Comedian Al Porter has become a regular guest on national television and radio in 2015, his debut headline show in March at Vicar Street sold out so fast that a further two extra nights have been booked at the 1,000 seater venue. Established comedians have called him: “bleeding gas”- Jason Byrne, “actually makes me laugh” – David McSavage, and “nicest, funniest lad around” – PJ Gallagher. Quite a list of achievements when you realise Al Porter is 22 years-old and only doing comedy for two and a half years!!
by Eric FitzGerald
AL PORTER is a true gentleman, a bundle of energy, very polite and his sense of style harks back to an era when performers would wear a smart suit, shirt and tie on stage.
“I was a strange one to come out of Tallaght, I was like Alan Partridge without the irony. That’s what my friends like to slag me about”, laughs Al.
Al’s love of dressing smart and performing goes right back to his childhood.
“When I was a kid I was always shopping in Communion wear shops. That’s actually true! Up to Confirmation age, my mother would buy me Confirmation suits. I would get to make up a new Confirmation name in every shop. I was Xavier, Alexander, Francis, Padre Pio,
“I have always loved to be sharply dressed. It makes me feel comfortable. And I get a bit of attention for it.”
Though Al has only done stand up for a couple of years he has performed on stage since he was a kid. “Like the ABBA song says ‘I was a dancer before I could walk’. Open the fridge and I’ll do twenty minutes.”
Al has been resident Panto Dame and comic lead at the Olympia Theatre for the past ten years. He was overall winner of the Leinster School of Music and Drama Excellence Award in 2009.
In Limerick this weekend you will get to see material written for Al’s new show ‘Al Porter All Yours’. He has performed in Limerick just once before for at a charity bash run by Karl Spain.
“Karl and myself meet every Wednesday in Dublin. He is in town for his slot on The Tom Dunne Show and picks me up from my slot on 2fm and we bash around ideas and stuff.”
One of those ideas was to preview his new show in the city. Al wanted to use Limerick to road test the show as he has always identified with the Limerick people.
“Coming from Tallaght, I understand the feeling that Limerick people have, producing all this amazing talent and all anyone wants to talk about is negative press, the bad reputation.
“I actually think it’s a great thing to be able to take the piss out of ourselves about this bad reputation. A lot of creativity comes out of a circumstance where you have to use your imagination or you want to prove a point.”
Al Porter’s shtick is not full of worthy political statements, nothing could be further from the truth. Al’s onstage banter is fun and light hearted, more akin to the way neighbours chat over a fence in Ballyfermot. “It’s chatty, catty and conspiratorial and it’s me, so it’s camp,” he laughs. “The show is all about me, extremely self obsessed. Its like personal therapy up there!”
You will hear stories about Al’s mis-adventures on dating Apps like Tinder, on being mugged in Tallaght and finding his mugger quite attractive!
Al’s relative inexperience does not show when he is onstage in full flow but Al, like PJ Gallagher who spoke to Limerick Post recently, do sometimes face pre-gig nerves. Al remembers a show in Vicar Street in 2014 headlined by Jason Byrne and Eddie Izzard where he was definitely buzzing with nerves backstage.
“PJ Gallagher was there with his head in his hands and I was pacing around the shared greenroom doing my jokes at the other comedians. They were going ‘Shut up Al, we don’t care’.”
Both Al and PJ were both asked to leave the room, they were making everyone nervous.
Al appeared on the short lived RTÉ panel show ‘Next Week’s News’ and got loads of airtime proving he could mix it with the more experienced hacks. He recently appeared on The Saturday Night Show reviewing ‘50 Shades of Grey’ with Mary O’Rourke and will be part of new panel show ‘Hey Ho Let’s Go’ this week. He is getting more confident with every engagement.
“I did an appearance for ‘Hey Ho Let’s Go’ the other night and felt much more relaxed. The pressure of the occasion wasn’t there anymore. I wanted to do good. But I also thought, if it doesn’t go well, F*ck It. You start to put things into perspective. You go, This isn’t the end of the world.”
Onstage with Al on Friday are musical comedy duo Totally Wired. Porter tells me they are absolutely brilliant – “They cut their chops in the pub circuit. They are in the show for one or two sketches.”
Al Porter with MC Karl Spain and guests Totally Wired perform at Dolan’s Warehouse this Friday February 27.