A popular Co Laois and a Limerick comedy duo are taking to the stage at the Westgrove Hotel in Clane within weeks.
Durrow native, Bernard O’Shea, after proving he has two left feet on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars, is returning to his close friend and comrade, Karl Spain, of Limerick.
The duo have been touring around Ireland since since January performing Fat Chancers, their own stand up comedy creation.
Father of three Bernard O’Shea (39), never thought growing up in Durrow that he would become a stand up comedian and broadcaster. However, from the age of 20, that was to change. He won a competition and part of the prize was to support comedians Joe Rooney and Pat McDonnell.
He said: “I had an idyllic childhood growing up in Laois. It was a good base for comedy.”
Bernard began to do stand up during his time studying Cultural Studies at Dundalk IT.
Now he is no stranger to television and radio fans, he is the co-writer and star of RTE2’s Bridget and Eamon with Jennifer Zamparelli, which is about to enter its fourth season, and co-host of the RTE 2FM breakfast show, Breakfast Republic, alongside Zamparelli and Keith Walsh.
Bernard is a former host of The Republic of Telly and has made regular appearances on The Panel, The Naked Camera, Just for Laughs and The Byrne Ultimatum, amongst other shows. Since winning the Harp Newcomer Comedy Award in 2000, Bernard has become a regular at the Cat Laughs comedy festival in Kilkenny and the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. His Edinburgh Fringe debut received five star reviews.
Bernard says he is most proud of the series Bridget and Eamon.
He said: “To get four series out of a sitcom, I am very proud of that.”
Becoming a successful broadcaster and comedian has not always been easy, says Bernard, and making a living is a challenge, at the beginning.
He said: “Financially at the start, it is a slog. You have to work hard at it, you don’t have to be positive, the best stand-ups are really negative.”
Bernard would not like to see his children follow a career in comedy.
He said: “I would like them to get a pensionable full-time job. You have to give your twenties to it, and this can be risky. If you decide that you don’t like it, after 10 years, it can be very difficult to get another job.”
Karl Spain says he never sees himself retiring. Getting set for a week’s tour in China soon, he did not start stand-up comedy until the age of 28.
He said: “Why would I retire?”
Working six or seven days a week is when Karl is happiest, however, he regrets not seeing the soccer, sometimes clashing with his gigs.
Karl lives with his girlfriend Rachel who he met over 13 years ago, while doing a TV show on how to find a girlfriend. He would recommend this route of finding a girlfriend for everyone.He was 33, she was 26.
He says that comedy was a ‘calling’ or a ‘vocation’ for him.
Initially, he thought that he wanted to be a journalist and it was during his time as a mature student at Coláiste Dhúlaigh in Dublin, that he began stand-up.
He said: “I was a shy child, I never thought that I would be able to do it.”
Initially he thought that he would be better behind the camera but after comedian Des Bishop gave him 20 quid back around the year 2000, for a 10 minutes slot, he kept up the stand up.
A well-known name to Irish TV audiences thanks to his television series Karl Spain Wants a Woman, Karl Spain Wants to Rock, and his appearance on Celebrity Operation Transformation. Other television credits include Liffey Laughs, The Late Late Show, The Panel, Tubridy Tonight, The Afternoon Show and The Offside Show. A stand-up comic for 15 years, Karl is the host of Karnival, the new comedy club, every Wednesday in Dolans Warehouse and is a regular performer at Kilkenny Cat Laughs, the Galway Comedy Festival, theVodafone Comedy Festival, Cork Comedy Fest, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Montreal Just for Laughs. He has toured extensively abroad, including Australia, the U.S., Middle East and South Africa. In addition to his own stand-up career, Karl was resident writer for Republic of Telly, writes for countless other comedians and has written the Olympia Theatre pantomime in previous years.
Fat Chancers is at the Westgrove Hotel, Clane, on Saturday, March 2.
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