Tommy Tiernan’s Tour of Limerick

Comedian Tommy Tiernan is a risk taker with a high energy, non-apologetic delivery that continually challenges his audience. He spoke to Limerick Post this week about making up his show on the spot and his recent European tour documentary.

“A spontaneous combustion of mouth and mind,” is how Tommy describes the previous night’s show, talking on the phone from Virginia in Cavan. His new series of shows will take in multiple visits to Limerick over the summer.

TT_ApprovedPicForWorldToursThis time around there is a twist to Tommy’s performances. “I’ve been doing these shows recently where I don’t know what I’m going to say until I’m up there on the stage. And last night was one of them. They are wilder and they are a bit more helter skelter. It’s a case that your energy is right for the evening because you can’t plan it and the difficulty is trying to stop yourself from planning it. Your mind can’t help itself from trying to orchestrate what you are going to say.”
This is the experimental approach that Tommy brought on his recent European tour which was filmed for a documentary by RTÉ.
His European tour started in Estonia, doing 12 shows in 12 days in 12 different countries. Tommy made the show up every night on the spot. Tommy explains that the tour brought him to unknown territory physically and mentally with the challenge of making up a show on the spot.
“It’s amazing the stuff that comes out of you when you are under that pressure. Stuff that if you were being gentle on yourself you would never come up with. When your back is against the wall and the firing squad is there, it’s amazing what dance moves you invent.”
The tour that took in Paris, Austria and Sweden was performed mostly to natives of the country, though there were always a few Irish in the audience. “I’d say, if you did a show for Eskimos in an igloo, two of them would be Irish.”
The reaction from the audience for these unprepared shows was a mix of something they had never seen before and an appreciation of the effort and intrigue at the experience of it.
“When you hit funny spontaneously, it’s funnier than prepared funny. It’s a much more risky evening but more compelling, more demanding for me as well.”
RTÉ sent a documentary crew out with Tommy to follow his adventure into the unknown. It is being edited at the moment and will air in the Autumn.
Tommy is also working on a series from Sky TV and will be taking time in August to work on the script about a psychiatric patient who arrives home to stay with his mother.
While Tommy is always re-inventing his stand-up and taking it to a whole new place with these experimental shows, does he often get asked to tell some of his classic stories?
“You get requests for ‘Zebedee up the Tree’ and ‘Declan Moffit’ but I’m not at that stage of my career yet where I’m doing the greatest hits, if even such a thing exists. People might think they might want to hear the old stuff, but if you gave it to them, they’d be awful disappointed, you have to keep them on their toes.”
Tommy Tiernan’s World Tour of Limerick will be the last of his ‘World Tour’ series, which have played every county twice over at this stage. He says that it is time to re-invent the format after that but he is adamant it has been a great way to see the country. Tommy is a keen rambler off stage as well. He discovered the Ballyhoura Way and The East Clare Way along the River Shannon during last year’s visits.
“It is more interesting. It is a better way of getting to see the city, a better way of experiencing the county, rather than doing the same room over and over again.
“You could play Dolan’s, then Southill and then Thomond Park. You are kept on your toes the whole time. When you tour as a way of life, it’s much more interesting to do it this way.
Tommy Tiernan’s World Tour of Limerick takes in Strand Hotel, Ennis Road May 17; Southill Area Centre, May 18; Dolan’s, June 5; Thomond Park, June 6; Lime Tree Theatre, June 7; Woodlands House Hotel, Adare September 4; Bulgaden Castle, Kilmallock, September 5; Devon Inn, Templeglantine, September 6.