be positive about it all, I think, and you could see the link between the likes of Irish, Polish, Spanish, Italian, and Mexican people, the Catholic countries. There is that kind of state of mind, you know we love to go out and enjoy ourselves but then we feel guilty about it after.”