Farmer Michael and Kathleen: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry

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Stevo and Sinead are Ireland’s online touring comedy success story playing their alter egos Farmer Michael and Kathleen. The duo are in UCH this weekend. Stevo spoke to Limerick Post Newspaper.

FROM doing raps in the character of a farmer at school for the craic to national infamy and international tours and 411,000 fans on Facebook, Stevo and his partner Sinead have risen to comedy success in a few years posting their short, sharp bursts of comedy weekly in the guise of Farmer Michael and Kathleen.

The videos are made in Stevo’s car using a smartphone. Sinead records the sketch and plays the straight guy and sets Farmer Michael off on his latest rant.

The recent video with Farmer Michael calling out Leo Varadkar to the tune of ‘Come Out You Black and Tans’ has got over half a million views.

‘How to tell an Irishman there may be a ‘gay’ in the family’ and ‘There’s no alcoholics in Ireland!’ are among their best and hilariously funny every time you watch them.

In February 2018, as the whole country was on lockdown, the pair made a video clip with Farmer Michael’s car loaded up with bread – ‘The Beast from the East is coming!!! – We’re all going to die Kathleen’. It picked up hundreds of thousands of views (well, we had little else to do that week!) and the pair haven’t looked back since.

Since the videos have gone viral, Stevo and Sinead (both comedians in their own right before Farner Michael and Kathleen took over their lives) have brought their show on the road and Limerick happens to be a happy hunting ground for the Galway based pair.

“We have played Limerick more than any other county. They are brilliant. Always a good crowd!” Stevo told Limerick Post.

In the last four years, the press and TV have picked up on their comedy, JOE.ie, Irish Independent, The Star, The Sun, The Mirror will regularly feature them and the pair have featured on RTE, TV3’s Six O Clock Show, CNN, FOXtv and SKY TV.

In school Stevo would rap in the character of a local farmer. One day he got his brother to record him on the phone for the craic, threw it up on Facebook and the reaction to it was the spark that led to Farmer Michael and Kathleen.

Their social media following keeps growing with Facebook being the biggest followed by Instagram and YouTube.

The live show has a lot of storytelling and a few of the classic sketches will always happen.

“There are shouts from the crowd to do their favourite. You find your way as you are going along.”

So has Stevo experience working as a farmer?

“No. Never worked on a farm. My mother and father would have come from farming stock.”

In fact Stevo studied to be an accountant after school.

“I studied accountancy. I hated it. I f*ckin hated it.” Laughs.

He was a painter in the mid-00s when a motorbike crash left Stevo with life changing injuries. He uses crutches and sometimes a wheelchair today.

Because the sketches are recorded in a car, many of Farmer Michael and Kathleen fans are unaware of his situation.

Their sketch ‘Disabled people should be kept in homes, Kathleen, so I don’t have to look at them!’ caused controversy with trolling and even death threats arriving in Stevo’s inbox.

It was satire and the fact that Stevo was finding humour in his own condition and the fact the video was hashtagged with makewayday (awareness of the challenges those with disabilities face) seemed to go over many people’s heads.

Comments such as ‘I hope you never end up in a wheelchair’ littered his timeline

“They got thick, thinking I’m mocking people in a wheelchair.

“Shut up to f*ck.

“You have to pull the piss out of yourself. If you don’t laugh you’ll cry.” Stevo is learning to ignore the trolls but it is not always easy.

“You would always have one or two coming out. You would ignore 199 positive comments and you will see the one that will catch you. I suppose that is just the way you are inclined.”

With his partner Sinead, the duo have played live on many occasions in Limerick and always have a great night. Her role is very obviously vital to making the rude, racist, sexist Farmer Michael the character we can all laugh at.

“It couldn’t be done without her. She’s the one that keeps me in check. She reels me in when I go off on a rant, grabs me and shouts ‘shut up Michael!’”

Farmer Michael and Kathleen are live at University Concert Hall on Friday January 31.