COMEDIAN Des Bishop is touring the country this year with his new show ‘Mia Mamma’ dedicated to his late mother. The comedian finds the funny in processing the loss of his mother for this show.
“I am often asked ‘where do you get your material from?’ The truth is really that I try to see the funny in everything. My mother died in March 2019 and of course, it was sad and grief can be tough sometimes but I saw a lot of funny in that too.“
‘Mia Mama’ has been touring since January and Des chatted with Limerick Post this week. He is enjoying the tour and the experience of bringing a unique subject to the comedy arena.
He was a little apprehensive before the first night of the tour but feedback and reactions have been positive if not necessarily therapeutic.
“The only terrifying bit is in advance of the show. You begin to wonder if it will be a good show.”
“It is nice to get feedback from people who say that they got something from it. Sometimes a comedy show just gives you a laugh and gives you a break and sometimes you can get something from it.”
Des doesn’t claim that the tour is making his grief any easier. He already wrote and toured a show dedicated to his father in 2010 but it does allow the comedian to approach a taboo subject and do something original with it.
“In comedy terms it is almost an ideal subject because you are talking about something that is not done.
“One of the problems with comedy is finding a joke that has not been done before. It’s hard to be original. But when you have a subject that people find uncomfortable to talk about, you know it is going to be original.”
A lifelong hip hop fan, Des is buzzing as his childhood heroes Cypress Hill retweeted one of his posts earlier when we spake.
The comedian has been making good use of social media and uploading video clips to Facebook and Twitter, making podcasts and getting a great reaction to his comedy online. His bit of fooling around and miming to Cypress Hill track ‘Insane in the Membrane’, changing it to ‘Sinn Féin in The Membrane’ in the aftermath of the election has gone viral.
“It took no effort at all. I was on Tic Toc, did this stupid video and it totally takes off. The fact that Cypress Hill retweeted that and having that proximity to your childhood heroes is hilarious.”
Des became a household name with hilarious observations of Irish life through the eyes of an American who came to Ireland as a teenager.
His particular experience of funerals in New York is not that much different from an Irish funeral. His mother’s wake happened in Queens, New York.
Des described his mother’s funeral as the easiest part of the process – the lead up and the weeks after the loss starts to hit home are bigger challenges.
“The easiest part of death is those first couple of days. The easy part is when you are in the haze of immediate grief and the adrenaline kicks in. It’s harder when the craic is over.”
His mother featured in all of Des Bishop’s radio adverts for his shows in Vicar Street in the past. It really was her – not an actor.
Des would write the lines and she would deliver them in her distinctively “take no sh*t – New York attitude.”
And two of those radio slots were winners and recognised at the Irish Radio Advertising Awards.
“My mother was funnier than my dad. My dad was a showman. My mother was very sharp and witty.”
For the last radio ads that Des’s mother voiced, she made a great job of hiding just how ill she had become from him and what little time she had left.
“To my poor dying mother I was saying ‘you gotta deliver that a little slower!’”
Des plied his trade-in comedy in New York a lot in recent years just to be based near his mother. How was it for the Dublin based comic to perform in what might be described as the home of stand up comedy clubs?
“It was exciting playing The Comedy Cellar with Chris Rock sitting at the table or Dave Chapelle on stage and Amy Schemer sitting there.
“You are really in the heart of it. That is exciting, especially when you are holding you own amongst those people.
“That is a bit of an ego boost and it reminds you that though you spent most of your career in Ireland, your standard is up there enough to hold your own.
“I got the zest back to raise my game and not rest on laurels. It was good for that.”