Former Limerick TD makes his comedy debut

Former Limerick Fine Gael TD Tom Neville

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”

Shakespeare’s sentiments certainly ring true for former Limerick Fine Gael TD Tom Neville, who has taken to plying his wares on a different stage since losing his Dáil seat in the 2020 General Election.

The Croagh man, who trained professionally as an actor in Sydney, is married to former Fair City star Jenny Dixon. In 2015 he received a nomination for Best Monologue at the Richard Harris International Film Festival for his performance as heroin addict Mark Renton, made famous by Ewan McGregor in cult hit movie ‘Trainspotting’.

Neville is also on the books of leading acting agency Northern Gold PM, a UK-based firm representing actors across television, film and theatre, including legendary British soap Coronation Street.

Tom has predominantly worked in film to date but admits to loving the feedback from a live audience, and working on the edge. He is no shrinking violet when it comes to moving outside his comfort zone to try new things either.

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The former politician recently took to the stage at The Workman’s Club in Dublin for his debut comedy performance.

“I have been studying comedy in the Gaiety School so this was my debut. Stand up comedy is one of the most difficult things I have ever done,” he tells the Limerick Post.

“As the closing act I was completely outside my comfort zone. It was great to get a few laughs from the crowd. My current material examines how we can be easily duped by fake news on social media, while I also put a humorous slant on some experiences I had myself during lockdown.”

Tom sees stand up comedy as a creative way of communicating and connecting with people.

“Anything that helps engage with people aids in politics or business.  It allows you to examine nuances and look at issues from different perspectives.”

Neville has also recently played a role in feature film ‘The Gates’, directed by Limerick’s Steve Hall. He considers it an honour to have acted alongside John Rhys Davies in the film.

“I learned so much from our encounters both on and off screen,” he explained.

But Tom still misses the amateur theatrics of the political arena.

“I miss political representation very much. I still get phone calls from people who would have come to myself and my father through the years. It’s really hard when you know how to help them but don’t have the position or tools to do so.   

“Being out of a job and going into lockdown was not a good place, but people have dealt with so much more health wise. During lockdown I started a sales/marketing and video production consultancy business based in Adare. The first year was really challenging and a huge learning curve. I now live the everyday challenges a self-employed person faces, but also enjoy it. I’m very grateful to my clients both at home and abroad,” he says.

As for comedy, Tom is up for more gigs and is currently auditioning for film roles while working day-to-day on the business.

“However, an election date, no matter how far away, is always close to mind. Let’s see what the future brings,” he adds.