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Stand Up Ireland – You’re In An Awful State, Are’nt Ya?

Ciaran McMahon Stand Up Ireland

Was there a war in Heaven? Have we pissed off the gods? Why is it no longer raining smarties and lemonade! Come on Willy Wonka – throw us a bone!

Well, what can we say? The country is going through withdrawal! I didn’t notice much difference myself but I did notice the absence – of fun! People were miserable and subdued for a year, but that’s just like a massive hangover, we drank every latte we could get our hands on. The money is gone – was it ever there? And there ain’t no cure but to get out for a walk and not touch a drop, at least ‘til Christmas next year!

If you need cheering up, whatever you do, don’t read Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. It is the most miserable read about the Great Depression you could ever pick up! Granted, it does say that on the back– so what would you expect? But you end up in a staring match with the book to see who breaks first, either the book gets good on the next page, it hits the wall or you just give up!

It begins where the migrant workers of Oklahoma have nothing. The crops failed, the soil started to blow away, great fun. So they all pile Will-Bill-Hester-Chester, the other kids and the grand-folks into the Beverly Hillbillies mobile. They nearly run over a turtle- but they don’t. They slowly cross America to California to seek their fortune. They give a lift to a guy- Edge of the seat stuff! He’s cheerful! He talks about going home to the family farm. When they get there, his family is gone ‘cause the bank took the house.

Aw stop!
It’s a hoot!

The best part of that whole book was the Granddad dying.
Because the ground was too dry, they took him with them in the boot
‘til he started to stink! – and it still wasn’t funny!

Only the Americans would call that a Great Depression!
They’re even optimistic about their Depressions! God bless ‘em!
In fairness though, the last ‘great’ thing we had was the famine.
If theirs was a great depression – ours must be absolutely wonderful!

We’re like the well fed rabbits in Watership Down. We may not have had loads of carrots but the confidence was that we did! The idea that we were secure and safe, the carrot field was at a premium, and it looked like it would last forever! Was that a high or what!
Talk about the rabbit dying in the end? More like Watersh*t Down!

At least Steinbeck was highlighting the migrant workers plight! The problem here is that we are led to believe it’s the whole lot of us! It’s like we are all going to die! We’re not! Are you dead? No – well then, it’s just the security wearing off, that’s all!
Paranoia sets in. Lack of sleep? Depression? Pain? Agony? – Yep. That’s about right!

The country may not be big enough to fill a book about travelling from Mullingar to Galway to seek our fortune. But if we travelled over 2000 miles one way we would be in Moscow, and if we went the other way, we’d end up in Oklahoma! So it’s actually better to stay here and make the best of it!

In the book, the ‘Okies’ were having a dreadful time. We’re like the Cokies! Coming down from the high of being all happy and rich, or at least thinking we were! How apt. A high that lasts that long – the comedown would be fierce! But it’s just a hangover! It’s a bad one, and we won’t be hanging around with those people again – they’re bad company – Fianna Failed!

So what’s the prescription? It is the same as it is for any hangover. a) Hair of the dog – that would be voting them in again! Or, b) Long walks, clear the head – that’s the only thing that’s free!

There’s always c) though.

The third option – laughter.

If you don’t laugh you’ll end up in therapy – and that’s more expensive!

I do comedy – that’s what I do! I’m doing it a lot more since the comedown! And there are plenty of people who want a laugh! It’s a depression when it hits someone else; it’s a recession when it hits you! The people that are getting into comedy are the people that are looking for a way out, the builders, or rather the re-builders – they are putting their words on what happened to them, doing something that will give them a voice, get them shouting and roaring and giving out again, it’s what we do best!
God forbid – they might have a bit of crack! – Sorry – craic.

Apparently, the Grapes of Wrath was about two things! The first was about people, some being at the mercy of others and some being responsible for others . . . Lets not go there!

The second thing was about the turtle, tough and hardy, never giving up – even after he’s run over by the next car…

‘They’ say that success is measured not by how much we succeed but how we keep going after we fail!

All I can say is,
I must be a wonderful success!

But there’s always someone that says it better than you!

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Calvin Coolidge

Sure we’re all in an awful State
– Fianna Failure saw to that. But now it’s up to us!

We’ve had the crack – so we might as well have the craic!

So, go to Stand Up Ireland and have the craic!

Or do a comedy workshop with me!
Yes, this has all been a massive pitch
– But sure that’s the first gag!

And it’s for nothin’!

Comedy workshops start with a chat about the mad things you’ve done, and good stories you have, the comedians you like and some ideas about comedy, it then builds into improv exercises that generate the energy and mentality for writing material, and within the first workshop you are trying some material out. What follows is a steady progression of writing, presentation and performance exercises that gradually build your confidence to perform a complete set of material that you have written yourself, in any comedy club.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – March 2011 (Issue 3)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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