Comedy meets poignancy in Bishop’s new show

Des and his Dad Michael Bishop at Croke Park in 2005.

Des and his Dad Michael Bishop at Croke Park in 2005.

Des Bishop is back on the road, with his latest intriguingly titled show, My Dad Was Nearly James Bond. Inspired by his father’s recent diagnosis of lung cancer, the show combines comedy and poignancy in this tale of a remarkable life tinged with regret.

Des recently performed his new show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he received numerous five star reviews. Having spent the best part of the last year in New York with his family, Des is looking forward to getting back on the road in his second home and hitting venues around the country, including Mullingar Arts Centre this Saturday and the Dean Crowe, Athlone on November 27.

“Gigging outside of Ireland is not the same as coming back to Ireland; there are people here who have been coming to my shows for years,” says Des.

“I am coming on the Irish tour more prepared this time. I have taken the show and tried it in other places before taking it on the road here; I usually do it the other way around. It takes time to evolve, but it went down great in Edinburgh and Australia.”

With the show featuring footage of his Dad’s acting days, pictures from Des’ childhood, and focusing on his father’s illness, it is a very personal undertaking for the popular Irish American comedian.

“A lot of this show is about my Dad, who was an actor and model before I was born, and who was asked to audition for James Bond when George Lazenby got the part. He gave up all that when we were born - the show is about that, about growing up, about my relationship with my Dad and how it changed when I found out he was terminally ill. I look at the humour of that, how it changes a family, how he has changed. The show takes universal themes such as family, illness, taking care of someone.

“It is entirely different to my other shows, there is no comparison. I left the emotion in, I am not afraid to be emotional. I don’t try to make things funny when they are not. The humour works as I am not being flippant or dismissive, so it comes from a place of true human emotion. The show has space to be funny, sad, and nostalgic,” he adds.

The show is certainly a new departure for the comedian who made his name through his unique style of observational comedy, and TV series such as Des Bishop’s Work Experience and In the Name of the Fada. Des is hoping the show will be all the more effective as the Irish public already feel they know him so well.

“I was worried about touring it in Ireland as people have preconceived notions what it is about. In New York people identified with the childhood stuff and the pictures, but in Ireland people have been seeing me for so long they feel they want to know about my life, to see how I looked at 14. In Ireland the show is a bit looser and lighter, so that when it is emotional it is more effective.

“People know I like joking about things people don’t normally joke about. This is at the core of what the show is about, the poignancy. It is impossible to describe.”

Des Bishop’s show My Dad Was Nearly James Bond comes to Mullingar Arts Centre this Saturday November 6, and to the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone on Saturday November 27. For tickets for the Mullingar show call (044 ) 9347777 and for the Athlone date call (090 ) 6492129.


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